London psychotherapist Mariana Andros, the protagonist of this stunning psychological thriller from Michaelides (The Silent Patient), suspends her patients' group therapy to rush to Cambridge University to comfort her niece, Zoe, whose best friend, Tara Hampton, has been murdered. Mariana soon focuses on the charming, handsome Edward Fosca, a Greek tragedy professor who has assembled a secret society of female students known as the Maidens that included Tara. Mariana's obsession to prove Edward guilty of murder is tinged with her all-consuming grief over the death of her husband, Sebastian, a year before, and her protectiveness of Zoe, whom she raised after the young woman's parents died. Her investigation intensifies when two more of the Maidens are murdered, but the police and Zoe dismiss her theories. The intelligent, cerebral plot finds contemporary parallels in Euripides's tragedies, Jacobean dramas such as The Duchess of Malfi, and Tennyson's poetry. The devastating ending shows just how little the troubled Mariana knows about the human psyche or herself. Michaelides is on a roll. Agent: Sam Copeland, RCW Literary. (June)
From the Publisher
**A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2021**
**A Parade Best Book of 2021**
"Alex Michaelides’s long-awaited next novel, 'The Maidens,' is finally here...the premise is enticing and the elements irresistible."
—The New York Times
"Fans of The Secret History will fall hard for The Maidens, Michaelides’ dazzling chaser to 2019’s bestselling The Silent Patient, a challenging act to follow...Layered in dreamlike references to Greek mythology and ancient ritualized murders, this clever literary page-turner firmly establishes Michaelides as an unstoppable force in the thriller space."
"Elegant, sinister, stylish and thrilling, The Maidens answers the weighty question, how do you go about following one of the biggest thrillers of the past decade? You write something even better."
—Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin at the End
"The author of the critically acclaimed The Silent Patient permanently cements himself as a top modern author with this new work, a masterful, slow burn blend of Greek mythology and a knife-edged plot...destined for the bestseller list."
"Michaelides’ stage-setting skills are as masterful here, as they were in The Silent Patient (2019); another tense, cleverly twisted winner."
—Booklist, starred review
“Michaelides melds mythology and crime into a compelling page-turner.”
"Michaelides has proven that he is no one-hit wonder and is well on his way to becoming one of the world’s most influential and well-read thriller writers."
"Stunning... The intelligent, cerebral plot finds contemporary parallels in Euripides's tragedies, Jacobean dramas such as The Duchess of Malfi, and Tennyson's poetry. The devastating ending shows just how little the troubled Mariana knows about the human psyche or herself. Michaelides is on a roll."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Tautly plotted and impeccably paced, it's an intelligent and propulsive second novel."
"Enticingly dark and compulsively pageturning, this chilling novel takes readers on a suspenseful journey that's both terrifying and twisted... If you liked The Silent Patient, then you already know Michaelides's new book will be up your alley. With similar page-turning cliff-hangers, this utterly compulsive read will make you question which book you like better."
"Fans of The Silent Patient will love The Maidens... Set in the world of academia, it features Greek mythology, multiple murders and a twist that made my jaw hit the floor."
—Riley Sager, Parade Magazine
"A deliciously dark, elegant, utterly compulsive read—with a twist that blew my mind. I loved this even more than I loved The Silent Patient and that's saying something!"
—Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author of The Guest List
"Alex Michaelides hits a home run in his sophomore effort. The Maidens is a page-turner of the first order."
"The Maidens is an intricately plotted, mystery-thriller for the discerning reader. It’s an atmospheric story set on Cambridge University’s campus merging cliff-hanging twists with artful suspense."
—The New York Journal of Books
"Combining Greek mythology with propulsive suspense, this gripping, twisty tale is the perfect way to start off your summer reading with a bang."
In When Justice Sleeps, Abrams takes a break from her considerable political responsibilities to craft a legal thriller featuring Avery Keene, who clerks for Supreme Court Justice Wynn and takes over the background investigation of a key case when he falls into a coma. In Hairpin Bridge, Adams's No Exit follow-up, Lena Nguyen doesn't believe that estranged twin sister Cambry committed suicide; otherwise, she likely wouldn't have called 911 16 times before her death (100,000-copy first printing). In Hummel's Lesson in Red, follow-up to the Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick Still Lives, Maggie Richter faces another artworld mystery. In Edgar-nominated, New York Times best-selling author McCreight's Friends Like These, a bachelor party in the Catskills is a cover for a staged intervention to help one of the guests, but someone ends up dead (75,000-copy first printing). Abducted from her found-religion parents' isolated Arkansas homestead and returned unharmed yet still treated as damaged, teenage Sarabeth gladly makes her exit, but in International Thriller Writer Award winner McHugh's What's Done in Darkness, she gets called back five years later to help with a copycat crime. Following Mangin's nationally best-selling Tangerine, Palace of the Drowned stars flailing British novelist Frankie Croy, who is staying in a friend's vacant Venice palazzo in 1966 while struggling to regain her early writing promise and doesn't quite trust a fan who comes her way (200,000-copy first printing). Having had a huge international best seller with The Silent Patient, Michaelides aims for another winner in his Untitled new work (one-million-copy first printing). Following the New York Times best-selling, Reese Witherspoon-optioned Something in the Water, Steadman returns with The Disappearing Act, about a British actress who realizes that she's the only witness to the disappearance of a woman she auditioned with during Hollywood's harried pilot season.
A blend of psychological mystery and gothic thriller puts a psychotherapist in pursuit of a serial killer on the campus of Cambridge University.
The author’s second novel features a psychotherapist as its main character, as did his 2019 debut, The Silent Patient(whose main character makes an appearance here). This book’s protagonist is Mariana, who has a busy practice in London specializing in group therapy. At 36, she’s a widow, reeling from the drowning a year before of her beloved husband, Sebastian. She’s galvanized out of her fog by a call from her niece, Zoe, who was raised by Mariana and Sebastian after her parents died. Zoe is now studying at Cambridge, where Mariana and Sebastian met and courted. Zoe has terrible news: Her close friend Tara has been murdered, savagely stabbed and dumped in a wood. Mariana heads for Cambridge and, when the police arrest someone she thinks is innocent, starts her own investigation. She zeroes in on Edward Fosca, a handsome, charismatic classics professor who has a cultlike following of beautiful female students (which included Tara) called the Maidens, a reference to the cult of Eleusis in ancient Greece, whose followers worshipped Demeter and Persephone. Suspicious characters seem to be around every ivy-covered corner of the campus, though—an audacious young man Mariana meets on the train, one of her patients who has turned stalker, a porter at one of the college’s venerable houses, even the surly police inspector. The book gets off to a slow start, front-loaded with backstories and a Cambridge travelogue, but then picks up the pace and piles up the bodies. With its ambience of ritualistic murders, ancient myths, and the venerable college, the story is a gothic thriller despite its contemporary setting. That makes Mariana tough to get on board with—she behaves less like a modern professional woman than a 19th-century gothic heroine, a clueless woman who can be counted on in any situation to make the worst possible choice. And the book’s ending, while surprising, also feels unearned, like a bolt from the blue hurled by some demigod.
Eerie atmosphere isn’t enough to overcome an unsatisfying plot and sometimes-exasperating protagonist.