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Extended Audio Sample Ghostwalk, by Rebecca Stott Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,195 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rebecca Stott Narrator: Rosalyn Landor Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9781415938638
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A Cambridge historian, Elizabeth Vogelsang, is found drowned, clutching a glass prism in her hand. The book she was writing about Isaac Newton’s involvement with alchemy–the culmination of her lifelong obsession with the seventeenth century–remains unfinished. When her son, Cameron, asks his former lover, Lydia Brooke, to ghostwrite the missing final chapters of his mother’s book, Lydia agrees and moves into Elizabeth’s house–a studio in an orchard where the light moves restlessly across the walls. Soon Lydia discovers that the shadow of violence that has fallen across present-day Cambridge, which escalates to a series of murders, may have its origins in the troubling evidence that Elizabeth’s research has unearthed. As Lydia becomes ensnared in a dangerous conspiracy that reawakens ghosts of the past, the seventeenth century slowly seeps into the twenty-first, with the city of Cambridge the bridge between them.

Filled with evocative descriptions of Cambridge, past and present, Ghostwalk centers around a real historical mystery that Rebecca Stott has uncovered involving Newton’s alchemy. In it, time and relationships are entangled–the present with the seventeenth century, and figures from the past with the love-torn twenty-first-century woman who is trying to discover their secrets.

A stunningly original display of scholarship and imagination, and a gripping story of desire and obsession,Ghostwalk is a rare debut that will change the way most of us think about scientific innovation, the force of history, and time itself.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A beautifully written book, mixing a compelling contemporary love story and a fascinating historical investigation, with Isaac Newton and alchemy playing a crucial role.  The mystery at the novel’s center is audacious, convincing, and will make readers think anew about what history is. Iain Pears, author of An Instance of the Fingerpost
  • “Stott moves between past and present with the page-turning dexterity of a literary alchemist—a novel of intrigue as cleverly imagined as it is entertaining. Joseph Kanon, author of The Good German, The Prodigal Spy, and Los Alamos
  • “A dangerous love story and mystery, where after a time neither the reader nor the
    heroine can tell what is true. You slip through the shimmering prose and fall into the
    alchemy of Newton and certain unsolved crimes of his time until you begin to wonder if
    what happened then can affect what might happen now. Blending contemporary
    quantum physics with the winding streets of ancient Cambridge, Ghostwalk is a highly
    intelligent and original novel. Stephanie Cowell, author of Nicholas Cooke and The Physician of London
  • An amazing work - a highly intelligent thriller that combines the supernatural with modern quantum theory; the current war on terror with Isaac Newton's work on light and gravity, and his delving into alchemy in the seventeenth century. At once mind-boggling and mind-expanding. Nicholas Mosley, author of Hopeful Monsters and Time at War
  • This daring mystery tangles occult and scientific knowledge with obsessive love and
    hidden world events. It is wonderfully down to earth, and genuinely eerie. Once in, you
    are not likely to leave off reading until after the very last twist.
    Dame Professor Gillian Beer, Professor of Literature at Cambridge University

  • Mesmerizing . . . Ghostwalk has an all-too-rare scholarly authority and imaginative sparkle. . . . . Rebecca Stott has accomplished something distinctively fresh with what she calls ‘a grubby little set of murders in Cambridge.’ Along the way, she manages to invoke both the non-causal entanglements of quantum physics and the paranoid conspiracies of Pynchon and DeLillo. Her home terrain, however is the river-riven landscape of the human heart. New York Times Book Review
  • “Stott makes a stunning debut with this hypnotic and intelligent thriller. . . Much more than a clever whodunit, this taut, atmospheric novel with its twisty interconnections between past and present will leave readers hoping Stott has many more stories in her future. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “Fiercely intelligent… You won’t have time to reflect on Stott’s metaphysics, at least not on the first read–you’ll be too eager to solve the murders. Ghostwalk works beautifully on both levels, leaving a lingering impression of a world richer, and more precarious, than we imagine. Janice P. Nimura, Los Angeles Times
  • Ghostwalk is a strange and improbable book that seduces you into the unbelievable….Rebecca Stott’s debut thriller weaves science and the supernatural into an eerie narrative. . . . a truly haunting literary thriller. New York Daily News
  • “Drawing on alchemy, neurology, animal-rights activism, and supernatural visitations, this debut novel is an ambitious, learned thriller. . . Stott deploys her research effortlessly and demonstrates great attention to detail. New Yorker
  • “[An] intelligent, literary approach to the modern gothic… Rebecca Stott masterfully delivers an intricate plot. South Florida Sun-Sentinel
  • “Spellbinding . . . Stott’s compelling style acts as a counterpoint to the scientific and historical components of this haunting literary mystery thriller. Stott skillfully binds fact with fiction in an insightful story that surprises and intrigues. Kirkus (starred review)
  • Past and present are exquisitely connected in Stott’s wonderfully written Ghostwalk. She uses some sorcery of her own in a novel as informative as it is entertaining. USA Today

