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Extended Audio Sample The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel Audiobook, by Michael Gruber Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,886 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Gruber Narrator: Stephen Hoye Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9781400174492
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"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 Shadows 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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Stylish and confident prose…. Dialogue that respects a reader's intelligence. A smart and original plot…. And…a sense of humor. The Seattle Times
  • “If you love books, make room on the shelf for a new guilty pleasure.”

    Washington Post

  • “A smart thriller. Gruber’s themes may be lofty but his people are fully fleshed. An engaging adventure.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Ingenious…Engaging…A gripping, satisfying read.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 megan / redwitch | 2/20/2014

    " i enjoyed this book as the thriller style it was - and the load of literary allusions it made, but there were a few things that made me feel it was only an average read. the biggest one is the historical documents - although fun to have included as the present-day story circles around them - they were not that interesting in and of themselves. they were not "discovered" in the story and then included to read but just randomly dropped between chapters for the most part, although a few did seem to line up w. when a character found or deciphered it. i found myself speed reading through them to get back to the main plot. i did enjoy the characters though and in particular to supporting characters, much more than some thriller / sleuth books as well. that is what really made the story for me interesting i.e. enjoy reading it and kept me flying through it. so i would definitely recommend but don't expect an extraordinarily built up string of details, just enjoy it for the people and the somewhat crazy situations they find themselves in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caitlinstuart07 | 2/16/2014

    " Strange, engrossing, unrealistic but cool. Can't say much without giving it away, but the idea that a Shakespeare manuscript has been found (or rather, that there is a document stating its existence and that it could be found) is interesting and well developed. The mystery unfolds, the kidnapping, hasty retreats, guns blazing, chase scenes.... you name it, its here. While I didn't like the main character very much because he was kind of a rich ass who was totally self absorbed, I did like several secondary characters and they were very well depicted and characterized. Neat story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth Haynes | 2/10/2014

    " It was ok. If I wasn't reading it for a book club, I would not have finished it. There was a time when these kinds of books (suspenseful murder mystery) but I guess i am just not in the mood right now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin Mulcahey | 1/30/2014

    " Great narration but average story. The way the book is narrated by the main character was very compelling, and deftly weaved dark humor about three American families into a book I was reading for it's work as piece of historical fiction. As historical fiction goes, it was very good (a notch above Steve Berry) and it used flashback chapters much like the movie and TV series "The Highlander" did to add insight without breaking the tension of the story. The believability factor was good, but not outstanding, and I have to say that the main characters ability to make every woman he has ever been with reach a orgasm did stretch credulity :-) A fun read for His-fict, Shakespeare addicts, and movie buffs. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katey | 1/24/2014

    " Thus far this book is pretentious & boring. Not sure if I'll even finish it.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christy Laub | 1/22/2014

    " Good summer read with literary twist "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gabe | 1/18/2014

    " This book is pretty hilarious. Shakespeare/Bodybuilding/National Treasure fans rejoice! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kelly Bunch | 1/18/2014

    " Couldn't even finish it. Forced myself to read 2/3 and I just never got interested. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dgoll | 1/14/2014

    " Gruber is a great author, great plot, character development, irreverence. This book had all that. Unfortunately I did not like the narrator at all! That rarely happens for me. After having read Gruber's Forger of Venus, I was disappointed that I couldn't enjoy this book more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joel | 1/12/2014

    " I really liked this book. I read the first hundred pages or so, took a break to read some Murakami, and then I flew through the rest. Its a nice little thriller but I think the Shakespeare angle made it a little more intelligent. I loved the information about the ciphers as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cherish | 1/4/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this book, but I feel the author was a bit too concerned with all the sexual exploits of his characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom Hanrahan | 12/5/2013

    " I enjoyed reading this. The characters were interesting and I even liked some of them! But the plot turns on an event that is too unbelievable, and that bothered me at the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peggy Lo | 11/26/2013

    " This doesn't hold up well compared to the other Shakespeare related thriller I've read. There are three perspectives and I couldn't be bothered to read the one written in olde English. It also felt too long. I started skimming by the last 100-150 pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Davisburns | 10/23/2013

    " Read oct 2011. A bit too long and one too many twists. Found I stopped caring if it was a hoax near the end. Well written, kept my interest for a very long time but the author just strung it out 100 pages too long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve Rippington | 8/10/2013

    " Good start, slow middle, didn't reach the end! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Morlans71 | 4/4/2013

    " The technical details involving decipering were difficult to understand. Otherwise I enjoyed this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Karen Duff | 3/10/2013

    " really did not like this,found the characters completely unlikable.didn't care if they lived or died "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christie | 7/8/2012

    " this book was TOUGH to read...maybe because of half the book being in17th century English...whew---fascinating plot but takes forever to decipher a chapter! :) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tiffany | 4/29/2012

    " I finally gave up on this book. I only got about 1/4 the way through it. Such a bummer. It sounded really good, but it was SO F-ING BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, I definitely do not recommend this, just in case you were wondering! ;) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zonia | 4/24/2012

    " Great mystery! Loved the characters and the twists and turns. Very good writing - manuscripts a bit dificult to read but worth the struggle. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ted | 10/22/2011

    " The story was somewhat enjoyable, but the sexual content was extremely distracting and the quantity of it throughout the book was off-putting for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Currie | 8/23/2011

    " This is a murder mystery that is twisted back in shakesperian times as well. So far 4 stars. It is a good air plane book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 5/8/2011

    " Read this some time ago and really like it but had forgotten to add it to my books until I read his latest book which I really loved, The Good Son. He is an excellent writer and I will be looking for other books by him. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeanne | 4/22/2011

    " Very wordy. I found it disappointing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 4/10/2011

    " I enjoyed reading this. The characters were interesting and I even liked some of them! But the plot turns on an event that is too unbelievable, and that bothered me at the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 4/4/2011

    " In some ways reminded me of Carlos Zafon books. Complicated, a little too much cryptography for my taste, but the series of 17th century letters embedded in the book was wonderful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eileen | 3/24/2011

    " I did not like the way this book was written. It had an interesting subject but such a mess of writing style. I will be prepared if I ever read this authors books again.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 3/22/2011

    " It took a little while to get into the characters, but overall, a pretty good mystery read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dgoll | 3/17/2011

    " Gruber is a great author, great plot, character development, irreverence. This book had all that. Unfortunately I did not like the narrator at all! That rarely happens for me. After having read Gruber's Forger of Venus, I was disappointed that I couldn't enjoy this book more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 3/12/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone who is interested in cryptography or rare manuscripts. Michael Gruber did a fantastic job of intertwining the life of a man writing his last words in a letter in the 1600's with present day characters, and I enjoyed the mystery that followed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 3/12/2011

    " Very violent at times, unlikable protagonist, and confusing plot-line interspersed with Shakespearean English to decipher. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 3/3/2011

    " Every Gruber book is excellent - literary thrillers rule! "

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About the Author
Author Michael Gruber

Michael Gruber, a former marine biologist, restaurant cook, federal government official, and political speechwriter, traveled a fascinating path toward his latest occupation as the bestselling author of critically acclaimed thrillers such as The Book of Air and Shadows.

About the Narrator

Stephen Hoye has worked as a professional actor in London and Los Angeles for more than thirty years. Trained at Boston University and the Guildhall in London, he has acted in television series and six feature films and has appeared in London’s West End. His audiobook narration has won him fifteen AudioFile Earphones Awards.