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Oliver Darkshire

Once Upon A Tome

Once Upon A Tome

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'Peculiarly hilarious!' - William Gibson 'Every page is a pleasure' - Lindsey FItzharris 'Utterly charming' - Tom Holland 'Unfortunately I have mislaid the book in question' - Neil Gaiman Welcome to Sotheran's; one of the oldest bookshops in the world; with its weird and wonderful clientele; suspicious cupboards; unlabelled keys; poisoned books and some things that aren't even books; presided over by one deeply eccentric apprentice. Some years ago; Oliver Darkshire stepped into the hushed interior of Henry Sotheran Ltd on Sackville Street (est. 1761) to interview for their bookselling apprenticeship; a decision which has bedevilled him ever since. He'd intended to stay for a year before launching into some less dusty; better remunerated career. Unfortunately for him; the alluring smell of old books and the temptation of a management-approved afternoon nap proved irresistible. Soon he was balancing teetering stacks of first editions; fending off nonagenarian widows with a ten-foot pole and trying not to upset the store's resident ghost (the late Mr Sotheran had unfinished business when he was hit by that tram). For while Sotheran's might be a treasure trove of literary delights; it sings a siren song to eccentrics. There are not only colleagues whose tastes in rare items range from the inspired to the mildly dangerous; but also zealous collectors seeking knowledge; curios; or simply someone with whom to hold a four hour conversation about books bound in human skin. By turns unhinged and earnestly dog-eared; Once Upon a Tome is the rather colourful story of life in one of the world's oldest bookshops and a love letter to the benign; unruly world of antiquarian bookselling; where to be uncommon or strange is the best possible compliment.

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Biography

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