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The Equivoque Principle (Cornelius Quaint Chronicles) [Paperback]

Darren Craske
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

28 May 2009 Cornelius Quaint Chronicles (Book 1)

When a series of gruesome murders coincides with the arrival of Dr Marvello’s Travelling Circus the performers find themselves caught up in some rather sinister goings-on.

Prometheus the strongman winds up behind bars and it falls to ringmaster and master conjuror Cornelius Quaint, ably assisted by his Eskimo valet Butter, to investigate the killings and to clear his name.

But Quaint, an irresistable mix of Sherlock Holmes and Harry Houdini, soon finds that these seemingly random killings are actually linked to dark secrets from his own past. Secrets that he may not be prepared to face.

The Equivoque Principle is a fantastic adventure inspired by the penny dreadfuls and newspaper serials of the Victorian age and the first in a great new series.

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The Equivoque Principle (Cornelius Quaint Chronicles) + The Eleventh Plague (Cornelius Quaint Chronicles)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Friday Project; Reprint edition (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190554894X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905548941
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 762,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As a boy I visited a circus where a kindly old fortune-teller decreed that I would grow up to become an author & illustrator of quirky, comedy, adventure stories.
If I ever grow up, I'll be sure to let her know that she was right.

Below are the various ways of getting in contact with me:

* Follow me on Twitter: @DarrenCraske.
* Check out my blog at:
* Like my Facebook page at:
* Mail me at:
* Direct Message me on

* Or if all that fails, you could always record a holographic message and store it inside an Astromech Droid that hijacks an escape pod to flee from a Rebel Cruiser under attack by an Imperial Star Destroyer, and thus successfully completing a million to one landing on the nearby planet just a short walk from my small house in the Jundland Wastes.

Product Description


• 'Boisterous comedy and hairpin plot twists' - The Times

Book Description

A fantastic Victorian adventure inspired by the penny dreadfuls and newspaper serials of the times.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably awful 18 Sep 2010
This is one of the worst books I have ever read. It is very badly written. In addition to the errors pointed out by the other one star reviewers, the author seems to think 'sporadically' means 'coincidentally', apparently imagines that there was no real rule of law in Victorian England, what with the police having the right to hang people, and police stations being staffed by a Police Commissioner with a sergeant as his second in command, and has a very strange view of the sphere of influence and likely activities of bishops in the Church of England at the time. The plot is full of coincidences and 'with one bound he was free' style escapes. In short, I only finished it because I was wide-eyed with wonder at its sheer awfulness. The author thanks himself in his acknowledgements. It's hard to see why.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not THAT bad! 23 Dec 2011
Must admit that I picked this book up from somewhere else having not read the reviews and had I done I might not have bought it! That said, it really isn't as bad as some of the reviews would have you believe.

Let's get the gripes out of the way.

I don't particularly like Darren Craske on what I've seen of him from this book. To thank yourself in the acknowledgements is bordering on the arrogant and to sign off the acknowledgements with "you haven't seen the last of me" suggest an over inflated self importance. Tip for you Darren, learn a bit of humility.

Secondly it's a bit cliched. No surprise there, we're on the verge of 2012 and the chances of someone writing something wholly original are next to nil.

Three, the comment about it being "comedy" on the cover from The Times review is a somewhat baffling. I didn't laugh at it once and nor did I see something that was particularly chucklesome that just wasn't funny to me.

Finally, there was a bit of sloppy editing as at least one section of the book appeared to be repeated. Not DC's fault that I can see.

That aside...

Now I've no idea of Victorian London. I wasn't there and I haven't studied it, so the accuracy of the geography that other people have commented on may or may not be correct. But that doesn't interest me. I buy books to entertain me, to interest me and as a form of relaxation. Did I get all of that from this book? Well yes I probably did. The characters are fairly well painted, the story flowed reasonably well and in general we got from beginning to end without me actually wondering "what the hell happened there?" or with me wanting to put the book back on the shelf and reach for something else.

So it's not without flaws. But it's not a bad book.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, just dreadful 30 July 2009
I would quite comfortably say that this is the worst book I have read in about five years.

