by Andrew Taylor
Interweaving real and fictional elements, 'The American Boy' is a major literary historical crime novel in the tradition of 'An Instance of the Fingerpost' and 'Possession'. Repackaged as part of the Perennial fiction promotion. England 1819: Thomas Shield, a new master at a school just outside London, is tutor to a young American boy and the boy's sensitive best friend, Charles Frant.
Drawn to Frant's beautiful, unhappy mother, Thomas becomes caught up in her family's twisted intrigues. Then a brutal crime is committed, with consequences that threaten to destroy Thomas and all that he has come to dearly value. Despite his efforts, Shield is caught up in a deadly tangle of sex, money, murder and lies -- a tangle that grips him even tighter as he tries to escape from it.
And what of the strange American child, at the heart of these macabre events -- what is the secret of the boy named Edgar Allan Poe?