A haunting novel about a brilliant young man who enrolls at a small New England college and becomes entangled in a mysterious death -- and the ultimate scientific quest.
Eric Dunne is a sixteen-year-old academic phenom. Desperate to escape his foster family, Eric graduates early from high school and earns a scholarship to Aberdeen College, a small, prestigious school in northern Connecticut. Aberdeen is a school for the privileged youth of America's elite, an isolated world where hard drinking and hard studying go hand in hand. When Eric is assigned a work-study job with the college's head librarian, Cornelius Graves, Eric begins to hear strange and disconcerting rumors about his new mentor. Despite himself, he is curiously drawn to Cornelius, if only to divine whether it's true that he's searching for the Philosopher's Stone, a mythical substance that supposedly holds the secret to eternal life.
At the same time, Eric's preternatural aptitude for Latin quickly attracts the attention of Arthur Fitch, a charismatic and aloof senior who invites him to become a research assistant for Dr. William Cade, Aberdeen's most celebrated professor. Eric is accepted into Cade's small circle of sophisticated students, all of whom live off campus on Cade's country estate, and soon discovers that his new friends are not just conducting research for Dr. Cade -- they, too, are searching for the Philosopher's Stone. When an alchemical experiment goes fatally wrong, Eric is drawn deeper into the dark secrets surrounding the legendary substance. As the police investigation narrows and Eric gets swept up in Professor Cade's obsession, the tensions on the estate and in Eric's new friendships threaten to explode and, with them, Eric's idealized world.
Like The Secret History and A Separate Peace, Gods of Aberdeen demonstrates the selfishness and savagery that can lie at the heart of the most rarefied academic setting.