Shadow of the Lions
How long must we pay for the crimes of our youth? It has been almost ten years since Matthias graduated from the elite Blackburne School, where his roommate and best friend, Fritz, fled into the woods, never to be heard from again, in the middle of their senior year. Fritz vanished just after an argument over Matthias's breaking of the school's honor code, and Matthias has long been haunted by the idea that his betrayal led to his friend's disappearance.Years later, after hitting the fast lane in New York as a successful novelist--then falling twice as hard--Matthias is stuck, a failure as a writer, a boyfriend, a person. When he is offered the opportunity to return to Blackburne as an English teacher, he sees it as a chance to put his life back together. But once on campus, Matthias gets swiftly drawn into the past, and is driven to find out what happened to Fritz. He partners with a curmudgeonly local retired cop and tries to solve the case, dealing with campus politics, the shocking death of a student, Fritz's complicated and powerful Washington, D.C., family, and his own place in the privileged world of Blackburne.In the spirit of film noir, what follows is a tale full of unexpected turns. Shadow of the Lions is a gripping literary thriller, but also a moving coming-of-age story that is as much about the mystery as it is about the redemption of a broken friendship and a lost soul.

Shadow of the Lions Details

TitleShadow of the Lions
Author
ReleaseAug 1st, 2017
PublisherAlgonquin Books
ISBN-139781616205003
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense

Shadow of the Lions Review

  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    Dramatic and suspenseful, set in the elite world of a prestigious boy's private school. When Matthias is first brought to the school as a young teen, he feels abandoned by his parents. Through the next four years he will become acclimated, make a very good friend, and be accepted into college. In his last year, after a confession and argument his friend disappears. Ten years later, after a stalled writing career, broken relationship, he returns to the school as a temporary teacher. He vows to fi Dramatic and suspenseful, set in the elite world of a prestigious boy's private school. When Matthias is first brought to the school as a young teen, he feels abandoned by his parents. Through the next four years he will become acclimated, make a very good friend, and be accepted into college. In his last year, after a confession and argument his friend disappears. Ten years later, after a stalled writing career, broken relationship, he returns to the school as a temporary teacher. He vows to find out what happened to his friend, unfinished business. There are secrets, on top of secrets, both at the school and in the disappearance of his friend.The insular world of a boarding school as always intrigues, much fertile ground is found within this environment. This is a literary and smart rendering of a young mans search for his lost self, a coming together of youth and man. I found it to be a page turner, the atmosphere at the school was written vividly, could picture myself there, totally immersive. The book moves swiftly, we watch as Matthias changes, grows more confident, both as a youth and a man. Some stereotypes are found within, but I found novel personalities within as well, all with interesting back stories. The resolution, when it comes was partly expected, but the reason behind it totally out of my range of thought. A first novel and a very good start.
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  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Algonquin for the advance copy of this title for review - all opinions are my own. SHADOW OF THE LIONS is a breath of fresh air in the suspense genre - it is supremely intelligent and definitely lives up to its description as a literary thriller. The prestigious boarding school setting provides a dramatic backdrop for Mathias' story, both as he describes his time there as a student and while he is navigating that same world as a failed novelist returning as an English teacher. Swann Thank you to Algonquin for the advance copy of this title for review - all opinions are my own. SHADOW OF THE LIONS is a breath of fresh air in the suspense genre - it is supremely intelligent and definitely lives up to its description as a literary thriller. The prestigious boarding school setting provides a dramatic backdrop for Mathias' story, both as he describes his time there as a student and while he is navigating that same world as a failed novelist returning as an English teacher. Swann's Ph.D. in creative writing shines through clearly in this story as he incorporates first classical literature references, and then in the next page, corporate and