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The Chessmen (Lewis Trilogy 3) Paperback – 15 Aug 2013

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Frequently Bought Together

The Chessmen (Lewis Trilogy 3) + The Lewis Man: Book Two of the Lewis Trilogy + The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy
Price For All Three: £11.55

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (15 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085738225X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857382252
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,260 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Peter May is a writer I'd follow to the ends of the earth" New York Times

Peter May is the multi award-winning author of:

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

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


'Peter May is a writer I'd follow to the ends of the earth' New York Times.

From the Inside Flap

A new start has brought new optimism for Fin Macleod. Now permanently re-settled on his Hebridean childhood home of the Isle of Lewis, the ex-Detective Inspector has been employed by a local landowner to oversee security on his estate: ostensibly a simple task for a man of Fin's experience. When an investigation into illegal activity on the land brings Fin into contact with elusive local poacher and former school friend Whistler Macaskill, Fin is afforded an opportunity to connect with the happier days of his teenage years. But as Fin catches up with Whistler, the two witness a freak natural phenomenon - a 'Bog Burst' - which spontaneously drains a Lewis loch of its water, revealing a mud-encased light aircraft with a sickeningly familiar moniker on its side. Both men know what they will find inside - the body of friend and musician Roddy Mackenzie, whose flight disappeared more than seventeen years before. But when Whistler's face appears to register something other than shock at the sight of Roddy's remains, Fin feels an icy chill of apprehension. As he closes in on Whistler's secret, Fin is unprepared for how the truth about the past will alter the course of the future.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 143 people found the following review helpful By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This third part of Peter May's Lewis trilogy is stunningly good. As a long-standing enthusiast for May's work, I believe these three books are by far his best work, and this last one may even be the best of the three.

May's descriptive prose and sense of place are, as always, wonderful. The bleakness and yet beauty of this harsh weather-beaten landscape, the way of life and traditions of the islanders, the still strong grip of the ultra-conservative Church - all of these are woven seamlessly through the story. And the story once again is focused on shadows of the past coming back to haunt the present.

Roddy Mackenzie, an old friend of Fin's, has been presumed dead since his plane went missing 17 years ago but his body was never recovered. Until now...and with the discovery, old memories are dragged up, old friendships and enmities re-evaluated and old crimes lead to new ones. From the start, the landscape and weather of Lewis play a vital role in a story that feels as if it couldn't be set anywhere else. The story then cuts from past to present as Fin remembers his school and student days when he worked as a roadie for Roddy's band. Despite the different timelines and the fact that the book changes from first to third person and back, the story never loses momentum on its way to a climax that is as shocking as it is unexpected.

For anyone who is new to the series, I would urge you to read them in order starting with The Blackhouse, then The Lewis Man, since there are aspects of this book that could give away the plots of the previous ones.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Starfish57 on 13 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This last in the trilogy was a bit of a curate's egg, really. The first two books are a fair balance of mystery and back-story, with perhaps a little more emphasis on the protagonist's life story and motivations than is usual in most 'detective' novels than usual. This worked well for me, not only because it was heartening to read about a man in a, traditionally, 'tough-guy' vocation having emotional issues and experiencing fear without the author resorting to the usual sort of clipped, masculinist cliches in order to convey this, but also because of the descriptions of life on Lewis. Where this third falters a little, perhaps, is in the every-other-chapter approach to the past and the present. Switching between timelines is not of itself a fault in a novel; some books are constructed entirely around this. However, the pacing of this one is off to the point that when the reader gets to the alternate time line of the next chapter, the effect is not; 'Ooh, more information to shine light on what is happening and why it's happening - goody!', but rather; 'Oh no, not another flashback....get on with it!' The balance between back story and mystery is consequently, rather overthrown.

There are other issues, however, and that is that even though Scotland may have the highest murder rate in Europe, the body count is rather high and the events rather too coincidental to the hero's own life. I don't want to offer examples as these would effectively be spoilers, but really, the various denouments towards the end are just too much of a stretch.

In fairness, I should say that I have enjoyed Peter May's Lewis books overall, and that even with their flaws, would give the trilogy overall a 4 star rating, and recommend them to friends looking for an absorbing read.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Bookie TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a drop everything, settle down and immerse yourself book. It's like catching up with an old friend. I've been looking forward to The Chessmen for some months. It's been worth the wait, but having spent the day savouring every page, I'm sorry it's finished! I've read the first two in the trilogy and was keen to see where Fin McLeod went next. Each story works well as a standalone; there's enough backfill for each book to make sense. But to truly appreciate McLeod's psyche, know what makes him tick, to fully understand how early life events have shaped and developed him, they are best read in sequence. Each book is a whole, but also adds pieces to a larger picture.

In this outing, he's no longer a police officer. He returns to Lewis to work in the security business, employed to investigate lucrative poaching on a large estate. Characters from earlier books are back but from the outset its clear that Fin has largely laid to rest many of his personal ghosts. This story centres again, on friendships forged in childhood. But, as usual, there are secrets to be revealed. Trust and truth don't necessarily sit well together. Friends are not all they seem. McLeod is drawn into events dating back many years which influence both the present and future. Some chapters in his life are clearly closed, others open up, but is there a future? He remains inexorably drawn and now attached to his birthplace. Some ties, it seems are impossible to break.

Once again, Mr May has mixed all the right ingredients, in the right order to deliver an absolutely first rate crime thriller. The pace rarely slackens in a tightly wound plot. It kept me guessing, unsure where we were going next and who was implicated in some grisly events.
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