The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay

80%

6 Critic Reviews

How this book got published is a complete mystery to me. Not because it is not good enough, but rather because it is too good.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A globetrotting, time-bending, wildly entertaining masterpiece hailed by the New York Times Book Review as "Audaciously well written...the book I was raving about to my friends before I'd even finished it."

Publishers Weekly raved that "with near-universal appeal . . . Seay’s debut novel is a true delight, a big, beautiful cabinet of wonders that is by turns an ominous modern thriller, a supernatural mystery, and an enchanting historical adventure story." Set in three cities in three eras, The Mirror Thief calls to mind David Mitchell and Umberto Eco in its mix of entertainment and literary bravado.

The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world's most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascination—was it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing?—the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals world-wide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, however—a world-weary war hero with nothing to lose—has a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city's terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten . . .

Meanwhile, in two other Venices—Venice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa today—two other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret . . .

All three stories will weave together into a spell-binding tour-de-force that is impossible to put down—an old-fashioned, stay-up-all-night novel that, in the end, returns the reader to a stunning conclusion in the original Venice . . . and the bedazzled sense of having read a truly original and thrilling work of art.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Martin Seay

See more books from this Author
MARTIN SEAY’s writing has appeared in MAKE, Pindeldyboz, The Gettysburg Review, Other, and Gargoyle, as well as a couple of anthologies; he also writes about arts and culture on his blog, New Strategies for Invisibility. He was a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and he holds an MFA in fiction from Queens University of Charlotte, NC. Originally from Texas, he currently lives in Chicago with his spouse, the writer Kathleen Rooney.

Author Residence: Chicago, IL
 
Published May 10, 2016 by Melville House. 594 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Mirror Thief
All: 6 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Feb 17 2016

...often the story seems an exercise in stringing together index-card notes on various arcane subjects, and while the book is well-written and admirable in the ambition of its scope, it still feels undercooked.

Read Full Review of The Mirror Thief | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Feb 14 2016

In sum, this is a splendid masterpiece, to be loved like a long-lost friend, an epic with near-universal appeal.

Read Full Review of The Mirror Thief | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Feb 08 2016

In sum, this is a splendid masterpiece, to be loved like a long-lost friend, an epic with near-universal appeal.

Read Full Review of The Mirror Thief | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Scarlett Thomas on May 27 2016

How this book got published is a complete mystery to me. Not because it is not good enough, but rather because it is too good.

Read Full Review of The Mirror Thief | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on May 15 2016

The Mirror Thief is as difficult to explain as it is completely original. It's one of the most intricately plotted novels in recent years, and to call it imaginative seems like a massive understatement.

Read Full Review of The Mirror Thief | See more reviews from NPR

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Lawson on Jun 23 2016

Seay is clearly a writer of exceptional and eclectic intelligence...although sometimes tough to like, The Mirror Thief is always highly admirable.

Read Full Review of The Mirror Thief | See more reviews from Guardian

Reader Rating for The Mirror Thief
60%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 97 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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