The writing is laboured and heavy-handed; the characters are two-dimensional, and the dialogue is almost physically painful to read. The author has chosen to make his lead character a magician, and yet has clearly done no research whatsoever into the history of magic (for instance: the story is set quite clearly in 1853, and a reference is made to a magic trick first performed in the 1920s). The sub-editing is dismal (at one point there is a reference to saltwater, which switches some ten pages later to rainwater), and at one point a paragraph is repeated verbatim on two consecutive pages, interrupting a sentence half-way at one point (though this may be a printer's error).

Add to this unappetising mix a couple of plot points lifted directly from Boris Akunin (to whom the publishers had the audacity to compare this doggerel favourably), woeful anachronisms, contradictory character motivation, an apparent inability to read a map of London, a singularly unlikeable hero, a macguffin that makes absolutely no sense, and you have a thoroughly disappointing reading experience. Save yourselves! Read virtually anything else instead!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The easy-read principle 15 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've had this book on my 'to read' shelf for quite some time, awaiting the moment when I needed a break from the modern rash of serial killers. A good old Victorian serial killer seemed the antidote.

Well, the book is filled with quaint (pardon the pun) characters, none of whom is likely to instill in the reader a desire to know more about them. The story rollicks along, it's easy to read except for the author's lack of concentration on the dialogue. He tries to convey a Victorian world but litters the conversations with words and phrases that just did not exist at that period. This is annoying as it breaks the flow but not too serious for me not have finished the book just to complete the adventure.

And yes, there are some other editing/proof-reading errors; just grit your teeth and carry on reading.

I'm not sure that Victorian England was quite as the author would have us believe. But, in the interests of an adventure story with a larger than life main protagonist, who am I to quibble? Adventure stories are meant to take risks, the trick is to keep the reader entertained - as, indeed, did the penny dreadfuls of that era. The difference today is that the readers have moved on and expect more in the way of accuracy and justification for spending their money.

Cornelius Quaint is certainly a large character; I'm not sure he's worth another story but we'll see. If someone gives me another book, I'll no doubt read it but I doubt I'll hunt him down in the bookstore just yet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Have you ever...
Have you ever watched a period drama on TV and spotted a Mobile Phone mast in the distance... or a single yellow line painted on the edge of a road (when it shouldn't be there)? Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mrs P
1.0 out of 5 stars running a marathon would be less painful than reading this
This is without doubt the worst book I have ever read. I can't understand how it got published! Even if you don't know anything about Victorian England the description was... Read more
Published 13 months ago by ditzylittlepixie
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked this book.
not what I expected, a whole lot better in fact. historically very interesting, and the subject matter WS a first for me.
Published 13 months ago by JOMIS CALLAN
1.0 out of 5 stars No, no, a thousand times no!
Charity shop find. I might take it back and seek a refund.

This should be a set text in writing workshops. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Andy Dingley
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply delightful
Full of mystery, full of action, some misdirection, some gentle romance, tragedy, greed, anger, integrity and the merest hint of a worldwide conspiracy in early Victorian Times. Read more
Published 19 months ago by jgkane
3.0 out of 5 stars A parson's egg
If you analyse this too much you will find any number of wrong things, many mentioned by other reviewers like the anachronisms, the bizarre police heirarchy, the way the circus... Read more
Published on 9 May 2012 by A. Skudder
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
was recommended this book by my sister in law when we were on holiday in egypt, not being my usual type of reading but as we were on holiday i thought i,d give it a go, well i,m so... Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2012 by rosebudjay
2.0 out of 5 stars In need of a good editor
Cornelius Quaint has arrived with his circus in Victorian London. The mysterious Mr Reynolds appears to be working for the evil Bishop, setting up a series of murders to rid an... Read more
Published on 3 Feb 2012 by eppingstrider
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable
I was I must say quite surprised to see negative reviews for this book. I found this debut from Darren Craske to be an enjoyable read, I found the main characters were defined very... Read more
Published on 25 Aug 2011 by Graeme S
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first book by Darren
Thoroughly enjoyed this first outing by Darren Craske. It is full of excitement, humour and twists and kept me glued to the finish. Read more
Published on 14 May 2011 by sniffer24601
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