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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Romantic Novel Set in 1940s and 1860s Liverpool
The Rescue Man by Anthony Quinn is a very well crafted and quite gripping love story. The book has a curious structure simultaneously working in the run up to the Second World War, with the main character Thomas Baines, and also in the Victorian period following the object of Baines interest an architect Peter Eames. Baines has been commissioned by a local publisher to...
Published on 13 Feb. 2009 by Dr. R. Brandon

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good history, bad novel
this would have been better as non-fiction. the author loves his architectural history, but his novel is leaden and unconvincing. it only springs to life in descriptions of the Blitz destroying buildings as the rescue men crawl thru them: the only exciting and believable bits. (the 1860s backstory, with its faux victorian language, may be completely skipped as it adds...
Published 17 months ago by Zangiku


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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Romantic Novel Set in 1940s and 1860s Liverpool, 13 Feb. 2009
By 
Dr. R. Brandon (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rescue Man (Hardcover)
The Rescue Man by Anthony Quinn is a very well crafted and quite gripping love story. The book has a curious structure simultaneously working in the run up to the Second World War, with the main character Thomas Baines, and also in the Victorian period following the object of Baines interest an architect Peter Eames. Baines has been commissioned by a local publisher to make an architectural record of significant buildings in Liverpool and it is this activity that awakens his interest in the seemingly tragic and forgotten disciple of Ruskin working in the city in the 1860s.
Quinn, a native of Liverpool, evokes very well the cityscape of the Liverpool of the two periods. His descriptions of the work of the Heavy Rescue Team during the Blitz of 1941 are exceptional and the characters are well drawn and very believable. The romantic element in the book, both 1940s and 1860s, is handled sensitively and is very convincing without being trite or hackneyed. This excellent and very well written novel will appeal equally to those looking for first rate romantic fiction reminiscent of Greene's 'The End of the Affair' and for those interested in the history and architecture, and deeply layered nature, of our everyday surroundings in our towns and cities. The book will have a particular attraction to any native of Liverpool current or exiled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, verging on great and this from a Yorkshireman with no love of Liverpool!, 14 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Rescue Man (Kindle Edition)
This is a difficult review to write as there was so much that I loved about this book. Perhaps I can best describe it as 'natural' which encompasses 'believable, easy to read, accurate, or even perhaps written from a diary'. The author, rather than just telling a story, gives his characters real opinions and puts much of himself in the book. Either he is an incredibly fine writer or he really does care about architecture, about Liverpool and history. The scenes of wartime rescue are poignant and convey a sense of realism -beautifully done.
Hence 5 stars. I thought about giving 4 because I feel he can do better and will emerge as a superior talent but already this is so much better than many other books out there that I will give the benefit of the doubt. Worth buying.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A slow burn but worth the wait, 26 May 2011
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This review is from: The Rescue Man (Paperback)
This is one of those novels which steals over you slowly, gradually entrancing you and trapping you in its narrative web. At first, the story of Tom Baines, an intellectual loner who doesn't really have a place in society, comes across as somewhat dull. But Baines grows on the reader, and when he falls for Bella you really feel for him. Also, you come to admire the courage and resilience of the men who worked in Heavy Rescue during WW2, a branch of service which has never been properly recognised by historians or the general public.

Counterpointing Baines's story is the tragedy of Peter Eames, an architect who was despised and vilified in his own lifetime, but whose work was later recognised as that of a genius. The two narratives - Baines's story and Eames's journals - sometimes sit awkwardly together and give the story a somewhat disjointed feeling, but by the end of the novel I could understand why the author had done it this way.

I did wonder why the author referred to some people by their surnames and some by their first names, and I would have preferred him to be consistent about this. It got annoying when he mixed them up all the time - Tim replied, Wallace sighed, Baines noticed, Jack nodded, Richard said, and so on. Why?

