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The Madness of July
 
 

The Madness of July [Kindle Edition]

James Naughtie
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

'A sophisticated and hugely satisfying thriller that grips from the first page to the last. A tour de force' Kate Mosse.

'Good writing, vivid scene-setting and knowledgable descriptions from an insider at ease in the corridors of power' Literary Review.

'The book itself is tight lipped; the reader has to piece together a drip-feed of clues - and the process becomes addictive' The Independent.

'Fast-paced ... full of intriguing insights, from a man with 30 years' experience of the corridors of power' Daily Mail.

'Complex and psychologically detailed, I have seldom come across a novel so redolent of le Carré's milieu and technique ... an evocative and eloquent novel' Charles Cumming.

'A clever, intelligent story by someone who knows the territory intimately' Spectator.

'A slow-burning, cerebral and gripping thriller which fuses the entwined professions of politics and espionage' The Herald.

'A complex spy novel which comes with all the convincing insider knowledge you'd expect ... He has a gift for colourful images and smoke screen writing which sustains the tension' Independent on Sunday.

'A lot of fun ... Let's hope we hear more of Will Flemying' Evening Standard.

Book Description

A sophisticated spy thriller, set in the endgame of the Cold War, from Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 642 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (27 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FD3IT7U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,026 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Bookie TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
July 1976, it's scorching hot as Parliament winds down for summer recess. Deals are done in Committee rooms to ensure our elected best can scuttle off for their break. Then a body turns up in a cupboard. The deceased is American but who killed him and why?

The scene is set for a powerful and complex debut where James Naughtie dips into the dirty world of Westminster and spymasters. But it's much more than a spy thriller or murder mystery. There's intrigue around ambition, regardless of cost, where both political and personal loyalty is tested. There's treason at the top, family secrets are laid bare and there are certainly hints of the madness alluded to in the title.

This is very much a tale of watching and listening. Clues are dropped throughout the story, but so subtly that they're easy to miss. The oppressive and overpowering heat in London is captured to perfection adding to the claustrophobic and introspective investigations around the death. Manipulation, layers of deceit and secrets within secrets are the order of the day; where is the real seat of power?

A central character returns to Scotland for the weekend and the difference in the descriptive narrative is striking. The sweeping open air, dogs, moors etc were like taking a deep and refreshing breath before returning to the world of spooks and dirty tricks.

The characters, particularly the men, are well drawn. The dialogue is spot on. Mr Naughtie has captured the clipped speech style adopted by a particular type of politician. His depiction of what goes on behind closed doors is worryingly authentic. I found the first pages a little confusing, but suddenly it all slides into place and overall the pace is well balanced. It kept me engrossed and I'd certainly read further books by Mr Naughtie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "The Special Relationship" 2 April 2014
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Will Flemyng used to be a British Intelligence spy and is now a Minister in the Foreign Office. When the body of an American agent, presumed murdered, is discovered in the basement of the House of Commons with Flemyng's phone number in his pocket, the inevitable web of deceit threatens to unravel....and threatens....and threatens....and threatens...

James Naughtie is a published author but this is his first novel - and it shows. Although the writing itself is able, the portentous tone and ponderous shaping of the narrative is frustrating in the extreme. Remind me again what it is editors actually do for a living?

Beneath this long-winded story lies not only England's 'special relationship' with America but also Flemyng's special relationship with his two brothers and their special relationship with Scotland where James Naughtie's prose picks up and glimmers with a genuine tenderness. But otherwise, this tale is badly let down in the telling. There is a much quoted phrase in the book: "a surfeit of allies". I'm afraid this one left me feeling rather more of a foe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A good broadcaster has written a dull novel. 11 Aug 2014
By David
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A well-known broadcaster has written a novel and it’s not very good. It’s probably only the identity of the author that would make you want to read it; if you hadn’t heard of him you’d probably not bother. I wonder if the publishers would have bothered with it if the author were an unknown.

