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In the winter of 1881, up-and-coming Swedish soprano, Christine Daaé, disappears from the stage of the Opéra Garnier during the finale of "Faust" and is never heard from again. The next morning the boots and top hat of her childhood friend, the Vicomte de Chagny, are found near a secret trap door behind stage. The young aristocrat is never seen again, and his brother’s body is found on the shores of an underground lake -- drowned. At the time the opera was hounded by rumors of a ghost who lurked in the cellars, claimed box five as his own, and demanded a princely salary from the frustrated managers. But any haunting ended that night, and the mysterious Phantom disappeared as completely as the soprano and the vicomte. What actually happened in Paris during the winter of 1881?

While the Phantom may be fictitious, his legacy -- like that of Sherlock Holmes or Dracula -- has made him larger than life. Gaston Leroux's Gothic novel remains simultaneously one of the most popular horror stories and love stories in world fiction. Built on a foundation of mythology, fairy tales, history, scandal, and social commentary, its themes of hatred and fear, desire and love speak to readers of any era. Filmed dozens of times, the story of the disfigured genius has been immortalized by Lon Chaney, Claude Rains, Herbert Lom, Charles Dance, Michael Crawford, and Gerard Butler. From silent film to Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical, it has captured imaginations with its Gothic glamour, romance, horror, and pathos. 

This collector's edition of Leroux's novel is a must-have for the story's many "phans." Complete with an expanded introduction, hundreds of notes, ravishing illustrations, and detailed commentary, it will answer questions that have plagued readers for decades: what caused Erik's deformity? Was Christine Daaé based on a real person? What historical accident inspired the chandelier disaster? How much is 20,000 francs in modern currency? Answers to these questions and more -- including eight pages of restored text left out of the ubiquitous 1911 translation -- are waiting for you inside.