I enjoyed this book, I learned a lot about Liverpool both before and during WW2, and I'll certainly read Anthony Quinn's next novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good history, bad novel, 4 Nov. 2013
By 
Zangiku (Kyoto, Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rescue Man (Paperback)
this would have been better as non-fiction. the author loves his architectural history, but his novel is leaden and unconvincing. it only springs to life in descriptions of the Blitz destroying buildings as the rescue men crawl thru them: the only exciting and believable bits. (the 1860s backstory, with its faux victorian language, may be completely skipped as it adds nothing whatever to the whole and is in a typeface that can suck your eyes out.) i kept reading only for the history, which is great.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rescue Man, 13 Feb. 2009
By 
P. White (North west England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rescue Man (Hardcover)
This is an excellent debut novel which I think deserves wider readership than Liverpudlians. It is beautifully written with many strands of story cleverly interwoven and a very strong sense of place. At times I found it difficult to believe it was fiction.
I hope Anthony Quinn has a successful second career as a novelist, and I cannot wait until his next offering.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rescue Man, 12 July 2009
By 
Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rescue Man (Hardcover)
The Rescue Man of the title is Tom Baines, an introverted, self-contained architect whose passion is the history of the landmark buildings of his home city, Liverpool. His wartime story is interspersed with extracts from the Victorian diaries of another Liverpool architect, Peter Eames. The 1860s was a time when Liverpool was undergoing a building boom, in sharp contrast to the devastation which took place during WW2. At first Eames comes across as a light-hearted, confident man, but as his cutting-edge designs are pilloried in the press and his family life disintegrates, he becomes more and more morose until his diaries come to an abrupt halt shortly before his mysterious death.

Baines becomes obsessed with finding out more about this iconic but forgotten architect, but as war breaks out his knowledge of buildings and how they 'behave' is put to more practical use in his work as a rescue man. The horrific bombing of Liverpool's docks and architectural landmarks is vividly brought to life as Baines and his team put their lives at risk to rescue those trapped inside collapsing buildings.

For me, reading about the history of some of the buildings I pass on my way to work every day was fascinating and I could visualise Baines' journey as he walked through the streets. I'm not sure how interesting this would be to someone who is not familiar with the city, but I'd still recommend the book as it's very atmospheric and I'm sure the story of the rescue operations and Baines' tangled relationship with the husband and wife photographers will be enough to keep you turning the pages.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent story of love and war, 18 May 2010
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rescue Man (Paperback)
Anthony Quinn's debut is one of the best I read while judging an exceptionally strong shortlist for the Author's Club First Novel Award, and it won for a number of reasons. It's a superbly evocative portrait of a lost city, Liverpool, once an exquisite Georgian city built largely on the profits of the slave trade. It's hero Tom Baines is a man in his forties, emotionally and professionally adrift. Unable to commit to anything, either personal or professional, he is left looking in at life from the outside, with only his fascination for architecture to connect him. He is obsessed by an obscure Liverpudlian architect, Eames, and part of the novel's cleverness and assurance is that, like AN Wilson's Who Was Oswald Fish it it a double narrative which gradually reveals the genius mixed with tragedy of the past.

The Rescue Man opens on the eve of the Second World War. With uncertainty in the air as the world seems on the brink of disaster, Liverpool is a city tense in anticipation of the coming conflict. Baines is an architectural historian who gets commissioned to write a book about the glories of his city, a job that brings him into contact with an elegant and intriguing woman photographer - the wife of his most admired colleague in the Heavy Bomb Disposal unit, or the Rescue Men, retrieving the wounded and dying from bombed buildings. In wartime, ordinary rules are suspended, risks taken and Baines finds himself caught up in a love affair that can only lead to disaster.

The tone of the novel is that of a fully fledged writer, confident and mature, with an interest in character, memory, emotion and place that engages a reader from the start. As other reviewers have noted it has something of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair about it, but it's also an excellent addition to a growing body of fiction set in Liverpool from Beryl Bainbridge, Linda Grant and Barry Unsworth.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Rescue Man by Anthony Quinn, 15 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Rescue Man (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book, a little slow going at times but a very good insight into the city of Liverpool during WWII. It is also a story within a story focusing on a little remembered architect of the 1860 Peter Eames, which is fascinating.
Tom Baines an historian in Liverpool has been asked to write a book detailing the architectural past of the City and he is to include photographs of the buildings for posterity, through his work on the book he meets Richard and Bella Tanqueray which starts a very intense friendship between the three of them. It is a very unsure time of war when lives are lost and personal tragedy is all around. Poignant and heartwarming at the same time, to know people will fight back and survive no matter what! A very interesting read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rescue Man - An Excellent read, 26 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Rescue Man (Paperback)
Quinn's first novel was well-written and thoroughly enjoyable. Wonderful to read about Liverpool and a tribute to its collection of listed buildings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Liverpool Resurgam, 13 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Rescue Man (Kindle Edition)
Set mostly in Liverpool during WW2, this is an excellent demonstration of how to interweave several stories and historical backgrounds into a convincing narrative with a good plot. The descriptions of a city under a bombing campaign are finely written and the romantic thread, deftly drawn. All in all a very satisfying novel and constructed with architectural care, rather like the buildings in the sub-plot designed by the 19th century architect that provide an interesting parallel to the main story.
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The Rescue Man
The Rescue Man by Anthony Quinn (Paperback - 4 Feb. 2010)
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