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Pandaemonium [Hardcover]

Christopher Brookmyre
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
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Book Description

13 Aug 2009

The senior pupils of St Peter's High School are on retreat to a secluded outdoor activity centre, coming to terms with the murder of a fellow pupil through the means you would expect: counselling, contemplation, candid discussion and even prayer - not to mention booze, drugs, clandestine liaisons and as much partying as they can get away with.

Not so far away, the commanders of a top-secret military experiment, long-since spiralled out of control, fear they may have literally unleashed the forces of Hell.

Two very different worlds are on a collision course, and will clash in an earthly battle between science and the supernatural, philosophy and faith, civilisation and savagery.

The bookies are offering evens.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; 1st edition (13 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408700603
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408700600
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 364,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Brookmyre was a journalist before becoming a full time novelist with the publication of QUITE UGLY ONE MORNING. Since writing A BIG BOY DID IT AND RAN AWAY he and his family decided to move away from Aberdeen and now live near Glasgow.

Product Description

Amazon Review

What kind of a writer is Christopher Brookmyre? He’s markedly – and bloody-mindedly -- unlike any other current purveyor of crime fiction. A darkly comic writer, perhaps? Yes, the work is fiercely, bitingly funny – but that term doesn't really sum him up. Perhaps a kind of strange venturer into the realms of the supra-normal, then? His new book, Pandaemonium, certainly suggests the latter, with its eye-opening use of elements of the fantastic and SF. But none of these terms really does him justice – and perhaps it’s a good thing that he can’t be pinned down to any one genre.

Pandaemonium bids fair to be Brookmyre’s most extreme entertainment yet – and (as usual with this author) it’s not for the faint-hearted. St Peter’s High School has a problem with its senior pupils – how to help them deal with death of a fellow pupil? The answer (it’s decided) is to be a cloistered retreat at an outdoor activity centre – it will be there, through the aid of programmes of counselling, discussion groups and (of course) prayer – St Peter is a religious school -- that the pupils will be able to adjust. Needless to say, the pupils themselves have other ideas – sex and general misbehaviour being their primary aims. But near the retreat, a highly secret military operations is in train -- one, unusually, that has the services of a religious adviser (and an eccentric one at that). Appropriate, as the experiment involves nothing less than the untrammelling of the forces of the netherworld. The pupils will find themselves fighting for their lives.

Does all of this sound outrageous? For many readers, perhaps – but Brookmyre fans will be rubbing their hands. The bloody chaos on offer is not, perhaps, vintage Brookmyre, but aficionados have no need to hesitate. Satisfyingly (as usual), the forces of the establishment (the Military, The Church) are given an enthusiastic going-over. --Barry Forshaw


** 'A perfect example of the bathos that the Glaswegian satirist uses so effectively, and an indication of the two worlds that are about to collide (ESQUIRE)

** 'The Scottish author sticks to anti-Establishment finger-pointing and satire that is becoming his trademark (SHORTLIST)

** 'It's the busload of teenagers who steal the show in a series of quite brilliant and very funny scenes . . . Very well-written, intelligent and daring (Harry Ritchie, DAILY MAIL)

** '(An) imaginative tale (Henry Sutton, DAILY MIRROR)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Auld Nick and Max Planck? 11 Aug 2009
By H. meiehofer VINE VOICE
This is certainly the strangest book ever written by Christopher Brookmyre, and given what has gone before that is really saying something.

Best known as a comic crime writer he extends his range here into science fantasy and horror.

The story to some extent touches on areas he has explored before; a bunch of townie kids in a rural setting where really bizarre things start happening. Having said that he does as ever come up with original and ingenious new twists. All of the usual Brookmyre hallmarks are here; bizarre events resulting from a perfectly logical set of steps, very funny wit and the most amusing foul language you'll find this side of the number 9 bus to Linwood.

As some of his books have had in the past, this book has an underlying polemic, although it does take some time to discern what this actually is (I won't be more explicit as this might be a plot spoiler). The book does take a long time to get going with the first third or so essentially devoted to explaining the science and theology on which the story appears to depend. Some of this is pretty hard going. At times it seemed a bit like "The Da Vinci Code" meets "A Beginner's Guide to Stephen Hawking". There is no doubt that Brookmyre is a very clever man and that his eclectic intellect informs his writing. A reasonably good knowledge of the history of science (particularly quantum mechanics) and the Church (especially the Inquisition) would do no harm to the reader, although it's not essential. Certainly I found myself having to read certain passages more than once, and I'm not sure I "got" it all in the end. He does appear to wear that intellect on his sleeve a bit too much in this book and it could have done with a bit of judicious editing.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High octane, laddish, intellectual 17 Aug 2009
I love Brookmyre's books. This isn't my favourite but is nonetheless excellent. It is full of action but also very funny. There is lots of blood and gore but not horror. The surprising thing is how much well-informed discussion of philosophy and quantum physics is wound into a fast-moving and still very easy-to-read book. The plot is certainly quite different form any other novel I've read before.
I found it difficult to follow some of the scene-setting chapters at the start of the book, and to work out what was actually going on. Descriptions of the scientific facility and its staff weren't successful. But the book was a page-turner for the last two-thirds.
So some brilliant bits. Thought provoking. Very glad I read it. Can't wait for the next one!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This one is going to split the vote... 17 Aug 2009
By G. J. Oxley TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Previous reviewers have summed-up this book pretty well, but I'd still like to add my own thoughts.

