Cover image for The empire of night
Title:
The empire of night
Author:
Butler, Robert Olen, author.
Edition:
First Edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Mysterious Press, [2014]
Physical Description:
401 pages ; 24 cm.
Summary:
"In the thrilling third installment of the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series, Kit discovers a secret plan to transform Zeppelins into dangerous killing machines--and to turn the tide of war in Germany's favor" --

"[I]t is 1917, and the United States is wavering on the brink of war. Kit [Christopher Marlowe Cobb] is now a full-blown spy in England, working undercover in a castle on the Kentish coast owned by a suspected British government mole named Sir Albert Stockman. And Kit again has a female spy to deal with--his own mother, the beautiful and mercurial Isabel Cobb, who also happens to be one of the world's most famous stage actresses. Starring in a touring production of Hamlet, Isabel's offstage role is to seduce the supposed mole, while Kit, also undercover, is working to figure out Stockman's secret agenda. The situation is further complicated when Isabel finds herself falling in love with the villainous Stockman. As Kit follows his mother and her escort from the relative safety of Britain into the lion's den of Berlin, he must stay undercover, even under the very nose of the Kaiser" --
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780802123237
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In the first two books of his acclaimed Christopher Marlowe Cobb series, The Hot Country and The Star of Istanbul , Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler captured the hearts of historical crime fiction fans with the artfulness of his World War I settings and his charismatic leading man, a Chicago journalist recruited by American intelligence.

In The Empire of Night , it is 1915, and President Woodrow Wilson is still assessing the war's threat to the United States. After proving himself during the Lusitania mission, Kit is now a full-blown spy, working undercover in a castle on the Kentish coast owned by a suspected British government mole named Sir Albert Stockman. And Kit is again thrown together with a female spy--his own mother, the beautiful and mercurial Isabel Cobb, who also happens to be a world-famous stage actress. Starring in a touring production of Hamlet , Isabel's offstage role is to keep tabs on the supposed mole, an ardent fan of hers, while Kit tries to figure out Stockman's secret agenda. Following his mother and her escort from the relative safety of Britain into the lion's den of Berlin, Kit must remain in character, even under the very nose of the Kaiser.


Author Notes

Robert Olen Butler is a novelist, screenwriter, educator, and short-story writer who grew up in Granite City, Illinois.

Butler served in Vietnam. Following the Vietnam War, Butler began writing. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, The Paris Review, and The Saturday Review, as well as in four annual editions of the Best American Short Stories and six annual editions of New Stories of the South. A collection of his stories, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Butler's novels include The Alleys of Eden, Countrymen of Bones, and Sun Dogs. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Butler also won the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches creative writing at McNeese State University.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* When a son replies to his mother with the exclamation, Fuck me,' she is faced with several interpretations, none of them pleasant. That sentence may strike one as shocking, obscene, or witty (or possibly all three), but in the context of Butler's third Christopher (Kit) Marlowe Cobb novel, it suggests all that and quite a bit more. Cobb, once a journalist moonlighting as a spy, is now a full-time spy working undercover as a journalist. It's 1915, and as Woodrow Wilson dithers over U.S. involvement in WWI, Cobb is assigned to track the doings of a British citizen of German heritage, Albert Stockman, also a spy, but for the kaiser. Cobb utters the obscene exclamation above when he learns that he will be joined on his mission by another spy, a woman whose task is to get close to Stockman, to seduce him if necessary, in an effort to learn more about the secret weapon the Germans are devising. That woman, Isabel Cobb, is Kit's mother. Adding one more level of sexual confusion and mother-son ambiguity, Isabel, a celebrated actress, is in rehearsal for her gender-bending starring role in Hamlet, a production that will be opening in Berlin. As he has in the first two volumes in this series, Butler combines fascinating historical detail about the pre-WWI period with genuine suspense and a tongue-in-cheek wit that gives the whole a uniquely tart flavor. The multilayered, adversarial relationship between Kit and Isabel grows more fascinating with each installment and will leave readers eager to learn more.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Set on the cusp of America's involvement in WWI, Butler's exciting third Christopher Marlowe Cobb novel (after 2013's The Star of Istanbul) finds the American journalist-turned-spy not only deep in enemy territory in Berlin but paired with an unlikely ally: his mother, famed stage actress Isabel Cobb. Both mother and son target Sir Albert Stockman, a member of the British parliament whose German ancestry makes him a potential spy. As Isabel woos Stockman with her gender-bending performance of Hamlet in London and Berlin, Cobb must work his way in posing as an American journalist with German sympathies. Where Stockman's loyalties lie is clear, but Butler does a commendable job teasing out the details of the man's overarching, and terrifying, plan. The period details are spot on, and though readers even vaguely familiar with the history will put the pieces together, this tale of shifting allegiances and worldwide consequences enthralls. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

In Butler's third novel featuring reporter-turned-American intelligence agent Kit Cobb (after The Star of Istanbul), it is 1915, and Cobb is in London getting his latest assignment. He and another agent are to infiltrate the circle of an English lord whose loyalties may be in doubt. Cobb's task becomes much more complex when he discovers the agent he is working with is none other than his mother, the renowned stage actress Isabel Cobb. Fortunately or not for Kit, the nobleman is infatuated with Isabel. The action moves from a London experiencing its first zeppelin raids to an isolated castle on the coast of Kent before heading behind enemy lines to imperial Germany itself, where Isabel is to perform on a Berlin stage. As in his earlier Cobb thriller, Butler mixes a steady current of action with period detail and just enough of the broader sweep of history to provide context for the reader. Verdict This will appeal to fans of the series and historical thrillers in general. With 2014 being the centennial of the start of World War I, its setting might attract even more readers looking for a fast-paced and well-written story.-Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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