military espionage. While not a complete page turner during the first half, I whipped through the second half of the book in one sitting, dying to know just WHAT HAPPENED TO FRITZ. No spoilers, but absolutely loved the ending and how everything turned out. Swann's essay in THE ALGONQUIN READER gave me a deeper look into his motivation for writing this book and his personal experiences with the world of boarding schools. He learned from reading classic mysteries that he needed "to create a compelling character, and then imagine that character in a situation that demands answers." He certainly did just that in this book, as well as throw us into the world he imagines where a character must deal with the lifelong aftermath of a disappearance. I really love these essays that accompany the advance copies I receive from Algonquin (I know they are also available on NetGalley) - they give excellent insight into the world and people behind the stories. I highly recommend this book to fans of sharp, literary suspense stories that educate and enlighten as you are trying to unravel the mystery at hand.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    Shadow of the Lions by Christopher Swann The lions sit on either side of the gate to Blackburne School, a boarding school with "fierce traditions" and a fervent belief in its honor code. A code that Matthias has violated. The prologue has Matthias jogging in place in front of the lions, overcome with guilt and trying to justify his actions. The tension from this information already has the reader apprehensive.Matthias is joined shortly by his best friend Fritz; they argue and in the heat of ange Shadow of the Lions by Christopher Swann The lions sit on either side of the gate to Blackburne School, a boarding school with "fierce traditions" and a fervent belief in its honor code. A code that Matthias has violated. The prologue has Matthias jogging in place in front of the lions, overcome with guilt and trying to justify his actions. The tension from this information already has the reader apprehensive.Matthias is joined shortly by his best friend Fritz; they argue and in the heat of anger, hurtful words are said on both sides. Fritz eventually turns and runs back toward the school. After a few moments, Matthias runs after him, his guilt escalating as he attempts to apologize. But Fritz is too far ahead and when Matthias gets back to the school, he can't find Fritz. He assumes that Fritz is avoiding him. Fritz isn't in their room; he isn't at dinner; he isn't at study period. Matthias begins to worry and before lights-out, the sheriff is calledFritz is gone, and a search proves fruitless. There is no body, no trace, no explanation.Nearly ten years later, Matthias returns to Blackburne to teach English. He had a one-hit wonder novel, but was unable to follow it up. His New York high life has come to an end, and he hopes that a return to Blackburne will give him a chance to start over.The novel moves back and forth from Matthias' arrival at Blackburne at fourteen and his gradual assimilation into boarding school life, new friends, and rigorous education--to the present and his place as a member of the faculty and his deepening obsession with finding out what happened to Fritz. In the process, he uncovers some other secrets at the school and beyond it.Suspense, mystery, and coming-of-age intertwine in this debut novel that hooked me from the prologue and kept me on edge thereafter. read in April; blog post scheduled for July.NetGalley/Algonquin BooksSuspense/Coming of Age. August 1, 2017. Print length: 368 pages
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  • Rhiannon Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Read my review on p 34 of the August issue of Perimeter North Lifestyle magazine: http://issuu.com/lifestylepubs/docs/p...or check it out on my blog: https://ivoryowlreviews.blogspot.com/...
  • Christopher Swann
    January 1, 1970
    Some early reviews and blurbs:"Swann’s deft mastery of language and his sense for academia come through the novel strongly. Shadow of the Lions is believable, tense, and rich. Blackburne’s insular community is the perfect stage for this literary thriller, which earns positive comparisons to Dead Poets Society and The Marriage Plot…Witty, fast paced, and satisfying, Shadow of the Lions is a perfect literary thriller for back-to-school season." --Foreword Reviews"Suspense, mystery and the risks of Some early reviews and blurbs:"Swann’s deft mastery of language and his sense for academia come through the novel strongly. Shadow of the Lions is believable, tense, and rich. Blackburne’s insular community is the perfect stage for this literary thriller, which earns positive comparisons to Dead Poets Society and The Marriage Plot…Witty, fast paced, and satisfying, Shadow of