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Chris Swann

In the middle of his senior year at the Blackburne School in Virginia, Matthias Glass’s roommate and best friend Fritz Davenport runs off into the woods after the two boys have an argument--and vanishes without a trace. Ever since, Matthias has felt responsible, thinking that their fight, about a betrayal of the school’s honor code, led to Fritz’s disappearance.

A decade later, after an early triumph with his first novel, followed by too much partying and too little work, Matthias realizes he has stalled out and become a failure as a writer, a boyfriend, a man. So when he is offered a job at Blackburne as an English teacher, he sees it as a chance to put his life back together. But once on campus, Matthias gets swiftly drawn into the past and is driven to find out what happened to Fritz. Along the way he must reckon with Fritz’s complicated and powerful Washington, D.C., family and the shocking death of a student--and begin to understand his own place in the privileged world of Blackburne.

In the spirit of film noir, Shadow of the Lions takes plenty of dark, surprising twists--it’s a thriller, but also a moving debut that is as much about the mystery as it is about the redemption of a broken friendship and a lost soul.

Christopher Swann is chair of the English Department at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta, where he has taught English for twenty-one years. He attended Woodberry Forest School, an all male boarding school in Virginia, for all four years of high school. He has a BA with honors from Washington and Lee University, an MA in English/creative writing from the University of Missouri Columbia, and a PhD in creative writing from Georgia State University. He now lives in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with his wife and two sons.

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German World Book Ronit Zafran
Mohrbooks AG
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24. June 2017, review
A patchy but promising work that suggests a writer likely to prove much stronger with his sophomore effort.


24. June 2017, quote
A wonderful coming of age story, a taut emotional rollercoaster, and a hell of a debut. Christopher Swann hits the sweet spot with a novel that has a gripping plot, beautifully rendered characters, and an accomplished style. I loved it.

David Liss, author of The Day of Atonement

24. June 2017, quote
Both a poignant coming-of-age tale and a suspenseful mystery. Set in the persistently alluring environs of an elite prep school, where the idealistic image of striving achievement is always in conflict with the dark realities that trouble even the most pr

Ed Tarkington, author of Only Love Can Break Your Heart

24. June 2017, quote
A twisty tale that surprises at every turn, Shadow of the Lions will keep you turning pages compulsively into the wee hours, cursing Christopher Swann for the inconvenience.

Jonathan Evison, author of This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!

24. June 2017, quote
Fast-paced and full of unexpected turns, Christopher Swann’s Shadow of the Lions pulls readers into the dark underworld looming beneath a prestigious boys’ boarding school.

Mira Jacob, author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

24. June 2017, quote
Swann is a gifted storyteller, a master at the twisty tale . . . Under Swann’s deft hand, ultimately,Shadow of the Lionsexplores the timeless complexity of deep friendship--how it shapes us, destroys us and sometimes remakes us.

Patti Callahan Henry, author of The Idea of Love

24. June 2017, review
Best Summer Books 2017 - Swann’s noirish mystery, set at a prestigious boys’ boarding school named Blackburne, centers on the unsolved disappearance of student Fritz Davenport, the roommate and best friend of Matthias Glass. Ten years after, when Matthias

Publishers Weekly

24. June 2017, review
Best New Summer Books - High school senior Matthias is wracked with guilt because his best friend disappears after they have a fight. When he's offered a job at the school they attended, he thinks he'll find atonement; instead, old mysteries come to the s

Southern Living

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