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The Flood [Paperback]

Ian Rankin
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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The Flood The Flood 3.1 out of 5 stars (12)
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Book Description

9 Aug 2006

Mary Miller had always been an outcast. As a young girl she had fallen into the hot burn - a torrent of warm chemical run-off from the local coal mine. Fished out white-haired and half-dead, sympathy for her quickly faded when the young man who pushed her in died in a mining accident just two days later. From then on she was regarded with a mixture of suspicion and fascination by her God-fearing community.

Now, years later she is hardly less alone. She is the mother of a bastard

son, Sandy, and caught up in a faltering affair with a local teacher. Sandy,

meanwhile, has fallen in love with a strange homeless girl. The search for

happiness isn't easy. Both mother and son must face a dark secret from

their past, in the growing knowledge that their small dramas are being

played out against a much larger canvas, glimpsed only in symbols and

flickering images - of decay and regrowth, of fire and water - of the flood.

The Flood is both a coming-of-age novel and an amazing portrait of a

time and place. Dark, atmospheric and powerful, it is a remarkable debut

from a remarkable author.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New Ed edition (9 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752880942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752880945
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987, and the Rebus books are now translated into thirty-six languages and are bestsellers worldwide.

Ian Rankin has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow, and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award. He is the recipient of four Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. In 2004, Ian won America's celebrated Edgar Award for Resurrection Men. He has also been shortlisted for the Anthony Award in the USA, won Denmark's Palle Rosenkrantz Prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Noir and the Deutscher Krimipreis. Ian Rankin is also the recipient of honorary degrees from the universities of Abertay, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Hull and the Open University.

A contributor to BBC2's Newsnight Review, he also presented his own TV series, Ian Rankin's Evil Thoughts. Rankin is a number one bestseller in the UK and has received the OBE for services to literature, opting to receive the prize in his home city of Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner and two sons.

Here are the Inspector Rebus stories in series order:

Knots and Crosses
Hide and Seek
Tooth and Nail
Strip Jack
The Black Book
Mortal Causes
Let it Bleed
Black and Blue
The Hanging Garden
Dead Souls
Set in Darkness
The Falls
Resurrection Men
A Question of Blood
Fleshmarket Close
The Naming of the Dead
Exit Music

Short stories:
A Good Hanging - 12 Inspector Rebus mysteries
Beggars Banquet (non-Rebus short stories)

Here are the Jack Harvey novels in series order:

Witch Hunt
Bleeding Hearts
Blood Hunt

Product Description

Amazon Review

Is it a comforting or precarious feeling, being the UK's number one best-selling male crime writer? Only Ian Rankin could answer that, but it's clear that the author is not content to rest on his laurels, and is always prepared to reinvigorate his excellent Inspector Rebus novels whenever a sense of déjà vu starts to creep in. And now we have Rankin's The Flood, a reissue of his first, unremarked novel. Was Rankin wise to sanction the re-release of this early book? After all, when we were given the chance to read again all the novels of Martin Cruz Smith had written before his groundbreaking Gorky Park, it was a sobering experience -- as the latter novel was a quantum leap in achievement beyond the previous books. Not so with The Flood: while this darkly disquieting novel caused ripples on its first publication, its reappearance after 20 years is something of a cause for celebration. Rankin began the novel as a 25-year-old student, and its publication by a small university publishing house (with a modest print run) escaped any critical attention. It took the atmospheric and gritty Rebus novels for us to see just how talented Rankin was, and it's a fascinating experience to re-encounter this tyro work.

The Flood is not a crime novel. Mary Miller is an alienated young woman. As a child, she had had an accident involving a flood of chemical discharges from the local coal mine -- she had survived, badly injured, but sympathy for her plight evaporated when the man who was responsible for the accident met his death in a mining accident shortly after. The pious community she lives in views her with superstitious dread. Time passes, and she gives birth to an illegitimate son, Sandy. Her unsatisfactory love affair with a teacher is going nowhere, and her son has started a relationship with a homeless girl. But both Sandy and his mother have to confront the past, and both find their lives will be changed by elemental forces -- notably the flood of the title.

As the above conveys, this is sombre stuff, but that won't put off Rankin aficionados, who look for the dark and disturbing in his work. While the book is (inevitably) not as fully achieved as his later work, there are many fascinating pre-echoes of the off-kilter psychology that is Rankin’s stock-in-trade, and any rough edges of the narrative are more than offset by the power of the already highly individual vision on offer here. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


A must for lovers of Rankin (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Full of secrets and revelations, with an atmospheric sense of time and place, it has Rankin's signature darkness (CHOICE)

It wouldn't take a Rebus to sleuth out the telltale signs of a talent in the making (Chris Power THE TIMES) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual coming of age story 8 Oct 2008
Having now read a few of his Rebus novels, I picked this book up looking for something different by Ian Rankin. I wasn't disappointed.

The Flood is an unusual coming-of-age narrative that takes place in a small Scottish ex-mining community over two generations. It handles a range of themes including small town prejudice, alcholism, bigotry, incest, abuse, guilt and social isolation. It tracks two generations of a family from the 1970s to the present day as the social infrastructure of their surrounding community gradually disintegrates and self-destructs.

Mostly the narrative is taken from the view of a boy as he comes of age in a bigotted community that shuns his mother and questions his parenthood. This is a richly painted narrative full of sensitive insight and deep characterisation.

I won't say more - I found the novel moving and interesting. Although there is partial resolution at the end - one of the central mysteries is clarified - it does feel incomplete as if more is to come.

Nevertheless a very good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing tale 31 Jan 2010
This is the first of Rankin's novel and shows great promise. The story is dark and tense, the characters complex and the narrative engaging. The story is about finding one's place in the world and growing up. Superstition and suspense are well mixed to create a disturbing plot.

On the negative side, the plot felt forced at times and the novel itself could have been shortened; while reading the book, I often thought that omitting parts of it would have made it much better.

Overall, a good story with complex characters, nostaligic and dark.
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1.0 out of 5 stars pedestrian 15 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
slow! slow! slow! gave up in the end 2/3 of the way through the book kept on thinking some thing might happen.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Flood 22 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have now read all the Ian Rankin books and this is the only one that I really did not enjoy. I found it confusing and the ending quite unsatisfactory and inconclusive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars well pleased 11 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well pleased with this download. Read it twice while out in Africa.. I am pleasently suprised as i normally only read books and this kindle book is some thing new to me.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An early Rankin story 6 May 2012
This was Ian Rankin's first novel, before he embarked on the Rebus series. I found it to be a good read, which showed promise of the future novels from his more experienced pen.
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