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The Lewis Man: Book Two of the Lewis Trilogy [Kindle Edition]

Peter May
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,692 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description


An unidentified corpse is recovered from a Lewis peat bog; the only clue to its identity being a DNA sibling match to a local farmer.


But this islander, Tormod Macdonald - now an elderly man suffering from dementia - has always claimed to be an only child.


When Tormod's family approach Fin Macleod for help, Fin feels duty-bound to solve the mystery.

Books In This Series (2 Books)
Complete Series

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    Product Description


    'In mood and texture, Peter May's novels [...] are essentially Nordic, and he bears comparison with some of the best writers from those cold desolate climes' The Times.

    'as good as its superb predecessor, The Blackhouse' Guardian.

    'The depiction of the island atmosphere is as impressive as the action' The Sunday Telegraph.

    'instantly struck by the beauty of the descriptions of the wild island terrain as well as by the roundedness and complexity of the characterisations' The Times.

    'powerful and authentic' Glasgow Sunday Herald.

    'The Lewis Man shone like a bright star out of this year's book lists. Lyrical, empathetic and moving' Alex Gray.

    'Dark, exciting and atmospheric ... it even surpasses the first tale' Scotland on Sunday.

    From the Inside Flap

    A perfectly preserved body is recovered from a peat bog on the Isle of Lewis. The male Caucasian corpse - marked by several horrific stab wounds - is initially believed by its finders to be over two-thousand years old. Until they spot the Elvis tattoo on his right arm. The body, it transpires, is not evidence of an ancient ritual killing, but of a murder committed during the latter half of the twentieth century. Meanwhile, Fin Macleod has returned to the island of his birth. Having left his wife, his life in Edinburgh and his career in the police force, the former Detective Inspector is intent on repairing past relationships and restoring his parents' derelict croft. But when DNA tests flag a familial match between the bog body and the father of Fin's childhood sweetheart, Marsaili Macdonald, Fin finds his homecoming more turbulent than expected. Tormod Macdonald, now an elderly man in the grip of dementia, had always claimed to be an only child without close family. A lie that, Fin will soon discover, Tormod has had very good reason to hide behind.

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 1091 KB
    • Print Length: 386 pages
    • Publisher: Quercus (22 Dec. 2011)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0857382209
    • ISBN-13: 978-0857382207
    • ASIN: B006TLAZMW
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,692 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,650 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    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.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    218 of 225 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The past casts long shadows... 1 Jan. 2012
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    With this second part of his Lewis trilogy (the first being The Blackhouse), Peter May has again shown that he is up there in the top rank of the current crop of Scottish crime writers.

    When a preserved body is discovered in a peat bog, DNA testing shows that the victim is related to Tormod Macdonald, the father of Marsaili, Fin Macleod's childhood love. Fin has now left the police force in Edinburgh and returned to Lewis to restore his parents' house and soon gets sucked into the investigation. Tormod is suffering from dementia and although he still has flashes of memory about the events of his youth he is unable to tell the story of what happened in words. However, the reader is allowed into Tormod's mind and through a combination of his fragmentary recollections and Fin's investigations a grim and moving picture gradually develops of Tormod's childhood experiences first in an orphanage and then shipped as a 'homer' to a family in the islands. May's story-telling skills bring this shameful and little known part of Scotland's recent past vividly to life. And again, as in the first novel in the series, the long shadows of the past loom threateningly over the present day.

    As always, May's research is meticulous and the picture he creates has an air of complete authenticity. For me, the Lewis novels are shaping up to be his best - it seems he has an affinity with the life and natural world of the islands which makes his descriptive writing compelling. His recurring characters are likeable and their story is further developed in this book. May's handling of Tormod's difficult childhood and present dementia is sensitive and sympathetic.
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    53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    I loved The Blackhouse, first book in the series. But I did wonder how the compelling past/present intertwining of the main character's story could be continued in the sequel.

    Let me tell you, it can - and how. The Lewis Man is even better than the first book. A very poignant story, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing (and guessing wrong). A fascinating insight into the mind as we grow older and the tolerance required of those around us as we age. A cracking yarn. An involving murder mystery. Events you can believe in, happening to characters you actually care about. (I believe I may even have shed a little tear at one point. Unless it was just something in my eye).

    Not for nothing does this book claim its rightful place in 2012's top 10 best selling hardback works of fiction. Buy it, read it. Buy and read the first one too. And when they both finally fall from your numb fingers (because you REALLY won't be able to put either of them down), hopefully it will only be a short wait for The Chess Men, the final of the series.

    (Oh, and if you've just been introduced to Peter May by this series, you might like to check out his Enzo Files books and China thrillers too.)
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    81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars moving and haunting - not (just) a thriller 22 Jan. 2012
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    This is a total surprise. It starts out a mystery story, it soon becomes a search to identify who perpetrated a murder from half a century ago, and it's at times over-decorated with passages of scenic description. None of these features are the point, and it's unexpectedly moving for quite different reasons.

    Running throughout are retrospect chapters, the unspoken silent reminiscences of an elderly man, father of the detective's childhood sweetheart. He is connected, so DNA tests have established, to the body of a murdered man found preserved in a bog. Is he the killer? Or rather, was he the killer? Now he's suffering from dementia and can barely communicate.

    What's remarkable is the extent to which this man is shown to think and to feel, and how he does in his way connect to his immediate world, even while unable to communicate that connection. He feels pain, hurt, pleasure, joy. And all this is rendered simply, cleanly, in prose of total plainness, nothing fancy, and is extraordinarily moving because it stays so plain. Usually it's been film that's given us portraits of the incapacities that can accompany degeneration of the mind - "Iris", for instance, gave us a visual portrait of Iris Murdoch in her last years that was a heart-breaking contrast with how she once had been. What's moving here, though, is something more: Peter May's Lewis Man is still lucid in his thoughts and his recollections while clumsy and helpless as he tries to communicate to the world he inhabits, to the point of unwittingly alienating his wife and many of the well-meaning people who attempt to care for him. It's very Scottish, this capacity to make words and feelings so moving by dint of not exaggerating and not decorating, and opting instead for what appears unemotional plainness.
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    23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
    By Maxine Clarke VINE VOICE
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    Some months after the end of The Blackhouse, Finn MacLeod is winding up his life in Edinburgh - his marriage, his job as a police detective - and returns to his emotional home, the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. He plans to restore his parents' derelict croft house while living in a tent - pretty brave, considering the Scottish island climate.

    Before getting very far in his task, Finn becomes embroiled in a murder case. The body of a man has been found buried in a peat bog. The victim has been killed, probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Finn is consulted by George Gunn, the constable on the island who worked with him on a previous case - the two men hope to find the victim's identity, and hence solve the crime, before specialist reinforcements arrive from the mainland and take over. At first, the task seems relatively simple, because a DNA test reveals that the victim is related to Tormond MacDonald, the father of Finn's childhood sweetheart Marsaili. (That's three coincidences so far, as Tormond was the only man on the island who did not request his DNA sample to be destroyed after the collection made in The Blackhouse.)

    Finn cannot make progress, though, because the old man has dementia and is degenerating rapidly. Finn's gentle questioning of him throws up some clues, but not many. The author depicts Tormond very movingly, in particular his fractured internal life, in which past and present are confused. Something about Finn and Marsaili's enquiries triggers the old man's memories, and for much of the book we learn of his childhood. These sections of the book require the reader to suspend belief in the set-up in order to enjoy them, as they are written as if by an articulate, logical person and not convincing as a first-person narrative.
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