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The Thief of Time Hardcover – 6 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (6 Mar. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312354800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312354800
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,218,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. The winner of two Irish Book Awards, he is the author of eight novels for adults and four for younger readers, including the international bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which was made into a Miramax feature film and has sold more than six million copies worldwide. His novels are published in over forty-five languages. He lives in Dublin. www.johnboyne.com.

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Review

"An extraordinary debut" Sunday Express "A minor masterpiece" Time Out "Boyne should be congratulated for his spirited take on an old theme" Guardian "Boyne is a skilful storyteller, expertly weaving differing stories together" Sunday Tribune

Book Description

An ambitious, engaging first novel about a man who stops ageing --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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I don't die. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Walter Hypes on 30 Mar. 2007
Format: Hardcover
The poor Matthieu Zela is at his wits end. His twenty-two-year old nephew Tommy, a hugely popular English television celebrity, just can't look after himself, spending most of his days living on the edge, snorting cocaine and partying to all hours of the morning. Indeed Matthiew fears that Tommy may go the way of Tommy's ancestors, everyone one of whom has met with an unhappy ending.

Matthieu is all too familiar with the various generations of Thomas's as his lineage has always been troublesome. Born in 1743 in Paris, Matthieu seems to have always had a nephew tagging along beside him. Now over 250 years old, Matthieu is well aware of the winds of change, each era in history providing a window of learning for this talented media entrepreneur who over the centuries has courted the rich and famous and witnessed some of the most defining moments of three centuries.

In 1758 the fifteen-year-old Matthieu escapes Paris for Dover, after his stepfather horribly murders his mother. Matthieu takes his five-year-old brother Tomas and his older companion, the lovely Dominique Sauvet, a girl whom he meets on the voyage over. Many adventures await them, as Matthieu struggles to make a life for himself in this new country.

But the biggest surprise is that in 1793 the process begins which was to make him truly "a thief of time," and he stops the physical aspects of aging. At first Matthieu is shocked, but as he lives on, he realizes that this kind of enforced longevity perhaps isn't that bad after all. Life continually leads him in completely different and unexpected directions, and what could have begun to unravel, ends up in fact being a life well lived, filled with murder, betrayal, marriage and romance.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
Now don't get me wrong - i'm not saying anything against modern hi-tech whizz-bang post-modern storytelling, cut-ups and fold-overs and spiralling internal monologues, but occasionally, just sometimes, it's nice to read a well-thought-out, diligently researched tale that utilises some modern method (time-jumping for one) but otherwise could have come straight from Dickens or Scott at their most imaginative. "The Thief Of Time" will transport you into the mind of a 256-year-old who's seen-it done-it in ways that most contemporary heros can only dream about, and evokes various key points in his story beautifully. I would say that "i couldn't put it down", if that didn't sound too trite. A simple story from a clearly far from simple wordsmith. Congratulations Mr Boyne - i hope your publishers signed your next few tales up as well...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a truly imaginative read - a novel about a man who never dies, just carries on living, year after year, through the centuries. Rich in contrasts, the chapters swing between different eras; one of my favourites were the scenes where he moves to Hollywood and meets Charlie Chaplin, depicting him a cold womaniser off screen. The plot is fast-paced, combining numerous passionate affairs, not to mention the odd murder and chase sequence. This is literary fiction at its most accessible - a novel which you can read & enjoy on the train - but also an enthralling novel which makes you think. A great read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
At first glance, John Boyne The Thief of Time seems like a historical novel, but develops into a sort of high concept Jeffrey Archer yarn. That is meant without criticism however, because I really enjoyed the book, which I predict will gradually become a bestseller in the UK and Ireland. It is, simply, an imaginative and intelligent story, well told. In short, an undemanding novel about a chap who lives for 256 years or more, with a sharp line in social commentary.
I liked it and await a film based on the book. Enjoy!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "juliet_j" on 11 July 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a story about a man who lives for 256 years; the author narrates his personal history and that of a series of nephews. Due to the long lifetime of the main protaganist, several narrative lines are interwoven, giving the potential for suspense and even cliffhangers. The author concentrates on the lifestory of the protaganist, and the most memorable storylines are in the 'present' - ie 1999 and in the early parts of the protagonists lifetime.
I was moved by the vivid and lifelike portrayal of the 'terror' of the French revolution and also I was intrigued by the references to an anti-communist witch-hunt in the US, which I had not previously been aware of.
However, I did not find the book particularly enjoyable. Although the story-lines drew me at times, they were not the most fascinating I have encountered. I did not see much depth in the characterisation and I found seven generations of nephews too many to worry about.
I learnt by reading this book and I enjoyed parts of it but I would not particularly recommend reading it unless there is nothing else good to hand.
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By denhamdevil on 12 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What great value to get so cheaply a perfectly acceptable edition of a book I didn't know. Having started with 'Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' I'm working my way through all Mr Boyne's works which have all taken me by surprise. The unusual premise of this work kept me hooked. I hate paperbacks and really welcome the ability to find nice hardback copies of books I've missed. This was unputdownable if that's a word and happily leads me on to my next John Boyne, Next of Kin. One tiny cavil; I think you should say the source of the copy, particularly ex public library editions just soi we know what to expect.
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