The Ghost of the Mary Celeste (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
1872: the American merchant vessel Mary Celeste is discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo is intact and there is no sign of struggle, but her crew has disappeared, never to be found.
As news of the derelict ghost ship spreads, the Mary Celeste captures imaginations around the world—from a Philadelphia spiritualist medium named Violet Petra to an unknown young writer named Arthur Conan Doyle. In a haunted, death-obsessed age, the Mary Celeste is by turns a provocative mystery, an inspiration to creativity, and the tragic story of a family doomed by the sea. Based on actual events, spanning seas and continents, life and death, The Ghost of the Mary Celeste is a spellbinding exploration of love, nature, and the fictions that pass as truth.
About the Author
Valerie Martin is the author of nine previous novels, including Trespass, Italian Fever, The Great Divorce, Mary Reilly, and the 2003 Orange Prize-winning Property, as well as three collections of short fiction and a biography of St. Francis of Assisi titled Salvation.
“A sly and masterly historical novel, written with intelligence and flair.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A wonderfully ingenious novel, compelling, convincing, and exciting.” —John Banville
“Powerful. . . . Superb. . . . [Martin] slips into the nineteenth century with the ease of a time traveler.” —The Boston Globe
“Fact and fiction meld so neatly that it seems as if every character is drawn from real life. . . . The novel—unlike the Mary Celeste—sails home with flying colors.” —The Seattle Times
“A masterpiece of fine detail and intense reimagining. . . . Martin evokes a world suspended between faith and reason, in which ‘the other side’ is quite real—and always beckoning.” —The Guardian (London)
“Based on reality, this artful tale of ghost ships, mystery writers and seances is dripping with atmosphere.” —The Times (London)
“Starkly beautiful. . . . Emotionally rewarding. . . . Circl[es] that idea of a loss that can’t be explained or even understood, a grief that swallows the self as surely as the sea swallows whole ships.” —The A.V. Club
“Brilliantly done—fluently written, vividly imagined, really moving and genuinely, chillingly spooky.” —Daily Mail
“Superb. . . . A tour de force. . . . A beautiful, affecting literary tapestry. . . . An exquisite and intricately layered ghost story.” —Shelf Awareness
“Truly fascinating. . . . The seemingly disparate plotlines are skillfully woven together to create a novel that is well crafted, intriguing, and suspenseful, perhaps as a homage to Sir Conan Doyle himself. Martin’s seafaring story contains history, suspense, and heartbreak in equal measures as it slowly builds to an enigmatic conclusion. Highly recommended for all readers who appreciate quality historical fiction.” —Library Journal (starred)
“Melancholic and moving.” —Publishers Weekly
“A complex, imaginative version of historical fiction. . . . Martin has wound the disparate threads of her novel into a haunting personal drama.” —Kirkus Reviews
“First-rate. . . . Haunting.” —Booklist