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Call of the Undertow [Kindle Edition]

Linda Cracknell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

When Maggie Thame, a childless forty-something from Oxford, relocates to a remote village at Scotland’s most northern edge, it’s clear she’s running away. But to the villagers the question remains, from what? Pursuing her career as a freelance cartographer, she lives in self-imposed isolation, seeking refuge in the harsh beauty of her surroundings. This is disturbed when she falls into an uneasy friendship with Trothan Gilbertson, a strange, other-worldly local nine-year old. Like Maggie, it’s unclear where Trothan really comes from, and what secrets might be lurking in his past. The lives of both become intertwined, with violent consequences that will change the destinies of woman and boy forever, forcing Maggie to confront the tragic events that first drew her to this isolated place. In this, her debut novel, award-winning writer Linda Cracknell explores themes of motherhood, guilt, myth and the elemental forces of nature in a lyrical, taut and haunting account of damaged lives seeking redemption.


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Review

'mysterious, deeply touching and makes enchantment feel very close to daily life' -- Sara Maitland

'...seductively pulls the reader into the deeper more dangerous currents of the human heart.Emotions ebb and flow along with the tide, in language clear and crisp as sea air.' -- Cynthia Rogerson

'Linda Cracknell's Caithness rises up off the page and takes form around us... Reading this book is like being there.' -- --Kirsty Gunn

'...a haunting tale that, like the landscape in which it's set, is perched on the cusp of the super­natural without ever quite toppling in.' -- The Herald

'This is a stark, atmospheric novel, with a strong sense of place: the wheeling sea birds, the endless ocean, and the drama of the big sky are all powerfully evoked, as is the sense of a small community where everyone knows everyone else's secrets.' --The Independent

'Every so often... The universe gifts you a book the reading of which becomes more important than anything else you could be doing at that moment... a reality that snares you so completely that for a few hours, it's the rest of the world that is shelved. Such a book is Call of the Undertow.' -- The Book Bag

'Cracknell managed to paint a picture of the coast so well that I found myself yearning for the sea. The setting was quite beautifully described in places. Matched with some harsh realities of life (which are true no matter where in the world that you are), Call of the Undertow is a quaint, but grounded, read that deals with loneliness and redemption.' --Subtle Melodrama

'The past and memory form the fulcrum in what is the first full length novel by one of Scotland s most exciting new talents. This atmospheric and finely crafted work certainly marks Cracknell as one to watch in 2014.' -- Waterstones Edinburgh

'An astonishingly beautiful novel with passages of exquisite nature writing, light-touch description and a well-paced narrative which moves around the human psyche like a restless wind.' -- Northwords Now

'...one of the most enchanting and magical novels of the year.' --Scots Whay Hae!

'...one of the most enchanting and magical novels of the year.' --Scots Whay Hae!

About the Author

Linda Cracknell writes short stories, drama for BBC Radio Four, and creative non-fiction. She won the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday short story competition, and was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book Award for her story collection Life Drawing (Neil Wilson Publishing, 2000) and the Robin Jenkins Literary Award for environmental writing. Her second story collection A Searching Glance was published by Salt in 2008. She was the recipient of a Creative Scotland Award in 2007 for a project linking walking and writing. Linda edited the anthology A Wilder Vein (Two Ravens, 2011) and has contributed wide range of other anthologies and magazines. She lives in highland Perthshire.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 594 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Freight Books (14 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FMZ6CNM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #173,698 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Linda Cracknell writes short stories, drama for BBC Radio Four, and creative non-fiction. She won the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday short story competition, and was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book Award for her story collection Life Drawing (Neil Wilson Publishing, 2000) and the Robin Jenkins Literary Award for environmental writing. Her second story collection A Searching Glance was published by Salt in 2008. She was the recipient of a Creative Scotland Award in 2007 for a project linking walking and writing. Linda edited the anthology A Wilder Vein (Two Ravens, 2011) and has contributed wide range of other anthologies and magazines. She lives in highland Perthshire.

Her debut novel, Call of the Undertow, was published in 2013 with Freight Books.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I was their only gift" 23 Oct. 2013
By EAO
Format:Paperback
"I was their only gift." So says Trothan Gilbertson about his parents.Trothan is a strange, friendless, 'otherworldly' nine year old boy, who meets Maggie,a cartographer who is trying to escape her past.
She has rented a cottage near Dunnet Head, the most Northerly tip of Scotland, seeking the isolation she craves for, but however hard she tries, their lives become strangely entwined.

Call of the Undertow is beautifully written. The story unfolds with an almost ethereal quality, which hooked me in from the first page. It is rich in descriptive phrases, evoking the solitary nature and ruggedness of the northern coast of Scotland.The characters are so believable that I was sorry when it was finished.
Brush up on your knowledge of folklore. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 3 Feb. 2014
Format:Paperback
Beautifully written, this story of a woman relocating to the North of Scotland to escape her past is deeply touching. As a result of agreeing to help with a school project she develops a strange relationship with a mysterious young boy, Trothan.

