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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling at its' best!
What a superb book, I can't remember the last time an author quite captures the atmosphere of Victorian England as well. The story of Colonel Samuel Colt opening a factory in Pimlico in London and his endeavours to establish the Colt revolver as the weapon of choice for the British Army is simply incredible. The Crimean War is also in the background less than in "The...
Published on 2 July 2010 by Nicholas Peacock MA

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is THE way to absorb history
The inspiration for this historical novel is the Colt weapons factory, which actually did exist on the banks of the Thames in London in the 1850s.

Colonel Samuel Colt was an American gun manufacturer who established a factory in London. When Matthew Plampin learned of this, he became fascinated by both the factory and its owner - the bombastic Colonel Samuel...
Published on 1 Mar 2011 by Scholastica


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling at its' best!, 2 July 2010
By 
Nicholas Peacock MA (ConnahsQuay, Flintshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gun-Maker's Gift (Hardcover)
What a superb book, I can't remember the last time an author quite captures the atmosphere of Victorian England as well. The story of Colonel Samuel Colt opening a factory in Pimlico in London and his endeavours to establish the Colt revolver as the weapon of choice for the British Army is simply incredible. The Crimean War is also in the background less than in "The Street Philosopher" but overall a super book. More of the same please!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling story, 2 May 2010
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This review is from: The Gun-Maker's Gift (Hardcover)
Having read Matthew Plampin's first novel, I eagerly awaited this one & have not been disappointed.The synopsis of the story has been stated in earlier reviews,but I wanted to add that I feel there is a real depth to the characters & one cares what happens to them.The larger than life Colonel Sam Colt could be pictured clearly.The fact that there was a Colt factory in London was a revelation to me & the research into the life & times as lived by the characters is faultless.I like the fact that he imparts a great deal of knowledge without patronising the reader,& has given this reader a taste for exploring more historical novels.Bring on the next one Matthew Plampin, lets have more plot,murders & a bit of political intrigue.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read, 15 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Gun-Maker's Gift (Hardcover)
In his second novel Matthew Plampin delivers another gripping story packed with interesting characters. The historical detail is once again there in exactly the right measures to allow the reader to imagine the scene in 1853 but does not take away from the intriguing story of romance, secret plots and even murder. The characters are believable and well described with the story evolving at a good pace right to the last page. A very enjoyable book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is THE way to absorb history, 1 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Devil's Acre (Paperback)
The inspiration for this historical novel is the Colt weapons factory, which actually did exist on the banks of the Thames in London in the 1850s.

Colonel Samuel Colt was an American gun manufacturer who established a factory in London. When Matthew Plampin learned of this, he became fascinated by both the factory and its owner - the bombastic Colonel Samuel Colt - great scope, indeed, to imagine all sorts of intrigues, illicit dealings and sabotage by London rivals who resented the presence of the American. And this is what we read about in 'The Devil's Acre'.

Did I enjoy this book? Yes, enough that I read it to the end but not enough that I would recommend it to a friend. Maybe I've become a mystery junkie, needing some suspense to drive the plot and this was notably absent. Also, there was a large cast of characters and the point of view switched quite frequently from character to character. I found myself rereading sentences rather more often than I liked.

On the plus side, I loved the historical detail - this is the way to absorb history. What was it like to be an American in London in 1850? How did people respond to Americans in London? What was the political situation? What were the Irish doing in London in 1850? Who were the Molly MacGuires? Of course, Matthew Plampin cannot give us definitive answers, but in exploring through fiction, we find things out that we didn't know before and I really enjoyed this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Devil's Acre, 22 Jun 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Devil's Acre (Paperback)
I read Illumination by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it, so was glad to see this offering. Set in London in 1853, where American entrepreneur Colonel Samuel Colt sets up a state-of-the-art weapons factory to turn out his famous revolvers by the thousands. The story turns around Colt's ambitions to set up a factory churning out guns for the British Army, and others who see the opportunity to use Colt's factory for their own nefarious purposes against the Government.

I did not enjoy this book as much as I did Illumination. It took an historical episode and wove a story around it, but I found the characters generally flat and unconvincing. The story made too little of Edward Lowry and too much of Caroline and some of the Irish characters. I did not find them to be fully drawn characters about whom I could really care what happened to them. Unfortunately, the experience of this book was not as satisfying for me as I had found in reading Illumination. A pity, but I shall definitely look for more of the author's works. One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great way to learn some history, 12 Feb 2012
By 
Janie U (Kings Cliffe, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Devil's Acre (Kindle Edition)
This story follows Samuel Colt who comes to London from US to set up a factory in the early 1850s. You will find out about his attempts to sell his newly invented revolver to the UK military.
The characters are all introduced within the first few chapters and are immediately recognisable as strong characters which have plenty of room for development. There is a large factual element to the book but several of the main people have been invented to fill in the gaps in the story which have not been recorded. I read the book with a pc to hand so that I could get some background as I went along. The story is very interesting and manages to cover Victorian politics, harsh living conditions and the massive progression of the industrial revolution all in one book.
Language used is appropriate to the period and it is worth reading the book slowly in order to soak up the slightly unfamiliar words and soak up the atmosphere.
A good combination of factual information and exciting dramatisation gives a book which is recommended. You will need to have an interest In history but,if you have, then you will enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener, 27 Oct 2010
By 
Mike Davey (St Georges, Telford) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Devil's Acre (Paperback)
I found this novel a real eye opener since I knew very little about Colonel Colt, especially the fact that he even set up a works in London. Unlike 'The Interpretation of Murder' (not by the same author) but also including real characters I found that this novel is very successful. The strands of the plot are well tied together with excellent period detail and dialogue. A fine example of a genuine literary novel and actually one that I will re-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 6 Oct 2010
By 
David Bradshaw "hassleddad" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Devil's Acre (Paperback)
I found this an enjoyable read, especially as I live fairly close to where much of the action takes place. Normally historical novels are not my chosen reading, but other people's reviews persuaded me and I was not disappointed. In fact, I'd almost say this is a historical novel for people who aren't fans of historical novels!

One point to note is that there are quite a number of characters (and sometimes the author swaps between using the first name and surname), and if you don't have a great memory for names, you'll need to make yourself a cheat-sheet, at least until you get well into the book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 4 Feb 2011
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This review is from: The Devil's Acre (Paperback)
I thought this was well written with a good pace and like the way the historical characters inter-played with the fictional ones. All in all, a good read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 4 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Devil's Acre (Paperback)
I have just read this book for the second time and it is even better re visited!
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