The Opium Eater

Title: The Opium Eater
Published by: Mulholland Books
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A Thomas De Quincey Short Story

A brooding tale about the coldest of deaths and their heartbreaking aftermath . . .

Thomas De Quincey—the central character of Murder as a Fine Art and Inspector of the Dead—was one of the most notorious and brilliant literary personalities of the 1800s. His infamous Confessions of an English Opium-Eater made history as the first book about drug dependency. He invented the word “subconscious” and anticipated Freud’s psychoanalytic theories by more than a half century. His blood-soaked essays and stories influenced Edgar Allan Poe, who in turn inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes.

But at the core of it all was a terrible tragedy. In this special-edition novelette, based on real-life events, De Quincey tells the story of a horrific snowstorm, in which a mother and father died and their six children were trapped in the mountains of the Lake District. Even more gripping is what happened afterward. This is the true tale of how De Quincey became the Opium-Eater, brought to life by award-winning storyteller David Morrell.

The e-version of The Opium-Eater contains an afterword with numerous photographs of the dramatic locations in the story. Because of the cost of reproducing the many photographs, the afterword is available only in the e-book edition of “The Opium-Eater.” A print version is available in Nevermore!, an anthology of Poe-themed stories, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles. (Poe admired De Quincey and borrowed elements of his work.)

Read the photoessays about the locations in Inspector of the Dead: Mayfair and Belgravia | Constitution Hill | Eerie Lord Palmerston's House | Jay's Mourning Warehouse | The Magnificent Crystal Palace