    “Stott brings a nervy intelligence to her work, skillfully linking the war on terror, quantum physics, alchemy, serial murder, ghosts, and thwarted romance.
  • [A] posh romantic thriller. If you liked cracking the Da Vinci Code, you’ll love uncovering a secret 17th-century brotherhood that includes the young Isaac Newton. Good Housekeeping “Good Reads”
  • Especially delightful. Ladies’ Home Journal.com (LHJ.com)


    “Most impressive … a real literary mystery and also a novel of ideas.
  • An intricate tale of love, science, ghosts, history, secrets and lies … beautifully written and extensively researched … an eerily compelling read. Time Out (London)
  • Stott's prose has...poetic brilliance...Ghostwalk is a pacy...thriller with some creepy moments. The Herald (Glasgow)
  • I have been haunted by scenes from Ghostwalk … it certainly exercises the mind on many different levels. The novel is a very carefully measured blend of fact and fiction, skilfully prepared and presented in a form to beguile its readers. This is a book that lends itself to being talked about in intelligent circles. Jacqueline Kay, Bookbag
  • Mesmerizing, intellectually challenging . . . Stott jumps dexterously between present and past, bringing the world of Newton and his alchemical colleagues to vivid life and offering tantalizingly believable explanations for the cojoining of time and space. No novel since Iain Pears’s Instance of the Fingerpost (1998) has so vigorously stirred the cauldron of conflict that was seventeenth-century England. Booklist
  • “A hypnotic brew of speculation, intrigue and murder…It’s outlandish and devilishly plausible….You’ll be enthralled… By the final chapter, Stott’s elegant subtlety has been transmuted into a violent swirl of reversals and revelations that would defy Newton’s calculus. You can’t help but feel swept away. Washington Post Book World

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Catherine | 2/16/2014

    " What should have been and intriguing concept was ruined by ridiculous plot development and eye roll-inducing prose. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valice Raffi | 2/14/2014

    " audiobook; read well by Susan Duerden. Alchemy and Newton mixes the 17th century with 'real time'. In my book group, 1/3 liked it, 1/3 hated it, and the 1/3 didn't finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Juli | 2/9/2014

    " This book was a little slow to get into, but if you are a lover of historical novels, it is a good book to get into. It goes into the secret societies and alchemy of the 18th century and is a modern-day novel with historical flashbacks and some interesting information on Sir Isaac Newton. I really enjoyed it once I got into it. Lots of twists in the plot that are not expected. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sue | 2/6/2014

    " I alternated between being bored and enjoying this book. I still don't know what I think of it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janet | 1/7/2014

    " I did not finish this book and my only regret is that I spent way too much time trying to like it. I found nothing to like. It claims to be 'a haunting literary thriller' and a 'historical mystery involving Isaac Newton's alchemy'. Why I thought anything involving Isaac Newton and his alchemy would be interesting is beyond me now. Turns out I have no interest in Isaac Newton or alchemy or the 17th century. At least not as portrayed in this book. The entire framework of the book is awkward - it is told in the 1st person by a woman who attends a funeral for a woman who died while writing a book on Isaac Newton - not exactly an attention grabber introduction. The narrator apparently had an affair with the dead woman's son and throughout the story she refers to this ex-lover as 'you' - she seems to be writing a memoir of what is happening or has happened - as the reader knows virtually nothing about the narrator or 'you' it is really hard to give a darn about anyone. The narrator is asked by her ex-lover to ghostwrite the remaining chapters of the Newton book that his mother didn't finish - if that isn't an exciting premise I don't know what would be. Plus this ex-lover works for some sort of a scientific research company and there is a second story about animal testing protesters which supposedly connects with Newton. Blah, blah blah. Maybe the pace really picks up in the second half of the book - maybe not. I don't really care. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Myra | 1/5/2014

