Mortal Love

Art, murder, love. For fans of Deborah Harkness, Diana Gabledon, and those who like to mix a little literary history into their historical novels.

Swirling between eras and continents, Mortal Love is an intense novel of unforgettable characters caught in a whirlwind of art, love, and intrigue. Mercurial Larkin Meade may hold the key to lost artistic masterpieces, and to secrets too devastating to imagine. Is there an undying moment? An immortal muse? Is there . . . an angel of death?


“A literary page-turner.deeply pleasurable. Hand’s lushly worded tale is consistently gripping…. A delightful waking dream.” (Four stars) — People

“At once a painting in prose, an investigation into artistic obsession and a re-evaluation…. Ambitious and richly imagined.” — Washington Post Book World

“I think she has written the best book of her generation.”—Peter Straub

“Beguiles with its fusion of fantasy with convincing characters and richly drawn settings.”—Booklist

“Hand (Black Light) explores the theme of artistic inspiration and its dangerous devolvement into obsession and madness through three interwoven narrative threads in this superb dark fantasy novel….Hand does a marvelous job of making the ineffable tangible, lacing her tale with references to the work of artists ranging from Algernon Swinburne to Kurt Cobain and capturing the intense emotions of her characters in exquisitely sculpted prose.” — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Great fun, in an impressive synthesis of bygone times and forgotten lore.” — Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“The novel succeeds as both a thriller and a meditation on the mysterious nature of inspiration.” — Village Voice

“Elizabeth Hand is a writer whose vision, and whose writing into that extraordinary vision of hers, is exceptional . . .” — Bradford Morrow

“I think she has written the best book of her generation.” — Peter Straub

“Don’t turn the pages too fast–if you can help it.” — John Crowley, author of The Chemical Wedding

“You don’t so much read this novel as drink it down, like absinthe.” — Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

“A great gothic read, and one that dishes up all the dark delights.” — James Reese, author of The Book of Shadows

“A wildly intelligent, dangerously sexy read.” — Alisa Kwitney, author of Does She or Doesn’t She?

“A wonderfully Gothic atmosphere, with lush visual imagery and rich poetic language.” — Library Journal

Mortal Love is bewitching, sexy, creepy and, under all, dazzlingly romantic.” — Detroit Free Press

“Elizabeth Hand’s Mortal Love is the story of a dangerous and beautiful muse and the men she alternately inspires and damages. Hand, whose previous books include Black Light and the Tiptree winner Waking the Moon, tells her captivating story in three linked narratives: first, there is 19th-century American painter Radborne Comstock’s encounter with a mysterious woman; next comes Radborne’s grandson, Valentine, who is driven mad after seeing Radborne’s paintings; and finally we meet Daniel Rowland, an American writer who takes a sabbatical in present-day London. Rowland is somewhat lost in life and is looking for something that will engage him and move his magazine-writing career up to the next level. He has decided to write a book about the ongoing relevance of the legend of Tristan and Iseult. It is Rowland whose explorations link the three men’s stories and give him an idea of who or what has been leading them all down the path to love and madness.  Hand explores the links between art and artists, the search for artistic inspiration and the urge to create, and touches on the popular theory of the connection between artistic temperaments and madness. In Mortal Love, she has given her readers a lushly written treat that is also that rarest of things, a thought-provoking literary page-turner that will please historical fiction fans as much as fantasy readers.” — BookPage

Cover illustration by Lindsay Carr.

About the Author

Elizabeth Hand, a New York Times notable author, has written nine novels and several short-story collections. Her novel Generation Loss received the Shirley Jackson Award. She has also received the Tiptree, Nebula (twice), and World Fantasy (four times) awards, among others. Hand is a longtime contributor to numerous publications, including the Washington Post Book World and the Village Voice Literary Supplement. She divides her time between the coast of Maine and North London.

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