Flames A Novel

The Flames

A Novel

  • ISBN: 9781647009199
  • Publication Date: March 14, 2023


Price: $25.20

Set in the bold, Bohemian art world of early 20th-century Vienna, award-winning author Sophie Haydock’s The Flames is the electrifying untold story of the four muses of controversial painter Egon Schiele.

Vienna at the dawn of the 20th century is an opulent, extravagant city teeming with art, music, and radical ideas. A place where the social elite attend glamorous balls in the city’s palaces while young intellectuals decry the empire across the tables of crowded cafés. It is a city where anything seems possible—if you are a man.

From this world emerge four muses, women whose bodies are rendered in intimate detail by the charming yet controversial young artist Egon Schiele: Gertrude, his sister, is possessive, single-minded, and jealous; his mistress, Vally, a young woman from an impoverished background, is making her way as a model for the famed painter Gustav Klimt; and Edith and Adele Harms, wealthy sisters, are vying to become the wife of their scandalous neighbor Schiele.

Schiele’s work—and private life—sends shock waves through Vienna’s elite; yet, determined to defy convention and forge their own paths, these women risk everything—their reputations, their most precious relationships, and their sanity and souls—to hold on to the man they adore. As the Spanish influenza pandemic ravages Europe and World War I throws off course their lives forever, all it will take is one act of betrayal to change everything. In her richly rendered and deeply researched debut novel, Sophie Haydock brings this unforgettable world to incandescent life as she gives these women the chance to have their say.

Includes Black-and-White Images


“Egon Schiele’s life is revealed through the eyes of the women around him. His single-minded pursuit of his art and his callous self-indulgence lead one of them to madness, another to self-mutilation and an early demise. Yet all pay tribute to his talent.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Haydock’s stunning debut captures the ecstatic shock of erotic art during the bohemian period of the Vienna Secession . . . Haydock’s superb research captures the era’s rich atmosphere. This assured effort will leave readers eager to see more from Haydock.”
Publishers Weekly, *starred review*

“Haydock’s first novel is beautiful and haunting, breathing life into the stories of painter Egon Schiele and the women who supported him . . . Recommended for general and historical fiction readers.” 
Library Journal, *starred review*

“The novel is well-researched . . . and the author has an impressive knowledge of Schiele, his works and his milieu, both artistic and historical. It is an engaging read . . . a most impressive work of historical fiction.”
Historical Novels Review

"A glorious success . . . an impressive and highly enjoyable debut . . . an expansive novel of the gaze and the image."

"Confident . . . urgent . . . illuminating."
Sunday Times

"Full of scandal, love, betrayal, and heartache."
Cosmopolitan UK

"Completely convincing and utterly compelling, The Flames gives vivid voice to four muses who refuse to be remembered as just that. Haydock is a writer to watch." 
Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Mercies

"The Flames paints a history so detailed and vivid that we feel we were there in the flesh. A book to get lost in, a great feat of a debut."
DBC Pierre, author of the Booker Prize–winning novel Vernon God Little

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