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Extended Audio Sample The School of Night: A Novel Audiobook, by Louis Bayard Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (632 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Louis Bayard Narrator: Robert Petkoff Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781427212078
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From Louis Bayard, an ancient mystery, a lost letter, and a timeless love unleash a long-buried web of intrigue that spans four centuries

In the late sixteenth century, five brilliant scholars gather under the cloak of darkness to discuss God, politics, astronomy, and the black arts. Known as the School of Night, they meet in secret to avoid the wrath of Queen Elizabeth. But one of the men, Thomas Harriot, has secrets of his own, secrets he shares with one person only: the servant woman he loves.

In modern-day Washington, D.C., disgraced Elizabethan scholar Henry Cavendish has been hired by the ruthless antiquities collector Bernard Styles to find a missing letter. The letter dates from the 1600s and was stolen by Henry's close friend, Alonzo Wax. Now Wax is dead and Styles wants the letter back.

But the letter is an object of interest to others, too. It may be the clue to a hidden treasure; it may contain the long-sought formula for alchemy; it most certainly will prove the existence of the group of men whom Shakespeare dubbed the School of Night but about whom little is known. Joining Henry in his search for the letter is Clarissa Dale, a mysterious woman who suffers from visions that only Henry can understand. In short order, Henry finds himself stumbling through a secretive world of ancient perils, caught up in a deadly plot, and ensnared in the tragic legacy of a forgotten genius.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fascinating…A few codes and cryptograms are all you need to get caught up in an enigmatic mystery like The School of Night. The New York Times Book Review

  • Exhilarating…Bayard adds twist after satisfying twist... At its heart, The School of Night illuminates a glimpse into legend, assuring readers that this ancient classroom offered a curriculum heavy on secrets. The Washington Post
  • Rich and rewarding...Mr. Bayard writes seamless prose and conjures the past with credibility. The Wall Street Journal
  • [A] superb intellectual thriller...The author's persuasive portrayal of undeservedly obscure real-life scientist Thomas Harriot, a member of the school, enhances a plot with intelligence and depth. Publishers Weekly (starred)
  • [A] compelling literary thriller Library Journal (starred)
  • An entertaining intelligent thriller…fast-paced [with] several superb twists. The Mystery Gazette
  • [D]eftly rendered. . . . Bayard (The Black Tower, 2008, etc.) blends luminaries of history, lost treasure, intrigue and a double-twist conclusion into a highly readable concoction. Kirkus Reviews
  • Bayard's latest. . . interweaves the antic comedy of the modern-day caper with the tragic and affecting love story of the past. Booklist
  • Bayard has crafted a deft, immensely engaging, and in the end, surprisingly moving novel James Williams, popmatters.com

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara Ganung | 2/4/2014

    " I liked the authors other books but this one wasn't as spectacular as his previous ones. The story was good, sure. Kept me interested, yeah, but not as riveting as his previous novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Adams | 1/31/2014

    " Intriguing enough that I'm going to seek out and read Bayard's previous novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 1/30/2014

    " A fun quick read filled with history, romance and suspense. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christine US | 1/29/2014

    " I feel like I would've like this more if I had been able to get to it all in one sitting, vs. multiple small snippets. It's right up my alley, so I was surprised I had such a "eh, who cares" opinion towards it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kandice | 1/24/2014

    " I read The Pale Blue Eye by Bayard first and was very impressed with the historical aspects of the book, the characters he created, and the world they inhabited. Upon finishing the book, I wanted to read his other works. This is the second book I've read and am somewhat disappointed after reading his other work first. To begin with, this book is only somewhat historical. While it draws upon history, it is set in the present. It lacks the depth and fullness of his other story. It is also somewhat predictable, which his other book was not. I never figured out the whole mystery in The Pale Blue Eye until the author tells us at the end. In this book, I figured the mystery out almost immediately, and continued to feel one step ahead throughout the book. While it was a decent read, I believe I'll stick with Bayard's books that do fall under the genre of truly historical fiction. He excels in those types of books and should continue to do more of them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kivrin | 1/19/2014

    " Good read. Some good twists, but it just fell a little flat. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katia Lief | 1/6/2014

    " Loved this novel. Gorgeous writing and really suspenseful. Absolutely recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jo | 12/31/2013

    " Da Vinci Code style adventure centred around a 16th century letter connected to the infamous School of Night. Enjoyable enough but not amazing "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 12/27/2013

    " Loved the book. Loved the modern DC descriptions and the Elizabethan England. Good pick! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Guna | 12/17/2013

    " This took a while to get into (100 pages), but it was really quite good. It makes me want to revisit Elizabethan England. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 12/6/2013

    " I found the book light, although I kept reading out of my interest to resolve the mystery. There is an element of magic that is invoked, but because the characters were more than a bit odd, I found myself keeping everything at a distance, and the magic felt artificial. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Black | 11/6/2013

    " Yeah! A mystery where I don't know the ending from the beginning! And a love story, and some history. If all the swearing was left out, it would be a perfect read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie Angel | 10/28/2013

    " 3.5--suspenseful and fun. some of the actual historical figures are interesting in their own right. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 10/9/2013

    " This is a fun read. a modern based on some real life historical characters and situations. All the ends wind up a bit too neatly at the end, but still very enjoyable. I would like to read a biography of Walter Raleigh and Thomas Harriot after reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hank Stuever | 7/8/2013

    " Full disclosure: Louis Bayard is a friend. So for that, he gets an extra star. Fun, smart read weaves modern-day scholarship mystery and Elizabethan-era secrets. Great for vacation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/31/2013

    " Writing good, but story just average and a little predictable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 5/13/2012

    " as per the other two books by this other that I have read, it took me at least 100 pages befoe really getting into the book and enjoying the story. Happened with Mr. Timothy and Pale Blue Eyes. Have enjoyed all three books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cstrand | 9/1/2011

    " This one had its moments. There were times that I was very engaged in the hunt and was taken in by and the twists and turns but the Thomas and Margaret scenes were sometimes slow. The end felt tacked on and a bit rushed almost unfinished - is there a sequel in the works perhaps? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane S. | 7/20/2011

    " What can I say? I am a sucker for the Elizabethan period and all its conspiracies and plots. Added to the mix is Shakespeare, Kit Marlowe, Raleigh and little known Tom Harriott so I loved all the historical data and mysteries. Actualy I loved all Bayard's books to date. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah-Hope | 7/13/2011

    " Engaging, some wonderful moments, but not essential. "

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About the Author
Author Louis BayardLouis Bayard is the author of the critically acclaimed The School of Night and The Black Tower, the national bestseller The Pale Blue Eye, and Mr. Timothy, a New York Times Notable Book. He has written for Salon, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. He lives in Washington, D.C.
About the Narrator

Robert Petkoff has appeared on Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order, and Quantum Leap. His Broadway credits include Sir Robin in Spamalot, Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, and Tateh in Ragtime. His audiobook narrations have won multiple Audiofile Earphones Awards as well as a coveted Audie Award.