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‘It is no small matter, after all, to create something – to make it so only by setting down the words.
We forget the magnitude, sometimes, of that miracle.’

Mr Crowe was once the toast of the finest salons. A man of learning and means, he travelled the world, enthralling all who met him.

Now, Mr Crowe devotes himself to earthly pleasures. He has retreated to his sprawling country estate, where he lives with Clara, his mysterious young ward, and Eustace, his faithful manservant. His great library gathers dust and his once magnificent gardens grow wild.

But Mr Crowe and his extraordinary gifts have not been entirely forgotten. When he acts impetuously over a woman, he attracts the attention of Dr Chastern, the figurehead of a secret society to which Crowe still belongs. Chastern comes to Crowe’s estate to call him to account, and what follows will threaten everyone he cares for. But Clara possesses gifts of her own, gifts whose power she has not yet fully grasped. She must learn to use them quickly, if she is to save them all.

Read by Mike Grady and Imogen Wilde

(p) 2016 Orion Publishing Group


An oddly beautiful tale of magic and art, this reminded me of Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes
Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of THE LAST ACT OF LOVE
Compulsive reading . . . rich, strange, beautiful
Helen Macdonald, author of H IS FOR HAWK
I devoured this book and it kept me guessing right to the very end . . . Line by line, Paraic's writing contains some of the most beautifully turned phrasing I've read in a long while
Laura Barnett, author of THE VERSIONS OF US
Dazzlingly inventive, compelling
Jane Casey, author of THE BURNING
Liz Nugent, author of LYING IN WAIT
The Maker of Swans combines through-the-looking-glass enchantment with Nabokovian dexterity. O'Donnell has written a mesmerizing book whose prose absolutely soars
Sandra Newman, author of THE COUNTRY OF ICE CREAM STAR
A powerful thriller
Strange and beautiful - one of Stylist's Essential Reads for 2016
Wonderfully dark, magical
A fabulously assured, elegant Gothic-flavoured tale
A peculiar and beautiful tale of art and magic
[With much] in common with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell ... a tale about magic and art, power and responsibility ... [that will] keep the reader enfolded
It would not be surprising if the public clamours for a second instalment of this vividly imagined and deeply pleasurable gothic fantasy - not to mention a film.
The prose in O'Donnell's first novel is glorious, combining an ear for deep cadences of language with a phenomenal acuity of vision ... O'Donnell is clearly a major talent
Poetic and strange, this Gothic novel is a dark, elegant celebration of the power and beauty of words and the spells they weave.
A charming, lyrical read even when tension is high. I admired the depth of O'Donnell's imagination, which allowed him to conjure up this enthralling tale . . . A literary feast
Strange and new and captivating
Sonorous, beautifully made, disquieting