My lungs began to burn as I started sprinting. It wasn’t just that I wanted to catch Fritz. I had the distinct feeling that I was chasing him, that I had to catch up with him, before something caught up with me.
How long must we pay for the crimes of our youth? That is just one question that Christopher Swann explores in this compulsively readable debut, a literary thriller set in the elite—and sometimes dark—environs of Blackburne, a prep school in Virginia. When Matthias Glass’s best friend Fritz vanishes without a trace in the middle of an argument during their senior year, Matthias tries to move on with his life, only to realize that until he discovers what happened to his missing friend, he will be stuck in the past—guilty, responsible, alone.
Almost ten years after Fritz’s disappearance, Matthias gets his chance. Offered a job teaching English at Blackburne, he gets swiftly drawn into the mystery. In the shadowy woods of his alma mater, he stumbles into a web of surveillance, dangerous lies, and buried secrets—and discovers the troubled underbelly of a school where the future had once always seemed bright.
A sharp and moving tale full of false leads and surprise turns, Shadow of the Lions is also wise and moving. Christopher Swann has given us a gripping debut about friendship, redemption, and what it means to lay the past to rest.
Read an Excerpt from Shadow of the Lions
“A House Split in Half” essay – from The Algonquin Reader Fall 2017