the Lions is a perfect literary thriller for back-to-school season." --Foreword Reviews"Suspense, mystery and the risks of homecoming figure prominently in Swann’s absorbing debut, a literary thriller and coming-of-age story set at an elite Virginia boarding school." --Atlanta Journal-Constitution"A wonderful coming-of-age story, a taut emotional rollercoaster, and a hell of a debut. Christopher Swann hits the sweet spot with a novel that has a gripping plot, beautifully rendered characters, and an accomplished style. I loved it." --David Liss, author of The Day of Atonement"If you were to throw A Separate Peace, Dead Poets Society, and The Secret History into a literary blender, you might get something like Christopher Swann’s Shadow of the Lions, a novel which manages at once to be both a poignant coming-of-age tale and a suspenseful mystery. Set in the persistently alluring environs of an elite prep school, where the idealistic image of striving achievement is always in conflict with the dark realities that trouble even the most privileged of lives, Shadow of the Lions illuminates the complexities of friendship, love, loyalty, and duty with remarkable wisdom and compassion." --Ed Tarkington, author of Only Love Can Break Your Heart"Christopher Swann is a gifted storyteller, a master at the twisty tale. Swann’s must-read debut, Shadow of the Lions, is written with depth and mystery, transporting the reader through the gates of an elite private school and into the heart of an unsolved student’s disappearance: a novel that gives us the privilege of walking through the world with Matthias and his astute observations—the childhood ache of loneliness at a boarding school; a first love; a best friend’s disappearance; a career that should be more than it is, and eventually toward a shocking reckoning of who he is meant to be. Under Swann’s deft hand, ultimately, Shadow of the Lions explores the timeless complexity of deep friendship—how it shapes us, destroys us and sometimes remakes us." --Patti Callahan Henry, author of The Bookshop at Water's End"A twisty tale that surprises at every turn, Shadow of the Lions will keep you turning pages compulsively into the wee hours, cursing Christopher Swann for the inconvenience." --Jonathan Evison, author of This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!
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  • Jamckean
    January 1, 1970
    What a riveting, eloquently written novel! A pitch perfect literary thriller that I could not put down. Swann brilliantly weaves a tangled web of secrets and unrealized expectations, slowly revealing clues behind a prep school student's mysterious disappearance to the roommate who never stopped searching for him. Truly, this book is a must read!
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a sucker for books set at boarding schools and if there is a mysterious death or disappearance all the better. This one didn't disappoint. When the wealthy Fritz vanishes his best friend Matthais can't let it go. Ten years later as Matthais takes a job teaching at the same school he starts delving into the mystery once again. The story is full of twists and surprises and a fair bit of action. Matthias gets himself into some pretty sketchy, dangerous situations and thankfully he doesn't respo I'm a sucker for books set at boarding schools and if there is a mysterious death or disappearance all the better. This one didn't disappoint. When the wealthy Fritz vanishes his best friend Matthais can't let it go. Ten years later as Matthais takes a job teaching at the same school he starts delving into the mystery once again. The story is full of twists and surprises and a fair bit of action. Matthias gets himself into some pretty sketchy, dangerous situations and thankfully he doesn't respond like Bond or Bourne but rather like an actual high school teacher put into bad situations and trying desperately to get out of them alive. It was a quite exciting book in many parts, combined with the quieter character development and scenes in class and the dorms. Although I did not attend a boarding school it felt very authentic to me, or at least with my vision of what a boarding school would be like. In the end the resolution to the mystery was satisfying and shocking. While reading I checked in on Goodreads to see what other books the author had written and I was stunned to find that this is a debut novel! The writing is so darn good that it does not seem like a first novel at all. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Christopher Swann writes next because this one is a two thumbs up winner!I listened to the audio version and the narration was really, really good. I think the story lends itself well to audio and I truly could not stop listening. I highly recommend this version.
