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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2008
I found this a very difficult novel to get involved in. The first 300 pages or so contained quite slow moving prose. It is unfortunate that all the activity of the novel is contained in the last 100 or so pages, by which point I really just wanted to finish the book so I could move on to something else.

The story revolves around a victorian gentleman traveller Godwin Tudor who gets caught up in the affairs of an English landowner, Edgar Brooke, who owns a section of land in Greece. Godwin finds himself falling in love with Edgar daughter Lydia. Somewhere along the line a mining proposal, a group of Greek Brigands, a hostage situation, Greek-English-Russian politics also become involved.

This novel won the Daily Mail first novel award, something I had not heard of before. Did it deserve to? Its is impossible to say without reading the other novels but I would have hoped for a pacer, more engaging novel that this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2009
I bought this as a friend saw it in a shop and said she had previously enjoyed it, however after reading it and challenging her on this, it turns out that the cover just looked like something she had enjoyed, and she didn't pay enough attention to what I was actually holding (safe to say I won't be going shopping again with her in a hurry!).
The plot here is to a small degree interesting, but the characters are all so unlikeable that it is hard to feel any interest in what they say or do. Goodwin is a very insipid protagonist, and Lydia (who he falls in love with) seems like such a fickle and heartless cow that halfway through the book I couldn't have cared less what happened to either of them.
Parts of the book are very well written, but you soon grow to despise the characters so much that it wouldn't matter if it was the best written book in the world, you still wouldn't enjoy reading it. Someone described reading this book as like "wading through toffee" and I couldn't agree more.
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on 26 July 2010
This really is a marvellous novel. Mr Vernon has created a magical evocation of time and place with wonderful characters and a gripping story to boot. Having read and enjoyed his fine novella, "Perversions" I was hoping to be equally enchanted by this book and have to say that the book exceeded my expectations. Highly recommended
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2008
I bought this as a result of my sister seeing a review in The Daily Mail. I should have known better. It was boring, turgid, unengaging - a bit like walking through cold toffee with too big wellies on. I seldom give up on a book but have just stopped after about 150 pages.
The characters are so boring that I just couldn't care less what happened to them.
I read the other review here and gather that most of the action takes place in the final 100 pages, but there are so many good books to read that I can't be bothered to persevere!!
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on 1 July 2015
Nice Book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2008
I am staggered after reading such discouraging comments from the previous review-
I bought this book after reading (and hearing about) several fantastically complimentary reviews from several leading newspapers.
After I started reading it I realised that it was something special.
The prose and language is clever - and, like the title - enchanting!
I am not suprised why this book won one of Britians major literature awards and I look forward to Mr. Vernon's next enchantment!

If you have a love for reading in depth adventure, with a twist of romance, then this is the novel for you.
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