    " An interesting fictional book about Sir Isaac Newton. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Crystal | 1/4/2014

    " i like this story - i didn't love it. anyone who wants to read it may borrow or have it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debbie | 12/30/2013

    " This book did not grab me and I kept waiting for it to get interesting but never reached that moment. I had high hopes for this book as the story line sounded very intriguing but alas I have given up 100 pages in. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Clara | 12/22/2013

    " stay away. far, far away. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 11/18/2013

    " Just as I finished listening to this, I finally noticed that it was an ABRIDGED version, horrors! But on second thought, I was just as glad--it was long enough. The reader was excellent, but I never got as interested in this story as I would have expected to... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 11/5/2013

    " An embodiment of Newton, alchemy, mysticism, greed, love and physics. The book is very well written; I was hypnotized into the 17th century. Stout has quite an imagination. A great read for those who enjoy historical fiction and science. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 10/26/2013

    " My favorite type of historical fiction mystery. Bad shit goes down no matter what the century. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie Jackson | 10/20/2013

    " This was an intriguing story and made me think about Isaac Newton in new ways. A fine literary thriller. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kelly Kinney | 9/19/2013

    " After meeting with my book club on this I won't finish. It doesn't seem to be worth the extraordinary effort it takes to get through it. A promising premise, presented poorly. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 9/14/2013

    " This was promising - I love a mystery within a story, but once Isaac Newton's ghost showed up, I had to put this down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cyndie | 5/7/2013

    " This was a little hard to get into, but I did like it. I also read this over a few months, so that could be why it was hard to get into. A little too much detail on Newton for me, though. If you are a historian, and a bit of a mystery,ghost story lover, you would like this. Good ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ana Rusness-petersen | 4/20/2013

    " Gripping book that explores Sir Isaac Newton's 17th-century, the history of alchemy, secret societies, and fellowships at Trinity College. Historically accurate and narratively gripping, this book is well worth the read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 4/8/2013

    " This kept my interest, but not as good as I had expected. I had read The Coral Thief and would rate it the same. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennie | 4/5/2013

    " Ghost of newton terrorizes Cambridge while the protoganist - a wordy mistress of a biologist - explores her internal state. A quick mystery read - with a dose of ghost whisperer. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gabby | 5/12/2012

    " I tried listening to this and I just couldn't get into it. I re-listened to the first two cd's twice to no avail, I don't have time to read something I don't enjoy. Sorry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jules | 9/21/2011

    " At first I didn't know if I would enjoy this book but I loved it! It's a mix between history, a love story, with ghosts and a murder mystery with a little alchemy mixed in. I will be telling people to read this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 6/11/2011

    " This book was a page turner! I was up til 2 for 3 nights. The 17th century meets the 21st century in England. Isaac Newton connected to murders in the mid 1600's and in the present time. A book within a book! Science meets the supernatural. I loved it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynne | 4/10/2011

    " I will never trust the recommendations of the woman at the Booksmith again. This book is a far cry from mesmerizing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lee | 3/26/2011

    " Hmm...this book was pretty so-so to me. Unfortunately... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erika | 2/24/2011

    " I liked the information provided regarding Isaac Newton. Was a surprise to me. The other story "Ghostwalk" was a little hard to follow. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alastair | 2/7/2011

    " I might have to give this one another try... there's so much right about a murder mystery novel about Isaac Newton & glassblowing & the memory of places -- I just had too many cringe moments along the way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 1/29/2011

    " Just as I finished listening to this, I finally noticed that it was an ABRIDGED version, horrors! But on second thought, I was just as glad--it was long enough. The reader was excellent, but I never got as interested in this story as I would have expected to... "

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