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  • Eva • All Books Considered
    January 1, 1970
    Review originally posted at All Books Considered: 3 STARS This was on the verge of being really interesting but the big reveal was just such a letdown for me. I still enjoyed this, even though it meandered quite a bit, and it was a fast read. The book started off great - a snapshot 10 years back in time at the boarding school when the MC's best friend just vanishes off campus before graduation. Fritz's disappearance sets of a downward spiral for his family and for Matthias, the MC, which culmin Review originally posted at All Books Considered: 3 STARS This was on the verge of being really interesting but the big reveal was just such a letdown for me. I still enjoyed this, even though it meandered quite a bit, and it was a fast read. The book started off great - a snapshot 10 years back in time at the boarding school when the MC's best friend just vanishes off campus before graduation. Fritz's disappearance sets of a downward spiral for his family and for Matthias, the MC, which culminates in Matthias coming back to teach at his alma mater where Fritz is constantly on his mind. He halfheartedly begins his search in earnest but it never felt organic to me. Something just felt off and what Matthias ultimately discovered was weird. Not good weird but it felt like the author didn't know how to end the book and to taper from all this build-up and just ended up cobbling a story together. I think this could have benefited from more direction and more editing but I am interested to see what this author writes next.Shadow of the Lions comes out next week on August 1, 2017, and you can purchase HERE. I would definitely read another book from this author, especially in this genre. You can see some of my favorite books set in boarding schools HERE. I had always enjoyed reading poetry, although it's a very different thing to teach others how to read it. My students felt that poets were weird, which had actually been true of some of the poets I had known at NYU. They had scared me a little, to be honest--at parties, the poets were the ones swinging from the light fixtures and trying to get the faculty, or their souses, into bed, whereas we fiction writers leaned against walls, drank early, and snuck glances at our watches. That hadn't kept me from sleeping with two of the poets. Beth was blond and warm and wrote Whitmanesque verse about rivers; Giselle was dark haired and dark spirited, with fingernails bitten to the bone, and wrote tight, acidic poems about death and betrayal, as if she were the love child of Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe. Beth said I was a lost soul while Giselle called me a fucking asshole, both of which, when you think about it, are pretty much the same thing.
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  • Stacey A. Prose and Palate
    January 1, 1970
    Secrets, intrigue and deception abound in this astute literary thriller debut. This book starts off as a very slow simmer, so much so that I worried that it might be too slow paced for my taste. Multiple characters are introduced and extensive plot development is provided during the first half of this book. But mid-way through, the slow simmer of the story boils over and consumes everything in its path and I was RACING through the pages to find out what would happen next. Matthias has returned t Secrets, intrigue and deception abound in this astute literary thriller debut. This book starts off as a very slow simmer, so much so that I worried that it might be too slow paced for my taste. Multiple characters are introduced and extensive plot development is provided during the first half of this book. But mid-way through, the slow simmer of the story boils over and consumes everything in its path and I was RACING through the pages to find out what would happen next. Matthias has returned to the hallowed grounds of his boyhood boarding school, nursing his wounds of personal failure and a stalled career. He has taken a teaching position at the prestigious Blackburne School for Boys and is looking forward to a fresh start. But Matthias has an uncomfortable history here; his best friend disappeared ten years ago after they had an argument; running into the woods and never coming back out. Fritz’s body has never been found and Matthias has been haunted by regret ever since. He begins to investigate the events of that night and soon finds himself in the midst of very questionable campus and town politics. When another student is found dead in the woods, Matthias becomes determined to get answers, no matter what the cost. The writing is intelligent and the literary references found throughout are certainly a nod to the author's own experience as an English teacher. The atmospheric setting of the hallowed school halls that harbor secrets old and new, coupled with the dark Virginia woods provides the perfect backdrop for murder and deception. There are plot twists and red herrings a plenty and absolutely nothing is what it seems. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will say I was disappointed with a particular reveal at the end.... couple that with the extremely slow first half made this a 3.5 star read for me.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    First two thirds are quite good reading but at the end it bogged down a bit. Some lgbtq.
  • Ilyssa Wesche
    January 1, 1970
    Whenever I read a book that takes place at a boarding school, I always fix it in my mind in about the 1950s and it is VERY DIFFICULT for me to think otherwise, which can be very distracting. I think I made this same comment when I read Secret History by Donna Tartt. Which now that I think of it didn't even happen at boarding school but at college. Anyway...I liked Matthias. Even if he was kind of a self-centered jerk sometimes, he also seemed pretty self-aware of his faults. I got enough backsto Whenever I read a book that takes place at a boarding school, I always fix it in my mind in about the 1950s and it is VERY DIFFICULT for me to think otherwise, which can be very distracting. I think I made this same comment when I read Secret History by Donna Tartt. Which now that I think of it didn't even happen at boarding school but at college. Anyway...I liked Matthias. Even if he was kind of a self-centered jerk sometimes, he also seemed pretty self-aware of his faults. I got enough backstory to satisfy me - for example I loved when he went home for Christmas, and we learned more about his parents. In fact now that I'm thinking of it, it's amazing how much character development is packed into this novel. The actual mystery was maybe a bit too wind-y for me, but overall I enjoyed it very much.
