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The Visitors [Hardcover]

Simon Sylvester
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 11.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

5 Jun 2014

The island has always seemed such a safe place, such a friendly community. Now the possibility of a killer on Bancree is dangerously close to home.

Nobody moves to the remote Scottish island of Bancree, and few leave - but leaving is exactly what seventeen-year-old Flora intends to do. So when a mysterious man and his daughter move into isolated Dog Cottage, Flo is curious. What could have brought these strangers to the island? The man is seductively handsome but radiates menace; and there's something about his daughter Ailsa that Flo can't help but feel drawn towards.

People aren't only arriving on Bancree - they are disappearing too. Reports of missing islanders fill the press and unnerve the community. When a body washes ashore, suspicion turns to the strange newcomers on Dog Rock.

Convinced of their innocence, Flo is fiercely determined to protect her friend Ailsa. Could the answer to the disappearances, and to the pull of her own heart, lie out there, beyond the waves?

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (5 Jun 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1848663706
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848663701
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Sylvester is a writer, teacher and occasional filmmaker. He started writing in 2006, and his short stories have been published in Dark Mountain, Gutter, Smoke, [PANK], Fractured West and a host of other magazines. He is a slam-winning author of flash fiction, and has written more than 1,000 very short stories on Twitter. His first novel, The Visitors, is published by Quercus Books in 2014.

Simon lives in Cumbria with the painter Monica Metsers and their daughter Isadora. He is currently working on his second novel, which is called The Hollows.

Fun facts: Simon has been bitten by a poisonous spider, worked on a tall ship, and been a stand-in for Robbie Williams. He likes trees, climbing, bicycles and rum.

For information, news, events and more, visit

Product Description

About the Author

Simon Sylvester is a writer, teacher and occasional filmmaker. After working as a camera assistant and journalist, he began writing fiction and his short stories are published regularly in literary journals. Simon lives in Cumbria with his partner and their daughter Isadora.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories by and of the sea- A beautiful read. 14 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Scottish islands are remote, beautiful and a bit chilly, and The Visitors captures these qualities in every character and in every scene. When I finish reading a section, it's the ambiance and the light of the place that sticks with me for hours and days, and I had the most vivid dreams of my adult life on those nights where I put the book down too late into the evening. This atmosphere carries with it a shifting, changing nature, so every character seems like an ambiguous figure- look at them one way and they are like this, look at them the other and they are something quite different and unexpected. It takes the full length of the book to make sense of many ambiguities, while others remain unresolved past the finale.

At a straightforward level, this is a murder mystery. There are disappearing people, all sharing a certain isolation even in the context of an island community, and evidence begins to accumulate as the story unfolds. If that's how you like your fiction, you won't be disappointed, but you should be aware that while the mystery provides the bait, it is the other competing storylines that end up hooking you and drawing you in deeper. Beneath it all, this is a story about stories and their power over us, particularly when island lives are both precarious and still. As dark fantasies and preoccupations start to break the surface, the people must find something to achor themselves or risk getting swept away.

The pages are crammed with well-drawn characters, most notably the confused but resilient Flo. I've never been an 17 year old girl so cannot speak to her authenticity, but she appears to me as real as any character I've read. She is the embodiment of the island despite being determined to leave it behind her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 8 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Confident and assured from the first page to the last. Genuinely page-turning and haunting. Leads the reader down a twisting path with moments of real emotion and shock. This is a book which you will be thinking about long after you've finished it. The narrator has such an organic voice that it's difficult to believe this is only the author's debut novel. I look forward to reading many more from him in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerised 27 Jun 2014
A glorious, gripping, gorgeous book so soaked in atmosphere I was tempted to lick the pages to taste the scottish seasalt. There's a deeply satisfying mastery at the heart of the writing; the multitudinous elements are perfectly handled and weaved in with a real storyteller's skill. The plot follows Flo, endearingly awkward teenager on the cusp of adulthood and the threshold of a new life away from the wilds of the island of Bancree. She makes a friend of the newest arrivals; the mysterious Ailsa and her shadowed father, who've arrived in the midsts of strained times: people are missing, the residents are tense, and something lurks in the near future. Something not pretty.

The landscape of Bancree is searingly *there* and its fidgety environment looms over the narrative as the creep of doom and disaster closes in like the coldest of shadows. Ticks appear on necks, cormorants watch with their wings aloft, crows stalk abandoned rooms, and, swirling in ocean, mysterious seals bob above the surface and wait. For what? For everything.

Sylvester takes these gorgeous but threatening wilds and skilfully draws in the myth of the selkie - the half-seal, half-human mermaid-like creature of the North Sea. The myth becomes the heart of the novel and Sylvester is clever enough to realise that, like the selkies themselves, myths will not sit still. They will not behave, they will not be tucked into categories of 'good' or 'bad' - they will just exist and persist, like the sea: perpetually important, destructive and beautiful.

Assured and beautifully written, this is a fresh and exciting novel to get wholly lost in. Visit it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 3 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
well written. An easy, enjoyable read. Evocative of life on a Scottish island. The key characters are very well drawn, especially the teenage heroine. The selkie myth works well
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange and disturbing 20 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A book for those who, like me, are almost obsessed with the northern isles and the myths that surround them. Belief needs to be suspended but the magic of the selkie songs and stories is enough to keep the reader enthralled. A strange and disturbing book but well worth reading. I have just finished it at one o'clock in the morning. Sleep will not come easily now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary debut novel 23 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Prejudiced, of course. But this is a remarkable piece of writing which builds a genuinely original tale. Highly descriptive and evocative writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The visiters 20 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Brilliant book.wonderful story. Cleverly written. Kept me interested until the end. I was completely hooked and was left wanting more.
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