The Mirror Thief


A Publishers Weekly BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR





A globetrotting, time-bending, wildly entertaining literary tour de force in the tradition of Cloud Atlas.

The Mirror Thief is a dazzling combination of a genre-hopping adventure, a fast-paced mystery, and literary verve. Set in three cities in three eras, The Mirror Thief calls to mind David Mitchell and Umberto Eco in its serendipitous mix of entertainment and literary mastery.

The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world’s most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascination — was it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing? — the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals world-wide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, however — a world-weary war hero with nothing to lose — has a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city’s terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten …

Meanwhile, in two other iterations of Venice — Venice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa 2003 — two other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret ….

All three stories will weave together into a spell-binding tour-de-force that is impossible to put down — an old-fashioned, stay-up-all-night novel that, in the end, returns the reader to a stunning conclusion in the original Venice … and the bedazzled sense of having read a truly original and thrilling work of literary art.

Click here to read all about how booksellers put The Mirror Thief on the map—literally.
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An Indies Introduce Debut Voices pick!

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An Indie Next List Pick for May 2016!

MARTIN SEAY is the executive secretary of the Village of Wheeling, Illinois. This is his first novel.

“Audaciously well written…the book I was raving about to my friends before I’d even finished it.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A wondrous debut, a deliciously intricate, centuries-spanning tripartite tale of money and mysticism…Mr. Seay has conjured his own kind of sorcery, a sophisticated thriller that keeps the pages turning even as it teases the mind.”—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

”A bold American debut … hypnotic … Frequently reminiscent of the ominous historical bulletins of Don DeLillo … with a plusher, plumper register, more redolent of Umberto Eco Seay is clearly a writer of exceptional and eclectic intelligence. … The Mirror Thief is always highly admirable.” The Guardian

“Transfixing…The Mirror Thief is a startling, beautiful gem of a book that at times approaches a masterpiece.”NPR

“Compared recently to the work of David Mitchell, Seay’s big, genre-ish The Mirror Thief is actually better than most novels by that author.”Flavorwire

“Hugely entertaining.”The Daily Mail

“A masterpiece…[where] again and again a striking description will emerge…with no end of richly invented characters.”Electric Literature

“A twisting, turning, metaphysical journey that’s sure to please fans of David Mitchell and Umberto Eco. Those are exalted names, but the depth of these stories and the straightforward artistry of Seay’s writing will woo those looking for a true literary experience.”B&N Review

“It is easy to see why Martin Seay’s debut novel, The Mirror Thief, has been compared to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, and comparisons to Elmore Leonard and Umberto Eco are also justified for this substantial and richly imagined novel, spanning three time periods and two continents…A transporting and original novel.”BookBrowse

“The Mirror Thief establishes Martin Seay as an impressive new voice to watch.”Buzzfeed

“A 600-page thrill ride across three centuries and two continents … Part crime thriller and part meditation on poetry, with unexpected plot twists and references to famous figures as diverse as the French dramatist Antonin Artaud and Jay Leno…An impressive feat of imagination.”BookPage

”The weirdest and most ambitious novel of 2016 thus far…a literary, speculative, mystical masterwork.”Chicago Review of Books

“Masterful and mysterious.”Las Vegas Weekly

“Mind-blowing…It’s a big, complicated and strange book, in the best ways possible.”Minnesota Public Radio

“An intriguing original mystery that you won’t be able to put down until you’ve reached its stunning conclusion.”Bustle

“A poetic page-turner.”Crain’s Chicago Business

“A true delight, a big, beautiful cabinet of wonders that is by turns an ominous modern thriller, a supernatural mystery, and an enchanting historical adventure story…A splendid masterpiece, to be loved like a long-lost friend, an epic with near-universal appeal.”
Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed)

“Grandly entrancing…Shimmering with intimations of Hermann Hesse, Umberto Eco, and David Mitchell, Seay’s house-of-mirrors novel is spectacularly accomplished and exciting.”
Booklist, starred review

The Mirror Thief is a perfect amalgam of the sort of pleasure I hope to get out of ‘literary’ fiction and the pleasure I get out of a beautifully plotted potboiler: it’s a page-turner I can’t put down in which the sentences are breathtakingly gorgeous. Every sentence of this novel is charged with a living energy that seems to come from the clouds. In scope, it reminds me of Roberto Bolaño—in execution, of Elmore Leonard or Richard Price. It is a novel of ideas that still knows how to describe a slot machine in such an evocative way that it makes me swoon. It is a deeply impressive work of art.”—Benjamin Hale, author of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and The Fat Artist and Other Stories

“Readers, beware, as you embark on this journey through three Venices at three remarkably vivid moments in history. Like a card shark, a street hustler, a kidnapper waiting in ancient shadows, Martin Seay will trick you, dazzle you, spirit you away. I invite you to try your luck with The Mirror Thief; you can’t lose.”—Zachary Dodson, author of Bats of the Republic

“Martin Seay’s thrilling debut novel dazzles at every turn. Unexpected and amazing, The Mirror Thief will leave readers breathless.”
—Jeremy Ellis, Brazos Bookstore

“Matched in its ambition only by its accomplishment. This literary, noir thriller–drenched in grit, paranoia, and desperation–pulls the reader inexorably through a Russian doll of mysteries that span centuries and cultures. One hell of a debut novel.” Chris Phipps, Diesel Oakland

“WOW! This novel is brilliant. It has that breathless quality, the kind that envelops the reader — a force so consuming, one leaves one’s daily life and enters another space with lasting effect!” Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books

“What a bravura piece of writing! . . . What a feast of a book!” Greg Berry, Elliott Bay Book Company

“Kaleidoscopic and utterly unique, this thrilling literary novel brims with danger and atmosphere and will undoubtedly be one of the literary events of 2016.” —Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore

“A big book in every sense: big themes, big characters, and big stories, by a writer with big talent … A compulsively readable, complicated, fascinating novel that richly deserves comparison to the works of Umberto Eco, David Mitchell, and Vladimir Nabokov.” —Mary Wolf, Collected Works Bookstore & Cafe

“A debut novel of astounding ambition and achievement. Genre-defying in the vein of Pynchon and Stephenson, Seay’s book amazes and enthralls . . . A feat of publishing that will appeal to a wide range of readers.” —Kevin Elliott, 57th Street Books

“An incredible feat of storytelling . . . A delicious stew of Los Angeles-type noir, Da Vinci Code mystery, Rebel Without a Cause toughness, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance mechanical spirituality.” —Steve Salardino, Skylight Books

“A genre-spanning tour de force … Brilliant.” —Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books

“A special book … A tremendous pleasure to read, and a book that will stay with me for quite some time.” —Ed Conklin, Chaucer’s Bookstore