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  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    While not perfect (so few are) this is a STRONG debut novel. Swann's world held my attention from the first page to the last.I can't wait to get my hands on Swann's next book, which is a funny thing to say a few days before the official pub date of this novel.
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  • Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and Algonquin Books for an advanced copy of this book.Y’all know I’m a sucker for boarding school novels. But, I’ve had read some stinkers over the past few years. Shadow of the Lions is NOT one of the stinkers! It’s been described as a “literary thriller,” which I’m not sure I agree with. I’d say it’s more of a literary “mystery” than a “thriller” because it doesn’t have all the heart-pounding franticness that a thriller brings to mind.The story begins with a wistful feeling Thanks to Netgalley and Algonquin Books for an advanced copy of this book.Y’all know I’m a sucker for boarding school novels. But, I’ve had read some stinkers over the past few years. Shadow of the Lions is NOT one of the stinkers! It’s been described as a “literary thriller,” which I’m not sure I agree with. I’d say it’s more of a literary “mystery” than a “thriller” because it doesn’t have all the heart-pounding franticness that a thriller brings to mind.The story begins with a wistful feeling as Matthias returns to campus and reminisces about his time there as a student and Fritz’s disappearance. And, it gradually picks up speed as Matthias decides he wants to find out what happened to Fritz once and for all. This is also a story about male friendship…the kind of bond that can only be developed in extremely close quarters with shared experiences (i.e. living together in dorms, in the military, etc). Shadow of the Lions is one of those books that you don’t have to think too hard about (I need these sometimes!), but that has enough depth to keep you interested…and is the final book I’m adding to this year’s Summer Reading Guide!For more reviews, visit my blog: https://www.sarahsbookshelves.com/
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  • Couple of Readers
    January 1, 1970
    Matthias Glass is returning to Blackburne, the all male boarding school he attended for high school. It's nearly 10 years later, and this time he will be a teacher, not a student. But a shocking tragedy at the beginning of the year rekindles Matthias's need to find out what happened to Fritz, his best friend who disappeared during their senior year. Shadow of the Lions is a rare beast: a literary thriller. It immediately conjures up the hallowed grounds of Blackburne, with its honor code and tra Matthias Glass is returning to Blackburne, the all male boarding school he attended for high school. It's nearly 10 years later, and this time he will be a teacher, not a student. But a shocking tragedy at the beginning of the year rekindles Matthias's need to find out what happened to Fritz, his best friend who disappeared during their senior year. Shadow of the Lions is a rare beast: a literary thriller. It immediately conjures up the hallowed grounds of Blackburne, with its honor code and traditions. The reader is captivated by Swann's perfect descriptions of high school drama, as lived by the teenagers and as observed by the teachers. And of course the reader will be driven to find out what exactly happened to Fritz. If you liked the Secret History but wanted more heart pounding action, Shadow of the Lions is perfect for you. It's also a great read for readers like me, who usually find thrillers to have weaker writing and one-dimensional characters. In short, it is a captivating read, and I whole heartedly recommend it. -K
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED this book. It was one of my favorites I've read in a while. I could not put it down. Part Dead Poet's Society, part murder mystery, part criminal thriller and part love story...all tied up with a bow. It is many stories within one story, so be ready to be taken on a ride!Eloquently written with just the right amount of detailed description to make me feel as if I was standing there within the story. Likable characters, perfectly developed to make them very real. It kept me on the edge of I LOVED this book. It was one of my favorites I've read in a while. I could not put it down. Part Dead Poet's Society, part murder mystery, part criminal thriller and part love story...all tied up with a bow. It is many stories within one story, so be ready to be taken on a ride!Eloquently written with just the right amount of detailed description to make me feel as if I was standing there within the story. Likable characters, perfectly developed to make them very real. It kept me on the edge of my seat, made me nostalgic for young friendship and first love, and didn't leave me with despair and longing like so many books do today.
