The Quick (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I never would have picked this novel up if I hadn't been complaining to one of our publisher reps that I hadn't read a good book in a long time. They all had the same feel and were predictable and I was just plain bored despite the plethora of books I devoured, I said, so he asked if I trusted him to give me an unique debut novel - he wouldn't tell me what it was about, but said I wouldn't be disappointed.

He was right.

"The Quick," which I admit has a slow start, is a refreshing change of pace that puts a new spin on old legends. James, a young poet/playwright, inadvertently becomes entwined with the exclusive and highly ambitious Aegolius Club, whose members' intentions have taken a turn to the sinister in hopes of redefining power in London. James' sister Charlotte becomes concerned when his regular letters stop so she travels unaccompanied to London. What Charlotte finds when she arrives is far from what she expected and pushes her to her ethical and physical limits as she tries, desperately and at great risk, to reclaim the brother she loves. — Jess Hanlon

The readers familiar with the lore may recognize the Aegolius Club as a haven for vampires long before the author makes the revelation, but that will hardly lessen the enjoyment of this plush and elegant tale. Written with style and a palpable sense of terror. You may want to stock up on holy water. — Alden Graves

July 2014 Indie Next List

“In her debut novel, Owen captures the pacing and cadence of Victorian fiction without the sometimes florid language of that era. She manages to deftly balance a large cast of characters and several seemingly diverse story threads while keeping the reader guessing through all of the twists and turns in this tale. With its formal language, diverse cast of characters, explorations of prejudice and oppression, and a bloody secret at its center, The Quick is very much a Victorian gothic novel written for a 21st century reader.”
— Billie Bloebaum,, Powell's Books, Inc, Portland, OR


For fans of Anne Rice, "The Historian, "and" The Night Circus, "an astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London
1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling "Doctor Knife." But the answer to her brother's disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.
In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. "The Quick" will establish her as one of fiction's most dazzling talents.
Praise for "The Quick"
"A suspenseful, gloriously atmospheric first novel, and a feast of gothic storytelling that is impossible to resist."--Kate Atkinson"
"A cracking good read . . . Owen takes the gothic conventions of the vampire novel in a refreshing new direction."--Deborah Harkness, author of "A Discovery of Witches" and "The Book of Life"
"A good old-fashioned vampire novel . . . What fun."--"The New York Times Book Review" (Editor's Choice)
""The Quick" is that rare book that reviewers and readers live for: both plot- and character-driven, a stay-up-all-night reading romp. . . . This is elegant, witty, force-of-nature writing.""--The Dallas Morning News"
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"The book's energy, its wide reach and rich detail make it a confident example of the 'unputdownable' novel.""--The Economist"
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"A seamless blend of Victorian London and rich imagination."--Tana French, author of "In the Woods"
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"A thrilling tale . . . This book will give you chills even on a hot day.""--"Minneapolis" Star Tribune"
"Stylishly sinister . . . will have you sleeping with the lights on.""--O: The Oprah Magazine"
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"A sly and glittering addition to the literature of the macabre."--Hilary Mantel, author of "Wolf Hall"
"A big, sly bucketful of the most tremendous fun . . . Owen] weaves what's here with what's beyond as easily as J. K. Rowling does."--"Slate"
" An author of] prodigious gifts . . . Owen captures Dickens's London with glee and produces a number of characters Dickens would be happy to call his own.""--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

About the Author

Lauren Owen was born in 1985. She studied at Oxford University and the University of East Anglia, where she received the 2009 Curtis Brown Prize for the best fiction dissertation. "The Quick" is her first novel. She lives in Northern England.

Praise For…

Advance praise for The Quick
“Seductive . . . extraordinarily polished . . . [Owen] packs many surprises into her tale, making it a book for readers to lose themselves in.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A suspenseful, gloriously atmospheric first novel, and a feast of gothic storytelling that is impossible to resist.”—Kate Atkinson, bestselling author of Life After Life and Case Histories
“A sly and glittering addition to the literature of the macabre . . . As soon as you have breathed with relief, much worse horrors begin. It’s a skilled, assured performance, and it’s hard to believe it is a first novel.”—Hilary Mantel, bestselling author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
“Ambitious, elegant, atmospheric, and often deeply poignant, The Quick is a seamless blend of Victorian London and rich imagination. This is a book to savor.”—Tana French, bestselling author of In the Woods and Broken Harbor

“Seductive . . . extraordinarily polished . . . a book for readers to lose themselves in.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The book’s energy, its wide reach and rich detail make it a confident example of the ‘unputdownable’ novel.”The Economist

“An elegantly written gothic epic . . . Owen’s soaring imagination and her light-handed take on magic save this story from being either obvious or boring. . . . The journey from one genre to another is satisfying and surprisingly fresh.”Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9780812993271
ISBN-10: 0812993276
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: June 17th, 2014
Pages: 523
Language: English