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Ordinary Thunderstorms [Paperback]

William Boyd
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 Jun 2010
One May evening in London, as a result of a chance encounter and a split-second decision, the young climatologist Adam Kindred loses everything - home, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, money - never to get them back. With the police and a hit man in merciless pursuit, Adam has no choice but to go underground, joining the ranks of the disappeared, struggling to understand how his life has unravelled so spectacularly. His journey of discovery will take him along the Thames from Chelsea to the sink estates of the East End. On the way he encounters aristocrats, priests, prostitutes and a policewoman - but will he ever find himself again?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 403 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (7 Jun 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1408802856
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408802854
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Boyd is the author of ten novels, including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet; Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year, the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year and a Richard & Judy selection, and most recently, the bestselling Ordinary Thunderstorms.

(Photo credit: Eamonn McCabe)

Product Description


'A storm of a story ... London has never looked so threatening' Daily Mirror 'Thriller lovers will discover a superior satisfaction in Ordinary Thunderstorms, in which a brush with a stranger leaves his hero homeless and hunted through the fringes of London' Guardian 'I can't remember when I had a more exciting read than Ordinary Thunderstorms ... It's about a nightmare that might happen to any of us' Antonia Fraser, Mail on Sunday Books of the Year 'A compelling fugitive chase through the dark side of modern-day London' Evening Standard Books of the Year

About the Author

William Boyd is the author of nine novels, including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; and Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary writing 31 Jan 2010
William Boyd is a literary craftsman whose skills keep the reader enthralled and informed from the first page to the last. He is the antidote to all the overpraised writers fawned over erroneously on both sides of the Atlantic in the current publishing climate of `name' and `brand' because they lucked into (often underserved) popularity. Boyd is the real thing: a writer.

`Ordinary Thunderstorms' (the metaphor reflects the way in which simple climatic phenomena can grow in complexity to major events) is brilliantly observed and meticulously written. No reader outside the U.K. should stay away simply because it deals significantly with London, the Thames and their centuries-old mysteries. It explains much that curious and intelligent readers anywhere would want to know about any major world city, a stunning insider view that strips modern London to its truths.

Boyd takes us into the times, places and events with unerring skill, drawing out the characters with exquisite detail of appearance, speech, environment, motivation and behaviour. This is a thriller of extraordinary dimensions, and one can only hope it will be filmed, to provide (yet again) counterpoint to the mindless drivel that passes increasingly for movie entertainment these days.

I will not reveal the plot. Other reviewers have done so, mostly from the book jacket. The suspense is excruciating, and who would deny a reader that pleasure? Suffice it to say that Boyd traces the life and transformation into other worlds and identities of a young British college professor, an expert on climate, newly returned to the U.K. from the U.S., dragged unsuspecting into a murder for which he is considered guilty. And he learns survival, down to its core.
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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 26 Aug 2010
I've loved William Boyd since way back in distant history, when I was blown away by An Ice Cream War, and have continued to be mesmerised by his storytelling skills down the years. This one, however, was disappointing. It started really well; I had the usual sense of excitement about the world I was about to enter, particularly as London in my home town, and was immediately fully engaged with the various characters. But as the book progressed I became steadily more disenchanted with the plot, and felt my 'suspension of disbelief'was being more and more sorely tested. By the time I reached the end (and even though I had the lack of pages to make it obvious, it was still a shock) I had lost interest entirely. It simply wasn't an end - no resolution, no sense of justice, no feeling of satisfaction or closure.
I also felt that what happened to Vince Turpin (no spoilers here!) just didn't work at all, on any level.
On the plus side, there's plenty of great descriptive prose here, and an interesting insight into London's underbelly. I also loved Ingram.
My last word, however, is on vocabulary. Is it really necessary to use words like borborygmi? (there were numerous others - sooo wish I'd marked them). I found their use irritating and showy-offy.I have never heard a single person describe a rumbling stomach thus - though perhaps i just move in the wrong circles....
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read! 9 Sep 2009
If you're wanting a cracking read this Autumn then look no further than this book. It's a perfectly paced and plotted thriller which is guaranteed to have you turning the pages right from the start. It follows young climatologist Adam Kindred whose life is suddenly turned upside down when he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up being the only suspect in a murder. This leads to him going on the run and living off-grid and feral with London's homeless whilst not only the police but the psychopathic real killer try to track him down. It's definitely edge of your seat stuff but it also delivers on many other levels thanks to William Boyd's incredible talent. There's the fragility of our day to day security and identity, something which also resonated in another of his books Any Human Heart. Then there's the idea of the paths we tread and do not tread and where each of these lead and inter-connect with those of others. Above all there is the image of the unreal city that is London and at its heart the Thames which carries away some of its filth whilst retaining sufficient amounts to provide a record or memory of the inter-connecting histories which have taken place within this vast metropolis. Think Dickens, Hogarth, Peter Ackroyd and a dose of Martin Amis's Keith Talent and you start to get a flavour. But then add the pace and simple pzazz that is William Boyd's own and you're halfway there. I couldn't recommend it more highly!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous premise 8 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read Any Human Heart and loved it so I was really looking forward to reading more of Boyd's work. I can't emphasise enough how disappointed I was with this novel. It fails because the basic premise of the story, that Adam Kindred has, due to a number of incidents, to 'lose' himself in London, is just so far fetched. Every decision that he makes from that point onwards is equally ridiculous.

One or two of the characters are well defined (Ingram and the ex SAS guy)and I enjoyed them but Adam himself is just an idiot and I spent most of the novel tutting and wanting to give him a good shake. The characters from the seedier side of Boyd's London were particularly weak and I was left feeling that Mr Boyd had never crossed the path of anyone who hadn't been to public school, let alone been plucked from the criminal underclass. Some of the dialogue was actually laughable.

Talking of social class, I think the novel would have had more chance of working if Adam had not been given such a obviously middle class background but had belonged instead to the strata of society for whom it is a constant struggle not to tip into the world that Adam found himself in. Boyd's Adam would have had far too many contacts and resources to ever find himself in a situation like the one depicted and this flaw resulted in a storyline that was unbelievable and at times ludicrous.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Quietly superb
Very much enjoyed this. Set in modern times, it lacks none of the atmosphere of Boyd's historical novels. Read more
Published 6 days ago by uncle barbar
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I always like his books and this was a real page turner
Published 13 days ago by Mrs C E Gideonse-Feely
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner
A real page turner. Well put together and interesting on the underlife of any capital city. A good holiday read.
Published 19 days ago by cynic7
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
nice to read a thriller based in Uk.
Published 22 days ago by bubbletastic
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read
William Boyd is an excellent author and I would recommend reading anything and everything written by him! This novel is set in London and about a man falsely accused of murder. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A thundering good read! Although initially sceptical as to whether...
A thundering good read ! Although initially sceptical as to whether this unusual theme would be as enjoyable as Boyd's other novels, as a devotee I was willing to trust in the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mojo 9
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
a good read but the story did not really add up so altogether disappointing - interestingly this is the opinion of several people who have also read this book, so I would not... Read more
Published 2 months ago by tigger
3.0 out of 5 stars not the best of his
I have read quite a lot of William Boyd's books but this was not as good as others. The only way I can summarise is "thin" or "light". Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. Hill
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful
Is this by the same author who wrote Any Human Heart? Far fetched plot, wooden characters, creaking dialogue and unsatisfactory conclusion with too many loose threads. Read more
Published 2 months ago by hampspi
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant novel
The author must surely be one of the very best writers in Britain today. His books, whether fiction or non-fiction, are always worth reading.
Published 3 months ago by Ure Ther
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