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  • Becky Zagor
    January 1, 1970
    I have to say that I was really liking this book and following every twist and turn for uncovering where the missing Fritz had gone and why. Well written prose with authentic prep school setting and great current and past day transitions and stories.The last 1/4 of the book just lost me and unraveled as I could no longer connect the dots and find plausibility in certain circumstances and outcomes. Like a roller coaster that doesn't quite make it up the last hill, I was left feeling less than sat I have to say that I was really liking this book and following every twist and turn for uncovering where the missing Fritz had gone and why. Well written prose with authentic prep school setting and great current and past day transitions and stories.The last 1/4 of the book just lost me and unraveled as I could no longer connect the dots and find plausibility in certain circumstances and outcomes. Like a roller coaster that doesn't quite make it up the last hill, I was left feeling less than satisfied. My 4 stars faded to 3.
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  • Larry Davidson
    January 1, 1970
    Matthias attends an east coast prep school where he rooms with Fritz who is the son of a wealthy industrialist tied into the government. He meets And falls for Abby who is Fritz's sister. After a brief argument between Matthias and Fritz, Fritz disappears without a trace. Is he dead or living?After attending Virginia, Matthias writes a successful novel and lives the high life in NYC until he crashes and burns. Ultimately he returns to his prep school to become a teacher. What makes this novel mo Matthias attends an east coast prep school where he rooms with Fritz who is the son of a wealthy industrialist tied into the government. He meets And falls for Abby who is Fritz's sister. After a brief argument between Matthias and Fritz, Fritz disappears without a trace. Is he dead or living?After attending Virginia, Matthias writes a successful novel and lives the high life in NYC until he crashes and burns. Ultimately he returns to his prep school to become a teacher. What makes this novel most enjoyable is that you never quite know where it is heading and the reader is along for the ride. Well written and fast paced.
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  • Charlie F
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic freshman outing that was compelling from page one. I was fascinated to find out what would happen to Matthias - both as an adult, and as a student, at Blackburne. And, of course, what happened to Fritz. Swann didn't disappoint - this was a compelling, entertaining, perfectly crafted coming-of-age tale meets murder mystery.
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  • Winthrop Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Nailed it to me, many times, and for me as a readerSo it's a review that you can't read because of the SPOILERS. First, I, too, went to an Episcopal at one time prep school (girls went to boarding schools, boys to prep schools in my day in the East). My school was half the size of the one in this novel, and also run on the English system with forms (grades), masters (teachers), prefects (sixth formed in dorms). Second, I (SPOILER) cheated. In my case, if it was cheating, it was an accidental con Nailed it to me, many times, and for me as a readerSo it's a review that you can't read because of the SPOILERS. First, I, too, went to an Episcopal at one time prep school (girls went to boarding schools, boys to prep schools in my day in the East). My school was half the size of the one in this novel, and also run on the English system with forms (grades), masters (teachers), prefects (sixth formed in dorms). Second, I (SPOILER) cheated. In my case, if it was cheating, it was an accidental conversation with a number of us in which a fourth or fifth former, prior to a French exam, told us about the piece which had to be translated. He was very bright. He had perfect recall. The master hadn't changed the exam when we took it. And none of us, as far as I know, mentioned this to anyone at the time. Which means that I can put myself into the narrator of the novel and get it.Third, no spoiler, my parents lived in the area of the novel, not when I was in prep school, but much later, so I can appreciate the depiction of Virginia.Fourth, HUGE SPOILER alert, I was sexually assaulted by the family minister. Once you have finished the novel, you will get this, too. You will want to buy or check out and read this book.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Shadow of the Lions held my attention from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the engaging, descriptive writing.
  • Carol O'Kelley
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up Shadow of the Lions expecting a "summer beach read" but was pleasantly surprised to discover an engaging and well-written novel. The book includes many literary references that voracious readers will appreciate -- which made sense when I realized the author, Chris Swann, is an English teacher. The writing is quite good in terms of both language and storytelling, with sufficient plot twists to hold the attention of mystery aficionados. I particularly appreciated Swann's deft handling I picked up Shadow of the Lions expecting a "summer beach read" but was pleasantly surprised to discover an engaging and well-written novel. The book includes many literary references that voracious readers will appreciate -- which made sense when I realized the author, Chris Swann, is an English teacher. The writing is quite good in terms of both language and storytelling, with sufficient plot twists to hold the attention of mystery aficionados. I particularly appreciated Swann's deft handling of the protagonist's mixed feelings about the value system of the traditional boarding school and its population -- fairly exploring the benefits and limitations of that world without condescension. It was a pleasure to read such a likable story that was also thought-provoking. I'm already looking forward to whatever comes next from this first-time author.
