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In Pale Battalions Paperback – 1 Jul 1991

67 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New edition edition (1 July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552132810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552132817
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2.6 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 650,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Goddard was born in Hampshire. He read History at Cambridge and worked as an educational administrator in Devon before becoming a full-time novelist. He is the author of many bestselling novels, including Into the Blue which won the first WH Smith Thumping Good Read Award and was dramatized for TV in 1997, starring John Thaw.

Product Description

Review

"One of my favourite books of the year...I recomment it to all ages and both sexes"--Sarah Broadhurst, "Today""A superbly plotted romantic thriller"--"New York Times""A novel of numerous twists and turns and surprises"--"Sunday Telegraph"

Book Description

A riveting bestseller from one of the UK's biggest thriller writers. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Phdavies on 12 May 2008
Format: Paperback
I have only recently discovered Robert Goddard having picked up a copy of Never Go Back on offer. Deciding to read his earlier work, I have found him to be an author of remarkably eloquent and intelligent vocabulary, written in manner that does not betray the use of a thesaurus. In Pale Battalions goes beyond the genre of mystery or thriller and can only be described as pure English Literature. If you're looking for a refreshing and stimulating story, the kind that you'll think about when many other reads are forgotten about, then choose this before you look at the latest 'Man Booker' winner.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Book Maven on 12 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
I love Goddard's books, but this one had me at a loss.

As an earlier reviewer said, the story is crafted like a Russian doll, a narrative within a narrative within a narrative. I found this confusing as this made the narrative shunt back and forth, presenting alternative versions of events and leaving the reader interested but uninvolved.

Unlike Goddard's later novels this one does not present one with believable characters. It is as if one reads a sheaf of gossip columns, accounts of people one does not know nor care about, who are described as being involved in all sorts of murder and mayhem.

Goddard is trying to explore morally ambivalent choices and the personal and historic circumstances that can force people to make them. This is a philosophically interesting issue but as a plot it fails because both choices and characters are perceived as idiosyncratic and largely irrelevant. Do we really care about the tedious sexual obsessions of overgrown public schoolboys that elicit neither sympathy nor interest?

However the book has its enjoyable bits. Descriptions of the country house are evocative and fresh, as are the descriptions of the social manners and divisions of WW1-era England. One gets a strong and nostalgic picture of a lost world at the exact time of its disintegration, one that was remarkable despite being stratified and eventually doomed.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Helly77 on 14 May 2004
Format: Paperback
Well, I finally finished it, and may I just say how much I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were so many twists and turns I didn't think I would be able to keep up, but I did, and just when I thought I had the next one sussed out, bang!, another unexpected twist.
I would never have thought twice about reading this book before, (it was the book of the month in a reading group I am a member of) but now I think I may go and buy another Robert Goddard. It may be possible that this book has made a Robert Goddard addict out of me!
The story was so well constructed, beautifully written, and highly involving with the use of the many different 1st person narratives, the characters were engrossing, loathsome and pitiful. i felt as though I was truly a part of teh unfolding story. I finished it in just 4 sittings.
It was highly reminiscent of an Agatha Christie, and can imagine sitting enthralled watching a dramatisation of it.
Hope everyone enjoys it as much as me!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
When it comes to the writing of Robert Goddard I am an unabashed fan. Each and every one of his books that I have read is better than the last. I just finished IN PALE BATELLIONS, one of his earlier offerings, and was once again impressed with his masterful storytelling and his ability to create characters and situations that ensnare you and compel you to keep reading. Since Goddard's books don't have to be read in any particular order, you can basically begin anywhere.

IN PALE BATELLIONS moves between several different time periods from WWI to the eighties and tells a tale that is more than an English manor house murder mystery....it is a convoluted tale of identity (false ones and people searching for one) with a host of featured players whose foibles ranging from melancholy, withdrawn and secretive to hedonistic, self-indulgent, and odious. Not a standard "whodunit" this saga unfolds like the petals of a flower and just when you think that you have the solution, the story takes another turn, a new question of identity and relationships resurface and you must rethink your conclusions.

Goddard is a masterful teller of cleverly executed, elegant and emblematic tales filled to the brim with duplicity and long buried secrets........of which IN PALE BATELLIONS reigns as one of his best. All I can say is " Try it, you'll like it!"
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By DubaiReader VINE VOICE on 20 Jun. 2006
Format: Paperback
I am surprised that the last two reviewers did not enjoy "In Pale Battalions", especially as the previous 6 reviewers had given it 5 stars.

I have now read 5 Robbert Goddard novels and this one certainly lives up to expectations.

All her life Penelope has believed that her father was killed in action during World War Two, so it came as a shock to find that the date enscribed by his name on the war memorial in France, predated her birth by 11 months.

She is travelling with her mother, who then recounts her own life history, which she had previously been very sectetive about.

Others become involved in this narrative, which proves to have many twists and turns before the truth is out.

I love a book with surprises and this one has several.

4 stars purely because I love historical fiction, but thrillers are not my first choice.
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