The Shadow Land

The Shadow Land

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Pub Date: 22 February 2018
Extent: 496pp
Format: paperback
ISBN: 9781911231172
Rights: UK & Comm (excluding Canada): Text Publishing
Hardcover available: ISBN: 9781911231103, £14.99

Alexandra Boyd has travelled to Bulgaria hoping to salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. But a luggage mix-up soon after she arrives finds her holding an urn filled with human ashes.

As Alexandra sets out to return the precious item to its owners she finds ever more obstacles in her path, even as her determination grows greater - and the mystery behind the significance of the urn deepens. Soon she will realise that this object is tied to the very darkest moments in the nation’s history, and that the stakes behind seeing it safely returned are higher than she could ever have imagined. 

Elizabeth Kostova’s new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.


‘In this brilliant work, what appears at first a minor mystery quickly becomes emblematic of a whole country’s hidden history. Lyrical and compelling, The Shadow Land proves a profound meditation on how evil is inflicted, endured and, through courage and compassion, defeated. Elizabeth Kostova’s third novel clearly establishes her as one of America’s finest writers.’ Ron Rash

‘Transporting…draws us into Bulgarian history and character revelation like an elegant, mysterious labyrinth. Page-turning, evocative and richly imagined.’ Dominic Smith

‘Recommend[ed]…to readers seeking outstanding and suspenseful historical fiction.’ Booklist

‘Beautifully written, gently gripping novel from the author of bestselling The Historian, in which enduring love, persistent guilt and lingering evil combine to powerful effect.’ Daily Mail

‘Elizabeth Kostova’s novel brings the modern history of Bulgaria into focus. The novel is the product of experience as well as imagination…It threads tantalising strands of romance, as well as more opaque examples of heroism.’ Otago Daily Times

‘Fans will keep coming back for her authentic detail, her scope, and her sense of suspense.’ Guardian

‘The aftermath of loss, the haunting beauty of Bulgaria and an unsettling mystery surrounding an urn of human ashes all come together in Elizabeth Kostova’s elegantly written novel…Written with great zest and beautifully descriptive detail, making the soul of this novel. The Shadow Land is a fascinating, moreish read, demonstrating the power of a great story.’ Readers Digest

‘In The Shadow Land, Elizabeth Kostova, a master storyteller, brings vividly to life an unfamiliar country—Bulgaria—and a painful history that feels particularly relevant now. You won’t want to put down this remarkable book.’ Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs

‘The Shadow Land is thrilling, and not just as a gripping tale. It’s also thrilling to watch such a talented writer cast her spell. The central character actually begins this deft novel in an urn, only to emerge as one of the most memorable characters I’ve encountered in a long time.’ Richard Russo, author of Everybody’s Fool

‘A compelling and complex mystery, strong storytelling and lyrical writing combine for an engrossing read.’ Publishers Weekly