book of air and shadows _usa_jacket.jpg


A distinguished Shakespearean scholar found tortured to death . . .

A lost manuscript and its secrets buried for centuries . . .

An encrypted map that leads to incalculable wealth . . .

The Washington Post called Michael Gruber's previous work "a miracle of intelligent fiction and among the essential novels of recent years." Now comes his most intellectually provocative and compulsively readable novel yet.

Tap-tapping the keys and out come the words on this little screen, and who will read them I hardly know. I could be dead by the time anyone actually gets to read them, as dead as, say, Tolstoy. Or Shakespeare. Does it matter, when you read, if the person who wrote still lives?

These are the words of Jake Mishkin, whose seemingly innocent job as an intellectual property lawyer has put him at the center of a deadly conspiracy and a chase to find a priceless treasure involving William Shakespeare. As he awaits a killer—or killers—unknown, Jake writes an account of the events that led to this deadly endgame, a frantic chase that began when a fire in an antiquarian bookstore revealed the hiding place of letters containing a shocking secret, concealed for four hundred years. In a frantic race from New York to England and Switzerland, Jake finds himself matching wits with a shadowy figure who seems to anticipate his every move. What at first seems like a thrilling puzzle waiting to be deciphered soon turns into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, where no one—not family, not friends, not lovers—is to be trusted.

Moving between twenty-first-century America and seventeenth-century England, The Book of Air and shadow is a modern thriller that brilliantly re-creates William Shakespeare's life at the turn of the seventeenth century and combines an ingenious and intricately layered plot with a devastating portrait of a contemporary man on the brink of self-discovery . . . or self-destruction.

Praise for The Book of Air and Shadows

"Ingenious...engaging...a gripping, satisfying read."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A fast-moving tale about the world of rare books. A wonderful story with absolutely superb casting." 
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Gruber deftly raises the thriller stakes and accelerates the plot while still creating convincing personal journeys for his characters." 
-- Booklist (starred review)


Newsday April 6, 2007 
A Shakespeare play’s the thing 
"Michael Gruber pulls out all the stops (in) an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse." 

Denver Post April 6, 2007 
Car chases, shootouts and... old books? 
"An intricately crafted and literate work (that) should give the (thriller) genre a good shake. A rich cast of characters who are difficult to leave when the final pages are turned. Gruber is a master of his material. He sidesteps the obvious risks with disparate plot lines, and his remain unmuddied and ultimately join together naturally." 

Seattle Times April 6, 2007 
A lost Shakespeare play? Let the intrigue begin 
"Fearless, intricate and intelligent. Stylish and confident prose. Realistic characters. Dialogue that respects a reader's intelligence. A smart and original plot. A smooth sense of timing, a healthy dose of skepticism, and by no means least a sense of humor." 

Washington Post April 1, 2007 
Love's Labors Lost, and Found 
"If you love books, make room on the shelf for a new guilty pleasure. Smart, packed with excitement...Gruber mixes in fascinating details about rare manuscripts, intellectual property, and ancient and modern cryptography." 

Bookpage April 2007 
Something rich and strange 
"Not since A.S. Bayatt’s POSSESSION has an author so successfully combined literary puzzle, tempestuous duplicity, human adventure and good storytelling. In a thriller written with remarkable flair, Gruber serves up an elaborately layered and devilishly detailed masterpiece." 

USA Today March 28, 2007 
Air and Shadows: A substantial literary work 
"Breathlessly engaging...brilliant...few [thrillers] will surpass THE BOOK OF AIR AND SHADOWS when it comes to energetic writing, compellingly flawed characters, literary scholarship, and mathematical conundrums. AIR AND SHADOWS is also incredibly smart....unpredictable...We never had this much fun reading The DaVinci Code. Gruber has raised the stakes in the thriller genre." 

The Morning News March 26, 2007 
Book Digest 
"Another one of [Gruber’s] patently intricate thrillers." 

Daily News March 25, 2007 
The play's the thing 
"A fire in a rare bookstore leads to the discovery of some letters from [Shakespeare’s] of the many tantalizing threads in [this] narrative. At the end of this tantalizing run, you hope to hear from Gruber again soon." 

Boston Globe March 24, 2007 
Witty thriller plays on past and present 
"A smart thriller. Readers will find themselves educated about the history of cryptology, from grille texts to Vigenere solvers...Gruber’s themes may be lofty but his people are fully fleshed. An engaging adventure." 

Entertainment Weekly March 23, 2007
The Book of Air and Shadows 
"A dead genius, a sleuthing couple with romantic chemistry, and some bad’s a fun party." 

Publisher's Weekly January 29, 2007
The Book of Air and Shadows 
"Ingenious...engaging...The mysterious murder of a Shakespeare scholar, shootouts in the streets of Queens and an unlikely romance all combine to make for a gripping, satisfying read." 

Edmonton Journal (Canada)April 15, 2007 
Gruber brews intoxicating mix 
"(An) intoxicating mix of fact, fiction, secret codes and ancient conspiracies...well-written and cleverly told. A terrific thriller." 

Milwaukee Journal SentinelMarch 30, 2007 
The art of crime 
"Gruber is no ordinary writer." 

Tampa Tribune April 8, 2007 
Here's a good one 
"(An) intelligent thrill ride." 

Arizona RepublicMarch 25, 2007 
"Smart and irreverent.."