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Crossed Bones Hardcover – 3 Apr 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670917311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670917310
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,301,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Come find me on Twitter @JaneJohnsonBakr and on Facebook at Jane Johnson (Writer)

My website is www.janejohnsonbooks.com and there you can find an email contact form: do write - I love to hear from my readers and always reply!

I update and blog regularly about writing, publishing and cooking Moroccan food (my husband is a Moroccan chef).

I am from Cornwall and I've worked in the book industry for 20 years as a bookseller, publisher and writer.

In 2005 I was in Morocco researching the story of a family member abducted from a Cornish church in 1625 by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa (which formed the basis for THE TENTH GIFT), when a near-fatal climbing incident (which makes an appearance in THE SALT ROAD)made me rethink my future! (The whole story is told on my website in 'Inspirations')

I went home, gave up my office job in London, sold my flat and shipped the contents to Morocco. In October of that year I married Abdellatif, my own 'Berber pirate', and now we split our time between Cornwall and a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains.

I still work, remotely, as Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins and am the editor for (among others) George RR Martin (GAME OF THRONES), Sam Bourne, Dean Koontz, Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence and Raymond Feist.

I was responsible for publishing the works of JRR Tolkien during the 1980s and 1990s and worked on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, spending many months in New Zealand with cast and crew. Under the pseudonym of Jude Fisher I wrote 3 bestselling Visual Companions to the films, and I'll be doing the same for the 2 HOBBIT movies. I have also written several books for children, the latest being GOLDSEEKERS.




Product Description

Review

'A meticulously researched, epic story of Cat, a Cornish serving wench taken slave by Barbary pirates... This is beautifully written, first class escapism'
-- Mail on Sunday

'An unashamedly escapist page-turner that will be enjoyed by fans of Kate Mosse and Philippa Gregory' -- Daily Mail

'Fast-paced and exciting, Crossed Bones is the ultimate escapism'
-- Sainsbury's Magazine

'I really couldn't put it down. Exciting and romantic (oh so romantic!) and there is so much suspense. The descriptions are fabulous' -- Barbara Erskine

'Johnson imbues her historical story line with a captivating energy and momentum' -- Publishers Weekly

From the Author

If you enjoy the books of Daphne Du Maurier, Anya Seton, Mary Stewart, Jean Plaidy, Georgette Heyer, Thomas Hardy, Emily Bronte, Henry Treece, Dorothy Dunnett, Rosemary Sutcliffe and Mary Renault, then I hope you may enjoy CROSSED BONES. I am certainly not claiming that it equals any of their classic works(how could I?), but these were the authors I read and loved when I was growing up and they are the writers who helped to form me as a writer.

Having said this, CROSSED BONES is a strangely hybrid beast, neither fish nor fowl. It is not pure historical fiction; nor is it romance, nor adventure, nor a modern novel, nor a ghost story, nor a thriller, but a combination of all these, and how it came to be that way is a story in itself.

If you are at all curious please come and visit my website and find out how I went to Morocco to research the story of how the Barbary pirates abducted an ancestress, and came back from Morocco with a Berber husband. If anything, it's a stranger story than that of Catherine Tregenna, and there are certainly times when it feels as if I am a character in someone else's novel, my life being directed word by word, event by event by some other perversely creative imagination.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
'There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they have never happened before, like larks that have been singing the same five notes for thousands of years.' Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DubaiReader VINE VOICE on 12 July 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was particularly interested to read this book knowing that the author had an ancestor who was reputed to have been kidnapped from a church in Penzance in 1625 and taken by pirates to Morocco. The author decided to go to Morocco to investigate further and ended up discovering and marrying her own Barbary pirate.
Which makes this book at least semi-autobiographical. For me that's a big plus.

Catherine Anne Tregenna (Cat) has been promised in marriage to her cousin Rob. Although ahe loves him as a cousin, the thought of being married to him does not appeal. Just when this seemed to be her lot she is whisked away by Barbary pirates with 59 other members of the church congregation on a Sunday morning.
Back in the present day, Julia Lovat is given an antique book of embroidery designs as a parting gift from her married lover. Written over the instructions is the tale of Cat's abduction and her subsequent arrival in Morocco. Julia decides to travel to Morocco herself to investigate the story and finds a facinating country, so different from her own.