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  • Cathe Olson
    January 1, 1970
    A student mysteriously disappears from a boys boarding school and his best friend, Matthias, blames himself. Even when everyone else decides the boy must be dead, Matthias can't give up looking for his friend. This was an engrossing coming-of-age story with well-drawn characters and interesting twists.
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  • Jessica Goodman
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book which took place in a boarding school. One boy breaks the honor code and his roommate disappears. Exciting, well-written - like a grown-up Hardy Boys. I listened to this on Audible and the narrator was great.
  • Jennie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars - entertaining thriller...
  • Londogma
    January 1, 1970
    Listened to audiobook- kept me entertained. The narrator was super. Good story, good ending.
  • Millicent Nigrosh
    January 1, 1970
    A Welcome New NovelFinally a well written book by an articulate educated author. The subject matter was a bit different than the usual run of the mill suspense genre.
  • Bibliophile
    January 1, 1970
    I always wanted to go to a boys' prep school. The only plausible explanation for this desire, seeing as I'm not a boy and never have been and prep schools weren't really a thing where I'm from, must be found in watching Dead Poets Society in my formative years. I will forever have a soft spot for privileged teenage boys discovering higher learning and themselves. In a non-creepy way. This novel has it all. Secrets and lies, a mysterious disappearance, a failed writer turned English teacher, a si I always wanted to go to a boys' prep school. The only plausible explanation for this desire, seeing as I'm not a boy and never have been and prep schools weren't really a thing where I'm from, must be found in watching Dead Poets Society in my formative years. I will forever have a soft spot for privileged teenage boys discovering higher learning and themselves. In a non-creepy way. This novel has it all. Secrets and lies, a mysterious disappearance, a failed writer turned English teacher, a sinister janitor cruising around campus in his wheelchair of evil. There is a chapter in the second half of the book which seems to be taken from a different book entirely, a bad thriller where characters act implausibly and make oddly stupid decisions while thinking, oh, how oddly stupid of me. But I'll just ignore that and remember this as a lovely prep school murder mystery.
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  • Elizabeth Chapman
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book tremendously! Dr. Swann's love of language is obvious. Thankfully, as a teacher he also shared his knowledge with my son and daughter, both of whom he taught! A great book.
  • Sunsettowers
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.Matthias' best friend and roommate, Fritz, disappeared during their senior year at boarding school, and Matthias has always blamed himself.Now, after one highly successful novel and complete writer's block since, Matthias finds himself back teaching at his former school. The memories that surround him make him determined to solve the mystery of what t I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.Matthias' best friend and roommate, Fritz, disappeared during their senior year at boarding school, and Matthias has always blamed himself.Now, after one highly successful novel and complete writer's block since, Matthias finds himself back teaching at his former school. The memories that surround him make him determined to solve the mystery of what truly happened to Fritz.Swann has a really nice writing style. He has a lot to say, and says it really beautifully. I felt emotionally drawn into the book and wanting to know more. There's a real sense of suspense to this read, with a lot of effective flashbacks.Plus, I always love a book set in a school.This book kind of fell apart for me about halfway through. Swann had too much he was trying to do, and it all started to feel forced. The ending really felt like too much, and didn't end up feeling real or even making a lot of sense.I really wanted to love this book, especially with its comparison to The Secret History, one of my all-time favorite books. And this was definitely a suspenseful read-I found myself having to keep turning pages until I got to the end. But Swann just tried to cram way too much in for my tastes, and the ending left me confused and dissatisfied. I would give this 2.5 stars.
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  • Kim Lunsford
    January 1, 1970
    Any book that quotes the movie "Say Anything" is a winner in my eyes. Although not my usual genre, this was a lucky find on the new fiction shelf.
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