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A Game of Sorrows Paperback – 2 Sep 2010


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A Game of Sorrows + Crucible (Alexander Seaton 3) + The Redemption of Alexander Seaton
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (2 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849162441
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849162449
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A fine, rich, beautiful historical thriller - literate, engaging and moving' Manda Scott.

'MacLean has the first-rate historical novelist's gift... communicates her passion for the period without downplaying its brutishness' Daily Telegraph.

'A substantial story, well researched, never slackening pace' Scotsman.

'Combines the ironclad plotting of Sansom with the artful recreation of Mantel' Independent.

From the Back Cover

It is 1628, Charles I is on the throne, and the British Crown is finally taking control of Ulster. Returning to his rooms one night, Alexander Seaton is shocked to find a stranger standing there - a man who could be his double. His name is Sean O'Neill, and he carries a plea for help from Maeve O'Neill, forbidding matriarch of Alexander's mother's family in Ireland. All those who bear their blood have been placed under a curse - one by one they are going to die. Only Alexander is immune, his O'Neill heritage a secret from all but his closest family. Alexander travels to Ulster, to find himself at the heart of a family divided by secrets and bitter resentments. As he seeks out the author of the curse, he becomes increasingly embroiled in the conflict until - confronted by murder within his own family - his liberty and even his life are at stake.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Simon Clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The sequel to the author's astonishingly adept debut
novel 'The Redemption of Alexander Seaton' shows
her to be a supreme writer of historical mysteries.
It again features,Alexander Seaton,and is set in
1628.Seaton is lured from his teaching at Aberdeen
University,by his Irish cousin,Sean,to go to Ulster
to assist his family who have been placed under a
poet's curse.Once there,he finds himself faced with
subterfuge,bigotry, and resentment as he endeavours
to break the curse,which is beginning to come true.
Whilst not containing the immense sense of place
of the first novel,this is a well-written mystery
which enriches the reader's historical knowledge,
and skillfully conveys the brutality and morality
of the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sou'Wester on 28 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came to the first book in this series ("The Redemption of Alexander Seaton") with no great expectations but was pleasantly surprised by a literate historical novel with interesting characters and great atmosphere. Perhaps because expectations were so much higher for this second book there was bound to be a measure of disappointment. Don't get me wrong; this is still a perfectly good book but I don't think it quite measures up to its predecessor. To an extent the author is to be congratulated for not simply churning out a clone of the first novel; for the most part the only character carried over from the original book is Seaton (the narrator) and we also have a complete change of location, from eastern Scotland to Ulster. On the other hand, I rather missed some of the other characters encountered in the first book and would have enjoyed reacquaintance with them and the Banff and Aberdeen locations they inhabited. Instead, we have a whole new cast of characters, mainly relatives of Seaton's on his Irish mother's side. And therein lies one of the difficulties; I found it quite difficult to keep track of all the diverse strands of all these family members. This wasn't made any easier by the complexity of the Ulster population's ethnic make-up at this period and the equally complex range of conflicting loyalties.

Thus, I never got to know and understand the many characters in this book as much as the smaller group of people featured in the first book. And whereas the first book had me totally engrossed almost from Page 1, this second book seemed to take a lot longer to really get going - though in the end it was still a worthwhile read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. B. J. Anderson on 17 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I regret reading the less than positive reviews of this book as it took me a while to get round to reading it when I shouldn't have deprived myself! Great story, great characters and super writing. This is the best series of books I've read for sometime and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. My only regret is not reading them in the right order, although they are stand alone stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By paddeke on 15 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoy this writer very much, but I feel that her characterisation is sometimes too slight for the story. This does not apply to most of the characters, but I never found Sarah real enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bookie TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The second in the series following Alexander Seaton; there's sufficient backfill for this to work well as a stand alone. The story starts in Aberdeen, where Alexander is settled as a tutor at the University. The story swiftly moves to Ireland and the remainder of the book is set in Ulster, where Alexander learns about his Irish ancestry. His loyalties and trust are tested to the extreme as he tries to break a poet's curse.

The complex national and family divisions caused by an English king keen to extend and control his kingdom are very well explained. This is an historical thriller, set in a factual context. I gained a greater understanding of the history of this period and the legacy.

There's a much larger canvas in this story; more characters, a complex plot and a range of locations. It's far less introspective than the first novel, but an engrossing read. Ms Maclean creates a story that keeps you guessing at every turn. It's an historical action murder mystery. All the ingredients are there; chases in the night, deception, cliff face escape, treachery, betrayal and love. I really enjoyed it and its added a new and different dimension to the development of the Alexander Seaton character. Looking forward to The Crucible already!
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By Mark Jones on 30 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book built on very well from the original book and develops the character of Alexander Seaton very well. His adventure in Ireland is action packed stuff and the constant feeling of danger to the characters keep the suspense going right up untll the end. I liked the fact that the priests were seen as being quite adventurous and not averse to taking risks with danger. The characters are written well and as a result the reader can develop a real attachment to the characters, or revile them if they are the bad guys.
It didn't take me long to read the book as I just kept on reading it and didn't want to put it down. Great stuff!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tommo on 21 May 2010
Format: Paperback
If you enjoyed the author's first book, The Redemption of Alexander Seaton, this new book is a must for you. Very well researched and enlightening as to the history of 17th C Ulster. Not always easy to read (I sometimes got confused with the number of characters and their relationships!). However, it's a good historical mystery tale and well worth reading. Of the two books, I found the first one easier to relax with but, as with C J Sansom novels, you always learn something in an enjoyable way.
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