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The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy [Paperback]

Peter May
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,170 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2011 Lewis Trilogy

A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith.

A MURDER. Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past.

A SECRET. Something lurks within the close-knit island community. Something sinister.

A TRAP. As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface, and soon he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.


Frequently Bought Together

The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy + The Lewis Man: Book Two of the Lewis Trilogy + The Chessmen (Lewis Trilogy 3)
Price For All Three: 13.30

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Product details

  • Paperback: 502 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849163863
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849163866
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter May is the multi award-winning author of:

- the internationally best-selling Lewis Trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland;
- the China Thrillers, featuring Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell;
- the critically-acclaimed Enzo Files, featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, which is set in France;
and several standalone books, the latest of which is Entry Island (January 2014, Quercus UK).

He has also had a successful career as a television writer, creator, and producer.

One of Scotland's most prolific television dramatists, he garnered more than 1000 credits in 15 years as scriptwriter and script editor on prime-time British television drama. He is the creator of three major television drama series and presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland before quitting television to concentrate on his first love, writing novels.

Born and raised in Scotland he lives in France.

After being turned down by all the major UK publishers, the first of the The Lewis Trilogy - The Blackhouse - was published in France as L'Ile des Chasseurs d'Oiseaux where it was hailed as "a masterpiece" by the French national newspaper L'Humanité. His novels have a large following in France. The trilogy has won several French literature awards, including one of the world's largest adjudicated readers awards, the Prix Cezam.

The Blackhouse was published in English by the award-winning Quercus (a relatively young publishing house which did not exist when the book was first presented to British publishers). It went on to become an international best seller, and was shortlisted for both Barry Award and Macavity Award when it was published in the USA.

The Blackhouse won the US Barry Award for Best Mystery Novel at Bouchercon in Albany NY, in 2013.


Product Description

Review

'vivid ... fascinating' Literary Review.

'excellent plotting with some beautiful descriptions of the Isle of Lewis ... The story is wonderful' crime pieces.

From the Inside Flap

The Isle of Lewis is the most desolate and harshly beautiful place in Scotland, where the brutality of daily life is outweighed only by people's fear of God. When a bloody murder on the island bears the hallmarks of a similar slaying in Edinburgh, police detective Fin Macleod is dispatched north to investigate. Since Fin himself was raised on the island, the investigation represents not only a journey home but a voyage into his past, as he attempts to rediscover the life and people he left behind. Each year twelve island men, among them Fin's boyhood friends, sail out to a remote and treacherous rock called An Sgeir on a perilous quest to slaughter nesting seabirds. No longer necessary for survival, this rite of passage is fiercely defended against all the demands of modern morality. But for Fin the hunt harbours a horrific memory which might, after all this time, demand an even greater sacrifice. The Blackhouse is a crime novel of rare power and vision. It is a murder mystery that explores the shadows in our souls, set in a place where the past is ever near the surface, and life blurs into myth and history.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
246 of 252 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark secrets 9 Jun 2011
By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The novel is set on the remote island of Lewis far off the coast of northern Scotland. This is an area that the author will know well since he spent several years there producing and filming the Gaelic language TV series, Machair. This gives an authenticity to the very strong descriptions of this remote, rugged, weather-beaten corner of the British Isles. In particular, May's description of the annual guga (gannet) hunt is fascinating both in its detail and in the light it sheds on the island community's strong attachment to its ancient traditions.

DS Fin Macleod is sent back to Lewis to investigate a murder that resembles one that took place earlier in his Edinburgh patch. Returning home after 20 years away, Fin is thrown into remembering and re-assessing his difficult childhood and adolescence. The book alternates between the present day and Fin's past and it gradually emerges that the shadow of that past may be involved in the current investigation.

At first, I found the alternation between the present and the past irritating as it seemed to break the flow of the story. However, as the links between the two became clearer, the tension gradually mounted and came finally to an unexpected and dramatic climax. Along the way, May describes a community more inclined to deal with problems internally rather than involving the authorities, a place where the young people are beginning to challenge the traditions and strict religious observances of their elders and where dark secrets can sometimes come back to haunt.

Not a traditional whodunit crime novel, this is more an examination of the why of the mystery and is ultimately perhaps more satisfying for that.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Depths 11 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback
I was after an easy read and bought this book as it appeared at face value to be a fairly simple whodunnit murder mystery. Not a bit of it. It worked for me on many levels. There is the murder and it's investigation, which drives the plot forward, but it's the skeleton that everything else is attached to. The central character, Fin is telling his own historical story and the author relates the present day action. This works pretty well, ensuring you don't go wrong as the story dovetails between the two. I was bitten by the descriptions of the island, even going as far as peering at Google Earth to enhance my understanding. (Wish I'd known Crobost was fictional beforehand though.)