Although a little bit stilted at times, I enjoyed the book. The characters were fun but the coincidenecs on which events hinged stretched belief a bit at times.
9 out of 10, a good read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joanne K. Pilsworth VINE VOICE on 18 July 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Started a bit slow, but then it shares this feature with some of the Barbara Erskine books. It is very easy to be drawn into this story, and the pace, when it does pick up, ensures that it is difficult to put down.

The most fascinating part of the book is how something so small as a little book can be the start of such a complex tale.

I would class this as a good holiday read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Read Me on 21 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was really looking forward to this book having been enticed by the cover blurb. I have to say it didn't disappoint. The story begins with the end of Julia's affiar with her friend's husband - his parting gift (accidentally) is a needlework book dating from the 1620s. Written in its margins is the story of Cat a nineteen year old girl living in Cornwall longing for excitement and a route away from a life married off to her cousin Rob. Cat gets her wish in the most unlikely fashion when Berber pirates kidnap her along with many other villagers and plan to sell them as slaves in Morocco. Cat's story is very much the tale of a girl struggling to find a place in the world, whether thats in Cornwall, Morocco or on a pirate ship.
Julia meanwhile is determined to keep this gift that her ex-lover Michael is desperate to get back. She travels to Morocco not only to get away from him but also to follow in Cat's footsteps.
The mirroring of both Cat and Julia with their different journeys was a nice way of building tension and keeping me guessing. As other reviewers have said they are both quite shallow characters - not always illiciting much sympathy from the reader. But the need to know what happened to Cat and find out how her story ends carries the book along at a great pace. My only criticism is that the slightly supernatural element right at the end of the book was unneccesary.
If you want something that has a dash of adventure mixed in with romance, and not too historcial then this could be the book for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr Gumby TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 May 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The author was in Morocco researching the story of her ancestor and finished up selling her London flat, moving to Morocco and marrying there. This is a work of fiction based on historical fact. I have only rated it 4, but for enthusiasts of historical fiction, it may well merit a 5.

There are two stories in this one book, beautifully linked: Catherine in 1625 and Julia in the present day. Both succeed in making new and better lives.

Catherine wanted to escape her 1625 Cornwall existence, but not in the way it happened - kidnapped by pirate corsairs from north Africa. She survived, was able to continue with her passion for embroidery, and found unexpected love.

Julia, unhappy in a seven-year affair with her best friend's husband, also found adventure from an unlikely source. Her friend's husband's parting gift sent her to Morocco where she was captivated by the country and people.

This was a thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable book; I look forward to reading more of Jane Johnson's work.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By kehs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 April 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a rip-roaring read crammed with history, romance, ghosts, love, heartbreak, white slavery, pirate raids and religion. It's a fictional account of a pirate raid led off of the Cornish coastline in the 1600s, but based on historical facts that have been meticulously researched. Johnson has a marvellous descriptive style of writing that makes the reader feel the fear and uncertainty of the 60 villagers as they are captured and stolen off to sea, heading to places they'd never even dreamed about. She sweeps you along with her story and vividly describes every step of the captives' journey. Their tale is told via the diary kept by Catherine Anne Tregenna, who recorded all of her thoughts in a small book of embroidery designs, squeezing her writing in amongst the patterns. Hundreds of years later this book lands up in the hands of Julia Lovat, and this seamlessly joins the two women's tales together. Julia sets off to discover if Catherine ever made it home to Cornwall and along the way embarks on her own adventures. My only criticism is that I felt the supernatural side of this story could have been developed further, but on the whole I found this to be a gripping read and will definitely look out for more by this author.

At the back of the book there is a list of further recommended reading for anyone who wants to know more about the topics covered in this tale.

The author Jane Johnson's own story is an intriguing one too, and I hope she writes the tale of her adventures one day.
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