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bluemonk59

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Take No Farewell
Take No Farewell
by Robert Goddard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars absorbing tale of betrayal and redemption, 4 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Take No Farewell (Paperback)
Although billed as a thriller / mystery, this novel is much more than that. The highly convoluted (but generally credible) plot is, in the end, just a hook to hang a powerful tale of betrayal and redemption on. Through a tale of murder most foul within a twisted family of crooked industrialists at the turn of the century and beyond, Goddard explores the way a weak man's life-changing decision can seem to poison everything that happens to him afterwards, until finally a chance to redeem himself comes along. The story works on many levels, is thought-provoking and believable, and the writing often elegaic. Difficult to fault.


Ultimatum: (Tina Boyd 6)
Ultimatum: (Tina Boyd 6)
by Simon Kernick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A clichéd pageturner, 4 Sept. 2013
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A fast-paced, but ultimately somewhat clichéd tale of serpentine right-wing terrorist plots in London. The inter-weaving of sub-plots is deftly handled and Kernick managed to keep me turning the pages to the end, but the characters are generally pretty one-dimensional and very hard to empathise with; the female cop anti-hero represents cardboard stereotyping at its worst. Fine, as long as you've got your critical faculties turned to mute.


The Devil's Queen
The Devil's Queen
by Jeanne Kalogridis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars enthralling picture of life in the French court c. 16th century, 21 April 2013
This review is from: The Devil's Queen (Paperback)
A great read, excellently paced and tautly written. There wasn't a weak moment in the book for me. Kalogridis expertly fleshes out the historical facts of Catherine de Medici's life to build up a convincing portrait of the person and the tensions and historical and personal crises she had to deal with.The writing is spare and unflowery and the author portrays the, generally thoroughly unloveable characters and their times very well. She pulls no punches and shows us the characters as the scheming, self-interested, power-seeking individuals they mostly likely were, which of course makes everything that much more believable. There's a definite sense throughout of de Medici as a chess master (or mistress) continually having to find the right strategem to survive and ensure her family's survival within the dangerous, poisoned atmosphere of the French court in the 1500's. Some of the best historical fiction I've read.


Mr Huda's Universal Curry Paste 170 g (Pack of 3)
Mr Huda's Universal Curry Paste 170 g (Pack of 3)
Offered by Spicewala
Price: £10.45

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 5 Mar. 2013
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It really does make your curries taste like you've spent years studying the art, and with so little effort! What more could you ask for?


Envoy, The
Envoy, The
by Edward Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed effort, 7 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Envoy, The (Paperback)
The premise and setting for this book were attractive. A portrait of US spies in a drab post-war Britain trying to undermine the UK's efforts to develop their own H bomb sounded potentially highly intriguing. Unfortunately, the author couldn't seem to make up his mind as to whether this was a work of fiction, a history text (it's full of factual historical 'asides' which can take up whole paragraphs and add little to the story), an anti-nuclear treatise, or biography (the insights into the Dulles' brothers personalities and their place in American policy were fascinating). As a novel, though, it did not work for me. The author veered too often from the storyline and the plotting and pacing were weak. Overall, the story lacked the drive and nuance that keep you turning the pages. It was not tautly written. In addition, the motives of the main characters were often not clear and the dialogue could be stilted and unrealistic. I stopped reading the book about a quarter of the way through, despite enjoying it in parts (but more because of what I learnt about the history of the period than as a story). I give it three stars because any attempt to produce an intelligent spy novel deserves support (there can't be enough of those!) and because of the well-done flashes of period setting, which I enjoyed.


Into the Darkest Corner
Into the Darkest Corner
by Elizabeth Haynes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars cold porridge, 15 Jan. 2012
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I couldn't get anywhere with this book, so I can't comment on what it's like as an overall experience. I bought it because of a number of good reviews, a very high rating on Amazon (something I'll be wary of in the future), and because the premise sounded intriguing. But I couldn't get beyond the first few pages. The prose was about as electric and satisfying as cold porridge. Definitely not one I'd recommend.


A Loyal Spy
A Loyal Spy
by Simon Conway
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars putdownable, 27 April 2011
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This review is from: A Loyal Spy (Paperback)
I'm afraid I couldn't finish this one. The generally good reviews suggested a different sort of spy novel, but in the end it felt like James Bond without the dry wit (or the dry martinis). The characters were thin, convincingly damaged, but thin and I quickly lost track of (and interest in) who they were and why they were there, what was driving them. The frequent switches in time and setting didn't help and I soon found myself skipping sections and less eager to pick the book up again. The settings were no doubt the type of place modern terrorists and their entourages hang around in, but without believable, well-developed characters to anchor the book they became a kaleidoscopic, ultimately wearisome background for an increasingly unbelievable plot to leave half of London underwater.


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