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Authors: John Connolly

A Song of Shadows

BOOK: A Song of Shadows
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Also by John Connolly

Title Page



Part I

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Part II

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Part III

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Part IV

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Part V

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76


Also by John Connolly

The Charlie Parker Stories

Every Dead Thing

Dark Hollow

The Killing Kind

The White Road

The Reflecting Eye (Novella in the Nocturnes Collection)

The Black Angel

The Unquiet

The Reapers

The Lovers

The Whisperers

The Burning Soul

The Wrath of Angels

The Wolf in Winter


Other Works

Bad Men

The Book of Lost Things


Short Stories


The Wanderer in Unknown Realms (eBook)


The Samuel Johnson Stories (For Young Adults)

The Gates

Hell’s Bells

The Creeps


The Chronicles of the Invaders (
For Young Adults

Conquest (
with Jennifer Ridyard

Empire (
with Jennifer Ridyard


Non-Fiction (as editor, with Declan Burke)

Books to Die For: The World’s Greatest Mystery Writers on the World’s Greatest Mystery Novels

First published in Great Britain in 2015 by Hodder & Stoughton

An Hachette UK company

Copyright © Bad Dog Books Limited 2015

The right of John Connolly to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library

ISBN 978 1 444 75150 5

Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

338 Euston Road

London NW1 3BH

For Ellen Clair Lamb

Grateful acknowledgement is made for permission to reprint from the following copyrighted works:

Extract from
The Master and Margarita
, by Mikhail Bulgakov and translated by Michael Glenny. Copyright © Michael Glenny & Mikhail Bulgakov, is used by kind permission of Vintage Classics – an imprint of Random House Group and Andrew Nurnberg Associates.

Extract from
The Sirens of Titan
, by Kurt Vonnegut. Copyright © Kurt Vonnegut, published by Gollancz, an imprint of Orion Books, is used by permission of Donald C. Faber, Trustee of the Kurt Vonnegut Trust.


What would your good do if evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared?
Mikhail Bulgakov,
The Master and Margarita


inter dead, spring dying, and summer waiting in the wings.

Slowly, the town of Boreas was changing: winterized rentals were being opened and cleaned, the ice cream parlor was ordering supplies, and the stores and restaurants were gearing up for the advent of the tourists. Just six months earlier, their proprietors had been counting the takings to figure out how close they’d have to cut their cloth to survive, for each year seemed to leave them with a little less in their pockets, and brought the same debate at the end of the season: do we go on or do we sell up? Now those who remained standing were returning to the fray, but even the cautious optimism of previous years was not yet palpable, and there were those who whispered that it was gone forever. The economy might be improving, but Boreas was mired in steady decline: a slow, labored mortality, half-life upon half-life. This was a dying town, a failing ecosystem, but still so many stayed, for where else was there to go?

Out on Burgess Road, the Sailmaker Inn remained closed, the first time in over seventy years that the grand old dame of Boreas hotels would not be opening its doors to welcome the summer visitors. The decision to put the Sailmaker on the market had been made only the previous week. The owners – the third generation of the Tabor family to operate the inn – had returned from their Carolina winter refuge to prepare the Sailmaker for guests, and some of their seasonal staff were already occupying the residences at the back of the property. The lawn was being mowed, the dust covers taken off the furniture, and then, just like that, the Tabors had looked at their business, decided that they couldn’t take the strain any longer, and announced they wouldn’t be reopening after all. Frank Tabor, a good Catholic, said that making the decision had been akin to going to confession and unburdening himself of his sins. He could now go in peace, and not fret anymore.

The decision to close the Sailmaker sounded another death knell for the town, a further concrete symbol of its dwindling. The tourists had grown fewer and fewer over the years – and older and older, because there was little here to amuse the young – and more summer homes were being put up for sale, their prices pegged optimistically high at first, before time and necessity slowly whittled them down to a more realistic level. Even then Bobby Soames, the local Realtor, could name off the top of his head five houses that had been on the market for two years or more. By now their owners had largely given up on them, and they functioned neither as summer retreats nor actual residences. They were kept alive by a slow trickle of heat in winter, and in summer by the flitting and scuttling of bugs.

The town was founded by a family of Greeks back at the start of the nineteenth century, although they were long gone by the beginning of the twentieth. Indeed, nobody was entirely sure how they had ended up in this part of Maine to begin with – and the only remaining clue to its origins lay in its name: Boreas, a northern outpost called after the Greek god of winter and the north wind. Was it any wonder, Soames sometimes thought, that its survival as a vacation destination had always been tenuous? They should just have named it Arctic South and had done with it.

Soames was driving slowly through Boreas on this fine April morning. Everyone drove slowly through Boreas. Its thoroughfares were narrow; even Bay Street, the main drag, was a bitch to negotiate if cars were parked on both curbs, and anyone who’d been in town longer than a wet afternoon learned to push in his side mirrors if he wanted them to be intact when he returned. And the local police liked nothing better than to meet their ticket quotas by pulling over motorists who were even fractionally over the speed limit.

It might also have been something to do with the area’s later Germanic heritage, which encouraged a certain sense of order and adherence to the tenets of the law. German Lutherans had first come to Maine in the middle of the eighteenth century, settling in what was now Waldoboro, but was then known as Broad Bay. They had been promised houses, a church, and supplies, none of which materialized, and instead found themselves marooned in a hostile landscape. They resorted to building temporary shelters and hunting local game, and the weakest among them didn’t survive that first winter. Later they fought the French and the Indians, and communities were split during the Revolutionary War between those who sided with the Americans in the cause of liberty, and those who were reluctant to break their oath of allegiance to the English Crown.

By then, the Germans were firmly established in Maine. Sometime in the late nineteenth century, a bunch of them made their way to Boreas, usurped the Greeks, and had been there ever since. The town’s register of voters boasted Ackermanns, Baumgartners, Huebers, Kusters, Vogels, and Wexlers. Farther down the coast, in the town of Pirna – named after the town in Saxony from which its homesick founders hailed – were more Germans, and even a small number of German Jews: a scattering of Arnsteins, Bingens, Lewens, Rossmans, and Wachsmanns. Soames, who was English on his great-grandfather’s side and Welsh on his great-grandmother’s (although for some reason nobody in his family liked to talk about the Welsh part) regarded them all in the same light – everyone was a potential client – although he could recall his grandfather’s strong opinions on the Germans, a consequence of his great-grandfather’s experiences during World War I, and his own memories of World War II. Being shot at for years by men of a particular nationality will tend to impact negatively upon one’s view of them.

BOOK: A Song of Shadows
12.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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