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The String Diaries Hardcover – Unabridged, 4 Jul 2013

138 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472204662
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472204660
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 297,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Lloyd Jones grew up in Chandlers Ford, Hampshire, and studied at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He now lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and far too many books. He is the author of The String Diaries and Written in the Blood.

Product Description

Review

The String Diaries is an engrossing, mind-bending supernatural tale, and Stephen Lloyd Jones is as exciting a new voice as I've come across in some time, a writer who understands what makes the pulse race (Michael Koryta, author of Those Who Wish Me Dead)

Reading The String Diaries made me feel, in the best sense, like a child again. Nothing was more important than the fate of Stephen Lloyd Jones's courageous and very human heroine Hannah Wilde. Meals went uncooked, bills went unpaid, as I waited to find out if she would win freedom for herself and her daughter against the forces of darkness. I was scared, enthralled and amazed by this stunning debut (Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy)

With The String Diaries, Stephen Lloyd Jones has created a new mythology of the monstrous to rival Stoker's or Shelley's. Grounded in the real world and populated by characters we believe in, this is a book of magic for the doubtful, a fantastic tale for skeptics, at once transporting and convincing (Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist)

I have never read a book with such frenzied impatience. The String Diaries is unputdownable. Stephen Lloyd Jones has written a debut novel as frightening and layered as Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian and as clever and riveting as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code (Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon)

I loved this book (Marcus Sakey, author of Brilliance)

At once chilling and soulful, this hauntingly powerful tale weaves together the best elements of the psychological thriller, fantasy horror, and historical fiction. Stephen Lloyd Jones has penned a deeply inventive, dazzling debut novel (Eliot Pattison, author of Edgar Award-winning The Skull Mantra)

So gripping you'll want to read late into the night; so terrifying you shouldn't (Simon Mayo, the Radio 2 Book Club)

Original, richly imagined and powerfully told (Guardian)

Will keep you awake late into the night (SFX)

Book Description

If your greatest fear could take the form of your closest friend, who would you trust? An engrossing and terrifying supernatural thriller.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This fast moving novel straddles many different genres - it is part thriller, part supernatural fantasy and also touches on historical fiction. What is certain is that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. We are immediately thrown into the action, meeting Hannah Wilde, her injured husband Nate and nine year old daughter Leah when they are fleeing for their life. For some time we are unsure about why they are on the run and, more to the point, who (or what) they are trying to escape from. However, their sense of urgency and fear is palpable and you find yourself being swept along into the story.

There are three timelines by which we learn about what is going on. One storyline, concerning Hannah and her family, is set in the present. There is also the tale of Hannah's parents, which largely takes place in 1970's Oxford. Lastly, there is a third, which takes place in Hungary in the 1870's. It is difficult to discuss these various strands of the novel without giving away the plot, so suffice to say that gradually the mystery of why Hannah is running is revealed. A tragedy, beginning in Hungary, so long ago, has followed Hannah's family through the ages. For generations, Hannah's family has relied on escape; but now she faces the final outcome, as events conspire on a collision course which will end in either disaster or freedom from the curse which she has lived with all her life.

As other reviewers have quite rightly pointed out, there are moments when you do need to suspend disbelief and simply go with the flow of the book. What is without doubt is that this is a huge novel which I found almost unputdownable. It really would be a fantastic holiday read, or on a long plane journey. This is an extremely self assured debut novel and I look forward to reading more from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susman VINE VOICE on 20 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is very easy to get into and rather difficult to put down.

The narrative is spread over three time periods; the wide scope of the story spread does converge together later on. I liked Hannah's character she seemed well rounded, we see her struggles to balance the danger from her families past with her almost matriarch responsibility to her husband and daughter. Readers who like this novel will be willing her on despite the difficulties she was facing. The end of the book was very edgy and yet satisfying. What was refreshing here, is that this is a stand-alone novel without the need for you to be invested in sequels, which makes a pleasant change.
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Format: Paperback
The String Diaries, by Stephen Lloyd Jones, succeeds in finding an original space in the popular genre of fast paced thriller. As with many good books the plot is not constrained by this single label, touching on horror, mystery and folklore as the tale unfolds. The bare bones of the climax may be inevitable, but the denouement is not.

The story moves across Northern Europe, between the late nineteenth century and the present day. It describes how generations of a family have been hunted and killed by an elusive being of which little is known outside of a series of diaries, which are guarded as the only means of warning for those left behind when the killer strikes. Historical records mention a tale that is widely believed to be fanciful folklore; the family diaries detail the frightening truth.

At times the actions of the present day hunted can appear overwrought. I did not warm to the heroine, finding the supporting cast more rounded and believable. Having said that though, she was the one to have suffered the most, she had the most to lose. None of us can know how we would act under such circumstances.

The book is long at well over six hundred pages, but the writing is tight and the build up and background added authenticity. If anything I would have welcomed more detail on some of the groups which became key as the plot progressed. The world that the author created captured my interest and imagination. I am left wondering how the society functioned prior to the initial time frame described in this book, something that is touched on only briefly. I wonder why they evolved as they did, what purpose they served.

I felt ambivalence over the denouement. The lack of satisfactory explanation detracted from the potential for plausibility.
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By hross42877 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Thank you to Headline for kindly sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

I'm just going to get this out the way now, my review is in no way going to do this amazing book any justice however I need to tell you about it so badly, I have read only a few books that have truly made me sit and go wow, books that have made me feel bereft after reading them - they include the legendary Lord of the Rings, Hugh Howey's Wool series and Emily St John Mandel's Station Eleven and now my list includes The String Diaries.

It is a hefty book which with some can be a curse the story can get too bogged down in needless paragraphs but The String Diaries propels itself forwards it makes you want to read and read, and at 600 plus pages it is not recommended you start reading it at night time especially if you want to sleep at all!

Anyway I am rambling let's talk about the actual story, it starts off very quickly, Hannah is driving through the night in the Welsh countryside, her husband Nat by her side bleeding profusely from an at the moment unknown injury and their daughter Leah sleeping peacefully in the backseat. You get the impression straightaway that they are fleeing, running for their lives from an unknown horror.
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