The Seer of Shadows
What’s this book about?
The time is 1872. The place is New York City. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen.
Horace’s first real photographs reveal a frightful likeness: it’s the image of the Von Machts’ dead daughter, Eleanora.
Pegg, the Von Machts’ black servant girl, then leads him to the truth about who Eleanora really was and how she actually died. Joined in friendship, Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora’s image and her ghost. Eleanora returns, a vengeful wraith intent on punishing those who abused her.
Story Behind the Story
When you think of all the images you see there is no more ubiquitous art form than photography. The first photograph is thought to have been made in 1826 (1827?) but it took a long time for it to become accessible to vast numbers of people. I have long been interested in photography as a fine art, and for a good number of years had what was called a “dark room.”
Awards and Recognition
- School Library Journal Best books of the year, 2008
- School Library Journal, starred review
- Publishers Weekly, starred review
- Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books list, 2008
- Cooperative Children’s Book Center Book of the Week
- Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice, 2009
- Missouri Mark Twain Readers Award nominee, 2010–2011
… In perhaps [Avi’s] best work yet, [he] has created a truly chilling tale that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned and the lights are turned out.” (Children’s Literature)