This is a very emotional tale of a woman who has tried to run from guilt, something to which many can relate, only to find herself in a worse situation. Maggie's feelings about Trotham are moving and their relationship is wonderfully portrayed by Cracknell. Trothan is a very interesting character who raises a lot of questions for being so young with such intelligence and an independent spirit.

The landscape is very important to the story and the descriptions of this are enchanting.

A must-read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterfully written novel 5 Nov. 2013
Format:Paperback
The friendship between a cartographer and Trothan, a young boy, in rural Scotland makes for a novel with great emotional depth. Maggie has fled Oxford, carrying a great burden, seeking solace in a little village far from civilisation until events from her past and new present catch up with her. The book is beautifully written, with a seductive slow-burn style that invites the reader to linger over each sentence as the story unfolds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different lives calling to us 14 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Beautifully layered storytelling, combining a deep sense of place and understanding of human pain. The title tells you what it's about, the undertow of guilt, the undertow of different lives calling to us underneath the one we choose. The writing is both subtle and powerful, drawing the reader deeper and deeper into multiple worlds. There is nothing easy or formulaic about this book. A profoundly moving experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I loved this book . It is simply but beautifully told and evoked the landscape of Caithness powerfully. The prose seemed to ebb and flow like the sea itself. This is very clever writing without ever seeming to show off or be self conscious. It is a simple story of a traumatised woman who hopes to escape and forget and finds herself fascinated by her surroundings, finding an unlikely
friend in a child. This relationship is movingly portrayed. The landscape and sea glisten and linger in yoru mind.
You too will be drawn into this story as swiftly as the tide turns.
This is original writing that will stay with you long after you have finished reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging tale set in a harsh landscape 10 Dec. 2013
Format:Paperback
For anyone who has never visited, or lived in, the far North of Scotland, this story is the perfect introduction to the harsh, scrubbed-clean-by-the-elements landscape of Caithness. However, this is not a travelogue; it is a mysterious tale of guilt, friendship, fear and love in which the coastal setting plays a pivotal role. An excellent first novel from an accomplished short-story writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By K. Bear
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is awash with stunning description of the landscape of Caithness, and the story is totally engrossing. Thoroughly enjoyed Cracknell's use of language and would recommend to anyone looking to read something wistful and haunting. 5 stars!
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Format:Paperback
Call of the Undertow follows a woman, Maggie, as she tries to escape her past by moving to the north of Scotland, and finds her troubles mount when there. Cracknell's writing is delicate and poetic, mirroring the mysterious events that happen throughout the novel. The book wonderfully evokes the beautiful yet harsh surroundings in the Scottish Highlands, and Cracknell manages to subtly evoke Scottish folklore and mythology without being too overbearing. Maggie and Trothan are intriguing and compelling characters, and the focus on them in the book makes it a very emotional read. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really excellent book.
Published 1 day ago by Miss R
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensitive, haunting story
I was completely drawn into the rugged, remote setting of this book: I could see, hear, smell and feel it. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Edinburgh Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
You know sometimes you read a novel and it describes the kind of landscape you love and some feelings you've had? This novel was like that for me. Read more
Published 18 days ago by iona
3.0 out of 5 stars Just ok
Not bad. I loved the descriptions of remote Scotland and the natural environment, I really want to visit Scotland one day :)

However, I found the story a bit lacking in... Read more
Published 6 months ago by StarryNight
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and moving
I was immediately drawn into this - a sensitive and believable portrait of a woman struggling to come to terms with a tragic accident, and gradually becoming part of a small... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Edith
3.0 out of 5 stars Annoying ending
A can't put down book but with a silly twist. a bit annoying really. I can't abide unrealistic books. some of the map info was hard to follow.
Published 11 months ago by Karen Hardwick
4.0 out of 5 stars Like waves gently crashing...
a lovely read. a little slow to get into, perhaps because of the flashbacks which become more vivid as the book goes on. a mysterious tale. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rosie
5.0 out of 5 stars Call of the undertow
Found it hard to put this down. Excellent descriptions of Scotland. A short but fast paced story. Good characterisation with enough mystery to keep you guessing. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Margaret Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant first novel.
The Call of the Undertow had me completely absorbed from the start. The descriptions of the rugged landscape of Caithness accompanied by the depth of characterisation meant that I... Read more
Published 11 months ago by ELEANOR J MAULE
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and multi-layered
Absorbing, multi-layered novel. At its heart the friendship between a woman and a young boy with a shared interest in map making, how landscape and history intertwine, and the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Alice Walsh
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