The root of the problem is that it’s just dull – too many characters, none of whom you care about, a strangely elliptical, sometimes incomprehensible, style of dialogue, a plot that doesn’t engage your attention enough to make you want to figure it out. I can’t see how Kate Mosse was left (according to the front cover) hugely satisfied, thrilled and gripped.

Of course, none of this detracts from my opinion of the author as a broadcaster.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Madness of July 20 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this book very difficult to get in to this book and in face have yet to finish it. I may try again as it sounds interesting, just too many characters to cope with.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unpickupable 8 May 2014
Format:Hardcover
I have never found it so hard to finish a book in my life.

I really wanted to like this book (mostly because I do like James Naughtie on R4's Today programme), but it was pompous hyperbole with zero thrill factor. It actually just made me cross that I was wasting my precious reading time on something so deeply unsatisfying. I wish I'd never been taught 'to finish what you start' and would strongly advise that you don't start. Getting to the end just isn't worth the effort.

Sorry Jim, still love listening to you though
though.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A web of intrigue... 31 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
"You looked puzzled, dear", she said. "I am dear", Will Flemying said to Francesca, his two-dimensional wife. "I'm half way through this book and still have no idea what's happening". Somewhere in the corridors of power the balloon had gone up, the horse had bolted through the stable door but the train had already left the station. There was a body. In the house. Will's political masters and rivals moved, like pieces on a chessboard. There were rumours - a sex scandal, political sinecures, the intrigue of political wonks.

Francesa frowned. "Who's it by?" Will held up the cover to reveal, to her at least, the name of the author. "Oh, him", she said. "Tell me what you have found out so far", she continued. "Is there any opera in it? Perhaps something about Scotland?"

"Funny you should say that", said Will. "You have an improbably glamorous job at the Royal Opera House. We've invited some American friends along - we need them onside. What are we seeing?" Francesca sighed. "Didn't Lucy, your assistant who I fancy but who fancies you tell you it's Eugene Onegin?" - "Ah, Russian", said Will. "Is that a clue?"

"No, dear" she said, "too obvious. Just one word though. Berlin". Streets where secrets lurked, where shadows fell, where people whispered in dark corners, where [get on with it, Ed].

Meanwhile, Munroe Flemying, Will's elder brother, solid as a Scottish mountain, was troubled. "I've found out a dark secret about our mother", he told his brothers. Babble, the family retainer in their home in the glens nodded sagely. He had known, but Babble hadn't blabbed. "Yeah", said Abel, the other brother - "it was...". He paused. "It's late, lets finish this discussion tomorrow".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
still haven't finished it...moved on but one day I'll try again
Published 1 month ago by roger freeston
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed this really well written book
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Linda Henderson
3.0 out of 5 stars OK if you have nothing else to read
Bought this after hearing an interview with the author on the radio. It was likened to a James Bond story. Well if you have a good imagination it is. Read more
Published 3 months ago by English enthusiast
2.0 out of 5 stars A Missed Opurtunity
The main thread of the narrative, is obscured at times by the number of characters, and their many intereactions. Complexity rules.
Published 4 months ago by Lewis Whiting
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for a first book, I guess
Naughtie has set this book pre-mobile phones, and the plotting is a little clunky - I get the feeling he wanted to make the chief proagonist a James Bond, but it doesn't quite work... Read more
Published 4 months ago by S. Eley
2.0 out of 5 stars Just couldn't get into it!
One of the very rare books I just couldn't get into and thus after a second start with it, I sadly gave up.
Published 4 months ago by Pamela Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
Different. New stage, new characters, not requiring 007, no enemies, allies, friends, speak the same language.
Family quarrel on the political sphere.
Great fun. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Megan Gracefield
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling
Loved this book. Had me caught up on the action from the second chapter as the first chPter set the scene.
Published 4 months ago by AB
2.0 out of 5 stars Madness of July
Didn't finish the book. Found the characters boring, and the plot did not ring true. Not my up of tea.
Published 5 months ago by Mavis Dean
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