Published by St. Martin’s Press

Praise for Michael King’s LORIEN LOST


“Michael King’s LORIEN LOST is a splendid romp, a grand imaginative journey, a joy!”
—Ray Bradbury

“It has an eloquence that rises above mere nostalgia-mongering, and a humanity that passes through Larking Land and ultimately doesn’t need to stay there to find wonders. This is at once a modest little book and a true pleasure.”

“A dreamy first novel, owing more than a little to Lewis Carroll, and set in a wholly imaginative Victorian England. Quirkily charming in a literary way.”

“Michael King’s novel is quiet, sweetly comic and intentionally archaic, strewn with Victorian engravings and playful prose that is capable, without undue prompting, of transforming itself into poetry. This is a book for readers weary of explosions, perhaps the same audience that rushes to the latest Merchant/Ivory movie, hoping for some respite from the hectic modern world. With its flights of fanciful language, its visions of sunlit meadows and lazy picnics, its authentic homage to art’s redemptive power, LORIEN LOST does offer refuge from the fray. That should be more than enough to guarantee it a delighted following.”
The Washington Post

“…, a parable on the dangers and powers of the artistic imagination, fuses fantasy and romance in a recreation of the style and spirit of Victorian adventure novels. …captivates with its imaginative vision and lyrical prose.”
—Publisher’s Weekly

“LORIEN LOST is a sparkling tale about a Victorian gentleman who is able to walk through the paintings he collects into the worlds they portray. King’s inventive first novel is deeply magical, comes in a lovely edition, and is highly recommended.”
Terri Windling, editor of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror

“What a delight Michael King’s LORIEN LOST is! A combination of George MacDonald and a Victorian Peter Leroy, a lovely jumble-box spilling out strange and imaginative toys. Michael King has a childlike imagination in the best sense.”
Sarah Smith, author of The Vanished Child

“…it carries one along with the steady flow and ever-fresh fascination of a dream. …a truly remarkable work.
Anthony Swithin, author of the Rockall series.

“…an allegory of the nature of art and its relationship to the individual. It is a bildungsroman of the artistic soul, a fairy tale of creativity. …The book is delightful, and heartily recommended to anyone with the sensitivity and delight in language to enjoy it.”

“In an era of copy-media when everyone is trying to clone the last big success, Santa Cruz  writer Michael King has staked out his own terrain. His debut novel, LORIEN LOST, is a whimsical Victorian fable that wriggles out of every attempt to classify it. Part fairy tale, part social comedy, it’s a hero’s journey of self-discovery told with the stylistic fancy of a blithely unhinged imagination. ”
—Santa Cruz Good Times

“A fantasy in the style of Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald, and Edith Nesbitt… For anyone who has wished they could enter a painting—a Van Gogh field, a Turner landscape—LORIEN LOST is a sheer delight.”
The Santa Cruz Sentinel

  • Locus magazine included LORIEN LOST in its recommended reading list for 1996.
  • In the popular anthology, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, LORIEN LOST tied for second place in editor Terri Windling’s choice of best fantasy novel by a new author.


An enchanting “new Victorian” novel about a quest for love and art

Milton Radcliffe is an art collector with a curious gift: He can “step inside” paintings, thus entering the artist’s painted world. In this manner he meets Lorien, a woman depicted in pastoral works by her artist-husband, Jonathan Larking. Milton is devastated when a gallery fire on his London estate destroys the only painting of her he owns.

When Milton discovers Jonathan Larking’s private journal, he learns that a life-sized sculpture of Lorien exists in the couple’s old summer retreat, somewhere in the Devonshire landscape already familiar to him through the destroyed painting. Thus begins his quest to puzzle out the exact location of the real-life “Larking Land,” and find the statue. For someone who has never left home, the journey would have been difficult enough. To a subscriber to the flat earth theory who believes that World’s End lay dangerously close to home, an expedition through southern England becomes a daring adventure. To make matters worse, the medieval cartographer Thulemander of Wessex returns to discourage him—and something else has returned, from the Sea of Darkness itself, something large and heavy that lands on Milton’s roof at night…

Set in Victorian England as seen through the eyes of the ever-dreaming Milton, Lorien Lost charts Milton’s search for Larking Land—a quest filled with wonder, hauntings, and ultimately, self-discovery.

Read the Prologue