Letter from the Author

I’d been accumulating material for my first novel, The Meaning of Night, for over thirty years, and had always vaguely envisaged a connected trilogy of stories chronicling the tangled saga of the Duport inheritance through to the early years of the twentieth century.

Encouraged by the reception of The Meaning of Night — over twenty foreign-language editions, dozens of positive reviews from both professionals and ordinary readers, and shortlist nominations for both the Costa and Galaxy book awards — I began a sequel, eventually titled The Glass of Time, in the spring of 2006, soon after finishing The Meaning of Night. I completed the first draft in the autumn of 2007 — a period that coincided with the gradual deterioration of my remaining eyesight.

Like The Meaning of Night, The Glass of Time is concerned with the nature of identity, the enduring power of the past, and the corrosive effects of concealing guilty secrets.

Set twenty years after the events described in The Meaning of Night, the novel deals with the tragic consequences of those events, particularly on one of the principal characters from the first book, Emily Carteret, now Lady Tansor.

The main technical challenge was to create a narrative that stood on its own two feet. This meant that I had to devise ways of giving readers unfamiliar with The Meaning of Night the necessary plot information without simply regurgitating material from the first book.

I also wanted a completely different narrative voice from that of the obsessive, worldly-wise, and dissolute Edward Glyver, and to introduce a wider range of settings, which now include Madeira and Paris, in addition to the great house of Evenwood and the mean streets of mid-Victorian London.

Finally, I wanted to create a story that would immediately seize the reader’s interest and curiosity, and which would keep the pages turning right to the end.

I hope I’ve succeeded, and that this return to Evenwood and the world of the Duports will be enjoyed by readers of The Meaning of Night and new readers alike. I also hope that both sets of readers will enjoy making the acquaintance of Miss Esperanza Gorst — a most remarkable young lady.

Whether, or when, I’ll return to Evenwood for a third and final time remains to be seen; but I suspect that the temptation to wander its great rooms, and to gaze once more at the distant prospect of Molesey Woods from the Library Terrace, where old Lord Tansor once sat of an evening, his dog by his side, will prove irresistible.

Michael Cox
August 2008