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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a tour de force
This is a great read which presents an authentic portrait of my country. As someone who speaks 'hindoostanee' almost as well as Jeremiah Blake, I admired the accuracy of every detail in the book. It is a nuanced picture of India which underpins a great yarn told with skill and flair. A tour de force or as, Blake might have said, yeh kitab ek toofan hai.
Published 5 months ago by V. K. Borooah

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pacey adventure of derring-do but it limps home
1837: The East India Company is a vast trading operation that uses its powers as a quasi-military force to keep the vast indigenous population under its many-tentacled control. Avery is a young officer with a strong moral compass and he is a keen observer; his lowly position in 'the Company' allows him to be the detached onlooker and, as such, he is an engaging...
Published 4 months ago by Sue Kichenside


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a tour de force, 5 Mar 2014
By 
V. K. Borooah (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This is a great read which presents an authentic portrait of my country. As someone who speaks 'hindoostanee' almost as well as Jeremiah Blake, I admired the accuracy of every detail in the book. It is a nuanced picture of India which underpins a great yarn told with skill and flair. A tour de force or as, Blake might have said, yeh kitab ek toofan hai.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pacey adventure of derring-do but it limps home, 27 April 2014
By 
Sue Kichenside - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Strangler Vine (Hardcover)
1837: The East India Company is a vast trading operation that uses its powers as a quasi-military force to keep the vast indigenous population under its many-tentacled control. Avery is a young officer with a strong moral compass and he is a keen observer; his lowly position in 'the Company' allows him to be the detached onlooker and, as such, he is an engaging narrator.

The Company teams Avery up with undercover agent Blake, an older man whose best days, it would seem, are behind him. They are dispatched to find revered poet, Xavier Mountstuart, who has mysteriously disappeared in remote territory. Could Mountstuart have been kidnapped or even killed by a murderous bandit gang known as 'Thuggee'?

At first, The Strangler Vine is an entertaining well-paced read, fascinating in its description of the Indian hierarchy, imperial power politics and the sometimes beautiful, sometimes brutal landscape. However, as an ever-increasing number of duplicitous characters, murderous Thugs and blatant metaphors creep out of the 'jangal' undergrowth, the whole thing descends into pantomime heroics and villainy. The last third of the book is such implausible nonsense that I'm afraid I lost patience with it. Having said that, the first chapter of the next Avery adventure (to be found at the end of the book) does sound remarkably intriguing....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!, 22 Feb 2014
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I absolutely loved this book and await The Infidel Stain with eager anticipation. I'm very grateful to my Pilates teacher, whom I share with the author, for her recommendation otherwise I may never have known about The Strangler Vine which would have been my loss.
The writing is beautiful, the tale enthralling and the details so exacting that I then bought Fanny Parkes' book!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 27 Feb 2014
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Very different from my normal reading, hugely entertaining and very informative about an age gone by left me wanting more.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable historical tale, 30 Jan 2014
This was a very enjoyable tale of the pairing of an older experienced soldier and a younger man, new to India, and their mission together, hunting for Thuggees, taking part in tiger hunts, visiting Maharajas, forts and palaces. Vividly descriptive, extremely well written (sadly not all that common nowadays), and most notably I liked the use of accurate terms and phraseology of the time.

I will certainly look forward to reading more from this author.

Reviewed in exchange for a preview Kindle copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Strangler Vine, 9 Jun 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Strangler Vine (Hardcover)
This is not at all the type of novel I would normally be drawn to, but the storyline sounded highly intriguing, and I'm thoroughly glad I did read it, because I thought it was brilliant.

In Calcutta, September 1873 young William Avery, an Ensign in the army of the East India Company is sent to deliver a letter from the Company to Jeremiah Blake, an ex-Company man whose `native ways' have left him in some disfavour among many of the Company. Blake is an enigmatic and difficult man and Avery dislikes him on first meeting. But within a very short time Avery and Blake are thrown together by the Company, sending them out together to find Xavier Mountstuart, who has apparently gone into the "jangal" researching his next writing work, a poem about Thuggee.

The narration in this book is by Avery, a rather nave young man who finds himself on a journey he never contemplated taking with a man he cannot bring himself to like, and three natives - travelling hard and fast from Calcutta to Jubbulpore, their journey then veers off to Doora, under the rule of the Rao who the Company are keeping a close eye on, all the while still trying to find Mountstuart but being drawn into the politics and cultural unrest of nineteenth century India, struggling under famine and Company rule.

This is a great book; the narrative of Avery brings the uncertainty of his journey and his frame of mind to the fore, and this book turns from what could be a simple journey to find Mountstuart into a story where nobody quite knows who can be trusted, or what might happen next. The exotic surroundings and unfamiliar culture in which Avery finds himself are also exotic and unfamiliar to the reader (well, certainly to me) and this heightens the interest and excitement of the narrative as it races along to a well-formed and very satisfying conclusion. I am delighted that there is to be a sequel, The Infidel Stain, which I look forward to reading immensely. Great stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A strangely familiar journey to 19th century India, 23 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Strangler Vine (Hardcover)
This is not a bad book at all and worth a read - although I would get it on kindle or paperback. I love India and its fiction, but no point pretending, this book feels very heavily influenced by John Masters "The Deceivers" (which is outstanding), to the point where I felt frustrated with it. The book feels part action thriller, part historical memoir and part social commentary - and falls between all three, although there are some nice sequences where the tension gets ratcheted up and the humid oppressive decay of Calcutta is well presented at the beginning. If you haven't read a book on 19th century India, buy Masters instead. If you have then you will enjoy The Strangler Vine, but probably not been blown away by it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully evocative...., 2 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Strangler Vine (Hardcover)
I loved this book and disappointed that it had to come to an end. Previously I had no interest in the country or area, now I think I might further research the period and country. Loved the characters, particularly Blake. Pleased that this is not a one-off, looking forward to the sequel.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 27 Feb 2014
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A great read and impeccably researched, look forward to reading the The infidel Strain and hope there will be more.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 19 Feb 2014
I was so engrossed by this book that I could not put it down and read virtually none stop until I'd finished it.
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The Strangler Vine
The Strangler Vine by M. J. Carter (Hardcover - 30 Jan 2014)
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