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Download The Séance Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Séance Audiobook, by John Harwood Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Harwood Narrator: Fiona Hardingham, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2014 ISBN: 9781482951448
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A haunting tale of apparitions, a cursed manor house, and two generations of women determined to discover the truth, by the author of The Ghost Writer

Sell the Hall unseen; burn it to the ground and plow the earth with salt, if you will; but never live there…

Constance Langton grows up in a household marked by death, her father distant, her mother in perpetual mourning for Constance’s sister, the child she lost. Desperate to coax her mother back to health, Constance takes her to a séance; perhaps she will find comfort from beyond the grave. But the meeting has tragic consequences. Constance is left alone, her only legacy a mysterious bequest that will blight her life.

So begins this brilliant and gripping novel, a dark mystery set in late-Victorian England. It is a world of apparitions, of disappearances and unnatural phenomena, of betrayal and blackmail and black-hearted villains—and of murder. Constance’s bequest comes in two parts: a house and a mystery. Years before, a family disappeared at Wraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside with a sinister reputation. Now the Hall belongs to Constance, and she must descend into the darkness at the heart of the Wraxford mystery to find the truth—even at the cost of her life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Many of the creepy late Victorian familiars abound in The Séance: the dark woods of the English countryside, the ruined mansion with secret passages and hidden chambers and fog on the moors. There’s even a sarcophagus in a dead fireplace, a tricked-out suit of armor and some apparatus for collecting electricity when lightning strikes. Drafts blow out candles at the most inopportune times. The literary conventions of the Victorian suspense novel are present as well: the nested narratives that arrive in mysterious packets, abandoned diaries and even a family tree—complete with married cousins. Australian John Harwood, whose Ghost Writer won an International Horror Award in 2004, writes with Poe and Dickens peering over his shoulders, shaking their wizened heads perhaps over one modern twist: the strongest characters in The Séance are two women of action…The two stories—Constance’s and Eleanor’s—mesh in the thrilling conclusion…Indeed, the ways in which Harwood plays with the conventions of the form provide the main source of delight.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Elegant…The Seance captures the particular flavor of desperate morbidity typical of the Victorians…The other side of Victorian sentimentality and melancholy was, of course, its ruthless opportunism; the middle and upper classes wallowed in sentimental bathos about dead children while blithely enjoying the products of child labor…At the heart of every effective ghost story lies some pitiless truth.”


  • “This crackerjack Victorian thriller has all the elements of a classic ghost story…The Australian writer’s narrative is seamless; despite the supernatural underpinnings of his story, the reader willingly suspends disbelief. And Harwood understands that the true horror of The Seance lies in the prison Victorian society created for young women without money or prospects. Modern readers will hold their breath until the last minute, hoping that Harwood’s estimable heroines escape the clutches of a dreadful fate.”

    Seattle Times

  • “A superbly realized Victorian setting…Harwood has an unerring feel for the mores and language of late-Victorian England.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Set in Victorian England, Harwood’s spellbinding second novel pays homage to such nineteenth-century suspense masters as Wilkie Collins and Sheridan Le Fanu…Harwood invokes the hoariest clichés of supernatural suspense, from stormy nights to haunted houses, and effortlessly makes them his own. The novel’s voice, too, is superbly crafted, accurate for the period but never self-consciously antique.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A first-class Victorian thriller…Harwood, who has been compared to Wilkie Collins, has crafted a fast-paced ghost story with an old-fashioned touch. Recommended for all public libraries.”

    Library Journal

  • “Typically Victorian in its emphasis on spiritualism, madness, and mesmerism, this is a tale of creeping dread and subtle evil…What makes Harwood’s writing special…is his ability to weave stories from different time periods and a cast of well-drawn characters into a believable, well-integrated whole. A fascinating historical portrait and a frightening tale that will generate suspicions of trapdoors and bodies in the attic.”


  • A Barnes & Noble Recommends Selection
  • Winner of the2008Aurealis Award for best horror novel
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About the Author

John Harwood is the author of several novels of gothic suspense, including The Séance, which won the Aurealis Award for best horror novel, and The Ghost Writer, which won the International Horror Guild’s Best First Novel Award. Aside from fiction, his published work includes biography, poetry, and literary history.

About the Narrators

Fiona Hardingham is a British-born actress, singer, voice-over artist, and AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. On stage, she appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in her comedic one-woman show The Dark Show. She has also starred in the dark-comedy short film The Ballerino. She earned a BA honors degree in performing arts from Middlesex University, London, and also studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with more than fifty Earphones Awards. He has won the prestigious Audie Awards numerous times and was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.

Katherine Kellgren (1969–2018), narrator and actress, appeared onstage in London, New York, and Frankfurt, including in the role of Laura in a regional production of The Glass Menagerie and appearances on Comedy Central. In recognition of her mastery of audiobook narration, she received many honors, including the prestigious Audie Awards, with four for best female narrator; the Odyssey Award; Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award; dozens of AudioFile magazine Earphones Awards; an AudioFile Golden Voice Award; Booklist Voice of Choice award; and acclaim from press and listener reviews.