How pure would you be if every bad thought or deed poured out like smoke? Part fantasy, part mystery, Smoke is set in industrial-age London, where smoke seeps out of your body in varying degrees with every sin you commit. The city is polluted with smoke, which infects its inhabitants with thoughts of lust and malice. The nobility live outside of the squalor of the city, and send their children to boarding schools to learn the discipline to keep themselves clean. Smoke follows two of these schoolboys as they are pulled into a conspiracy that threatens to dissolve their whole society.
A pulse-pounding narrative that is both a depiction of a stark class divide and an exploration of the nature of sin and what it means to be human.
— Jenn, Atlanta
June 2016 Indie Next List
“Imagine a world where every dark thought you possessed was revealed by a wisp of smoke. And what if a portion of society could hide their darkness, while others were forever stained by their sins? Set in an alternative England, this tale reveals what really lies behind this sinful soot through the eyes of three teenagers who begin to question all they have been told. Smoke is a brilliant combination of fantasy and historical fiction, where layers of mystery and glimmers of truth will keep readers feverishly turning pages until the very end.”
— Luisa Smith (E), Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
Readers of the Harry Potter seriesand Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell are sure to be mesmerized by Dan Vyleta's thrilling blend of historical fiction and fantasy, as three young friends scratch the surface of the grown-up world to discover startling wonders--and dangerous secrets.
"Dan Vyleta writes with intricacy and imagination and skillful pacing; never once would I have considered putting his book down. In the manner of both a Dickens novel and the best young adult adventure stories (the Harry Potter series among them). . .his ending, which I wouldn't dare reveal here, is a real firecracker."--Jennifer Senior, The New York Times
Welcome to a Victorian England unlike any other you have experienced before. Here, wicked thoughts (both harmless and hate-filled) appear in the air as telltale wisps of Smoke. Young Thomas Argyle, a son of aristocracy, has been sent to an elite boarding school. Here he will be purged of Wickedness, for the wealthy do not Smoke. When he resists a sadistic headboy's temptations to Smoke, a much larger struggle beyond the school walls is revealed. Shortly thereafter, on a trip to London, Thomas and his best friend witness events that make them begin to question everything they have been taught about Smoke. And thus the adventure begins... You will travel by coach to a grand estate where secrets lurk in attic rooms and hidden laboratories; where young love blossoms; and where a tumultuous relationship between a mother and her children is the crucible in which powerful passions are kindled, and dangerous deeds must be snuffed out in a desperate race against time.
About the Author
DAN VYLETA is the son of Czech refugees who emigrated to Germany in the late 1960s. He holds a Ph.D. in history from King's College, Cambridge. Vyleta is the author of three novels, Pavel & I, The Quiet Twin, which was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and The Crooked Maid, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the J.I. Segal Award. An inveterate migrant, Vyleta has lived in Germany, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. He currently resides in Stratford-upon-Avon in England.