Shadow of the Lions

A Novel

By Christopher Swann

In the middle of his senior year at the Blackburne School in Virginia, Matthias Glass’s roommate and best friend Fritz Davenport runs off into the woods after the two boys have an argument--and vanishes without a trace. Ever since, Matthias has felt responsible, thinking that their fight, about a betrayal of the school’s honor code, led to Fritz’s disappearance.

A decade later, after an early triumph with his first novel, followed by too much partying and too little work, Matthias realizes he has stalled out and become a failure as a writer, a boyfriend, a man. So when he is offered a job at 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. Along the way he must reckon with Fritz’s complicated and powerful Washington, D.C., family and the shocking death of a student--and begin to understand his own place in the privileged world of Blackburne.

In the spirit of film noir, Shadow of the Lions takes plenty of dark, surprising twists--it’s a thriller, but also a moving debut that is as much about the mystery as it is about the redemption of a broken friendship and a lost soul.

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Meet the Author
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Christopher Swann

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Review quotes
“Comes alive with action and intrigue.”
—The Wall Street Journal

“A promising, well-crafted debut. Flashes of lyrical agility suggest a bright new talent ready to roar.”
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

“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

"Witty, fast paced, and satisfying, Shadow of the Lions is the perfect literary thriller for back-to-school season.”
Foreword Reviews, starred review

“Swann steps on the gas for the last 100 pages, [and] the mystery takes off . . . ”
—Kirkus Reviews

“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!

“Fast-paced and full of unexpected turns, Christopher Swann’s Shadow of the Lions pulls readers into the dark underworld looming beneath a prestigious boys’ boarding school.”
Mira Jacob, author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

“Swann is a gifted storyteller, a master at the twisty tale . . . 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 Idea of Love
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
August 01, 2017