The depiction of an entire class of sixth formers is brilliantly done, and I can live with the occasional dense blocks of text where Christopher ruminates on religion, quantum physics and science in general. But the denouement is pretty weak and the plot too fantastical to be credible. 'Pandaemonium' calls for a bigger suspension of disbelief than usual for such a grounded author, but it does have plenty of other points in its favour.

It's not as satire-heavy as usual - Brookmyre is normally the literary equivalent of the hilariously non-PC Frankie Boyle - although he does lace up his Doc Marten's to give the Catholic Church a good kicking. But, and it's a HUGE but, there are still some superbly-handled intellectual ideas in here, some scenes of real excitement, and I really must once again mention the characterisation. In 'Pandaemonium he gives thirty 17-year-olds their own distinct personalities and thanks, in part, to his helpful list at the start of the book, we're never confused about who is who. I love the sections where he's simply describing their thoughts and actions: we have the class clowns and show-offs, the geeks, the hard men, the self-centred, good-looking ones etc. I can't emphasise how well-written and beautifully observed these passages are.

It is an atypical novel from this very clever writer, yet despite its shortcomings - remember he's never dabbled in quite this type of fantasy before - I still greatly enjoyed the vast majority of it. However, more than any of his previous novels, I suspect there'll be a few long-term fans who won't buy the whole premise of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying 20 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love Christopher Brookmyre, I go to airports just to get the early copies of every one of his books as soon as they are released. This one strays a little too far into fantasy where the strength of even his most outrageous titles has been their realism. He touches all the usual bases with his evocative backstories - religion, catholic schools, the military, irreverent Scottish bampots... However the ending to this book is deeply unsatisfactory. I was left wishing I hadn't spent the previous 386 pages becoming so involved with characters I really cared about. It almost made me wish I had never read the book, despite the enjoyment I took in most of the preceding pages, and the times I laughed out loud. Very very very not good ending.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pandaemonium 19 Sep 2009
started off by being completely different to any other brookmyre novel but once into the story became, as usual for brookmyre, a rollocking good read. as witty and as funny as anything he has done. excellent.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant imagination.
Chris never disappoints. If you get past page 10, you won't want to put it down.
I could have been one of his school kid characters - they aare so believable.
Published 2 months ago by jimd
3.0 out of 5 stars Someone Already Said It...
As someone has said previously, the narrative of the kids is what saves this book. Love everything the guy has done except for this and Bedlam.
Published 4 months ago by Gavin-Alexander Craw
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Brookmyre - I wish he wrote quicker!
I am a massive Brookmyre fan and possibly a little unusual in as much as this was the first of his books that I read - and just loved it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dunderlin
5.0 out of 5 stars gorey but very funny!
If possible this is even more bloody than Brookmyre's usual offerings but I really did laugh out loud. I've reread it several times already!
Published 5 months ago by Janet
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry but ...
I too have loved Christopher Brookmyre's book since I read A Tale Etched In Blood And Hard Black Pencil. Read more
Published 10 months ago by captaing5
5.0 out of 5 stars Pandemonium
Took awhile to get into but great read stick with it
Like previous Brookmyre books it's blood splatteringly good would be good as a movie
Published 10 months ago by Nick parkes
3.0 out of 5 stars Would make a good film
This would probably make a good horror film but as a book ... nah! If your thinking of giving it a go then download the sample and read first. Read more
Published 15 months ago by C. R. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars He does it again.
I Don't know how he does it. In his own inimitable style he starts with what appears to be two stories running in parallel and brings them together with little things like the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Reg Brame
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this book
If you don,t know Christopher Brookmeyre, this is a good place to start... wonderfully dark and sinister with a good tale
Published 19 months ago by Dr. M. Everard
5.0 out of 5 stars Pandaemonium
Brookmyre at his outrageous best. Where does game play end and reality begin? You have to read on to find out
Published 19 months ago by S. Fryer
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