An Amazon Best of the Month Pick

A Top 10 Best Debut Novels of the Fall Pick From Apple


About the book


Set in the otherworldly megalopolis that is today’s Shanghai, Temple Drake’s suspenseful first novel blends the gothic, the erotic, and the supernatural as it charts an intense and dangerous affair.

One night in 2012, executive Zhang Guo Xing takes a group of European clients to a fashionable nightclub in Shanghai. While there, he meets a strikingly beautiful young Western woman called Naemi Vieno Kuusela. The physical attraction between them proves irresistible, and they embark on an intoxicating affair. But Naemi is not what she appears to be…

To Zhang’s surprise, she veers between passion and wariness, conducting the relationship entirely on her own terms. He feels driven to find out more about her, and is swiftly drawn into a web of intrigue, mystery, and horror. Is she a ghost? A demon? Do the living dead walk the streets of twenty-first century Shanghai?

Written in spare, high-octane prose, NVK is the first in a series of dark, hypnotic novels that explore the roots of desire and the cruel costs of immortality.


“An atmospheric and evocative tale buoyed by a sensual affair, Drake’s debut is a compelling read.” —Booklist

“A steamy affair turns supernatural…the ending subverts expectations and provides a perfect springboard for NVK’s next adventure.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Seamlessly blending sophisticated gothic fantasy with a stylish, neon-lit allure, NVK is our sexy new obsession. When business executive Zhang meets art dealer Naemi in a Shanghai nightclub, they immediately begin a steamy affair. But something is off: Naemi isn’t just beautiful and enigmatic—she’s ancient, transformed hundreds of years ago by the magic of her Finnish homeland into a strange and immortal being. Her curse fills Zhang with terror even as he can’t stay away. The pseudonymous Temple Drake writes this thriller in a deliberately minimalist style that’s as spare and elegant as Scandinavian furniture. NVK is every bit as mysterious and bewitching as Naemi herself.” —Apple Books, Top 10 Best Debut Novels of the Season

About the Author

TEMPLE DRAKE is the pen name of acclaimed author RUPERT THOMSON, who has written eleven novels, including Never Anyone But You; Katherine Carlyle; Secrecy; The Insult, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and selected by David Bowie as one of his 100 Must-Read Books of All Time;The Book of Revelation, which was made into a feature film by Ana Kokkinos; and Death of a Murderer, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award. He lives in London.