The telling of Fin's early life and loves brought to mind Thomas Hardy, both in the style of May's writing and how his relationships seem doomed to complicated failures, the fault of Fin's flawed character as much as the other characters. You wonder if there's autobiographical elements here. There is a sense of foreboding that builds as the book progresses through the setbacks of Fin's life that gives the ending an unexpected feel. I would also agree May builds a real sense of claustophobia, no mean feat in the open, practically tree-less island with stunning beaches and wild but picturesque landscapes. Sub-plots include the changing ways of island life over a 30 year period, Fin's job and the annual controversial guga cull.

So did I get my easy read? Not as I thought. The book was much more involved and demanding that I anticipated. But it so easily draws you in and carries you along. Ultimately much more rewarding than a simple murder mystery. I like to read in the bath and a good judge of a book for me is how much I read at a time there. Cold water and prune-like skin became a problem.

I certainly recommend this book and will look forward eagerly to the next two.
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88 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark goings on, and some clever twists 26 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read several of the authors' previous works (from his two crime series The China Thrillers and the Enzo Files) so knew the kind of things to expect - or so I thought. But The Blackhouse is even better.

Peter May's great storytelling soon drags you in to a number of strands. On the face of it, The Blackhouse starts as a relatively simple murder mystery. But it soon becomes much more than that, a tale of rediscovery and childhood memories interspersed with some great descriptions of the harsh landscape and unique way of life of the islands. And the way the author handles the same character in the both present and the past is excellent. I don't usually like childhood growing up stories, but this one kept me gripped.

Typically, the plot is compelling. Right up until almost the last page, you are kept guessing - and wanting to know what will happen next. I read the book over 4 nights and on each the light didn't go out until after 1am. This book is very hard to put down!

Like the previous reviewer said, once it's over and the last page has been turned, you do keep on revisiting the story in your head. And wishing there was a bit more... because it's addictive. I've not actually been to the Outer Hebrides, but I certainly feel like I know the place now.

I understand there's likely to be a second book in the pipeline, so hopefully won't have to wait too long for my next fix.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Exciting Novel of The Year 17 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would have passed this book by but my daughter bought it and read it, she raved so much, I followed suit and read it. It was the most exciting novel I have read in ages, The plot and it's outcome was a page turner, it was book I didn't want to put down and the twist when it came, I did not forsee.

I had solved aspects of the story but not all of it and I love a book that can outwit me and The Blackhouse did. I loved it so much I could hardly wait for the follow up which was released recently and the tradition continues.

I would urge anyone to read this book, I cannot speak highly enough of the content. This is writing talent of the highest calibre. I loved it and as it's a trilogy there is more to come. A real whodunnit, with lots more besides. Peter May is an author I could come to perpetually praise, a gifted author who deserves acclaim. This book needs televising such is the mystery.

I dare you to solve it in it's entirety, that in itself is a challenge to read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
The way the author drip feeds you information until the picture is built up is very clever. I didn't want to put it down!
Published 13 hours ago by lynne wills
5.0 out of 5 stars lewis trilogy
Really enjoyed this book, although I had read the Lewis Man first. Look forward to others in the series. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Mary
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed this
Enjoyed this. Liked the movement from past to present. Description of the island and the weather was excellent. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Ann D
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
The background of Lewis was excellently portrayed both the scenery and the culture.The characters came alive.They could all be pictured easily. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Music Graduate
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Ubfortunately for me I read this book second and as such was a bit confusing but the story was good and the characters well developed. A good read for me/
Published 3 days ago by alex mcintyre
5.0 out of 5 stars A good tale
Good background for the trilogy but on the whole, a different style of murder/adventure. Excellent descriptions of the scenery with a tragic underlay as to the detective's life... Read more
Published 8 days ago by A. Roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Good read and well written recommend this series of books as they are easy reading for most tastes good stuff
Published 13 days ago by David Boyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent
I bought this because of reading reviews of the best sellers. This is without doubt the best book that I have read in the last ten years. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Greybeard
5.0 out of 5 stars A GRIPPING READ!
Peter May is a first rate novelist, and should use his skills beyond detective thrillers (although these are excellent). Read more
Published 15 days ago by Mr. Christopher A. Birt
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
My wife has read this and the second book in the trilogy. She said she enjoyed the second book, Lewis man more. Read more
Published 16 days ago by David Salway
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