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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Science, love, history and ghosts
I picked this up in the bookshop, having not heard of it or the author. And I loved it. The first chapter is one of the most gripping first chapters I have read and the author did well to hold my concentration for the entire book.

It is not a simple read, but the language is wonderful and the topic fascinating - basically it is about a current day love story...
Published on 12 Feb 2008 by JB Angel

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good not great
This has all the hallmarks of a great read for me - the mystery, the historical background, the intertwining of past and present, the scientific background and a different perspective on historical characters. I'm not overly struck on the supernatural, but it certainly wasn't a negative. However, whilst pleasantly enjoyable, it never really took off for me in the way...
Published on 29 Feb 2008 by Blencathra


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good not great, 29 Feb 2008
By 
Blencathra (West Yorkshire.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ghostwalk (Hardcover)
This has all the hallmarks of a great read for me - the mystery, the historical background, the intertwining of past and present, the scientific background and a different perspective on historical characters. I'm not overly struck on the supernatural, but it certainly wasn't a negative. However, whilst pleasantly enjoyable, it never really took off for me in the way that I had hoped and indeed expected after the opening chapter.

I thoroughly enjoyed the author's actual writing, occasional glitches that have been picked up by previous reviewers aside. It was the plotting and characterisation that didn't quite work for me. She tries to pack a lot in, but almost too much given the space, never really dealing with any of the themes in sufficient depth, never really developing the characters other than, perhaps, the main protagonist herself. As a result I reached the end still expecting things to develop, still waiting for that extra depth to give the novel real bite, but finding the ending all rather obvious and flat.

Interesting that at least one previous reviewer disliked the extracts from Elizabeth's books - they were the best parts to me, as they did go someway towards telling that part of the story in the very depth that was missing elsewhere.

This wasn't a bad book - indeed, surprisingly in the light of the above perhaps, I would say on balance that it was a good read. I just felt that this showed so much promise early on, that I had expected something great, and it just didn't live up to expectations. Keep the expectations low, and I suspect one will enjoy it enormously. It may sound awfully patronising given the author's credentials compared to mine, but it will be interesting to see how she develops.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Science, love, history and ghosts, 12 Feb 2008
By 
JB Angel (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ghostwalk (Paperback)
I picked this up in the bookshop, having not heard of it or the author. And I loved it. The first chapter is one of the most gripping first chapters I have read and the author did well to hold my concentration for the entire book.

It is not a simple read, but the language is wonderful and the topic fascinating - basically it is about a current day love story and Newton's fascinating with alchemy. Set in Cambridge it is evocative of the city and even though I have not visited the city for many years I could imagine myself back there.

This is one of those books that captures the imagination and asks many questions. If you liked The Conjuror's Bird and The Time Traveller's Wife then you will like this too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for relaxing, 9 Nov 2011
This review is from: Ghostwalk (Hardcover)
Personally, I enjoyed this book. While reading it I accepted the ghostly, suggestive shivers and it worked for me. I was irritated by Cameron, the lover, and slightly bored with the growing animal activist angle, but overall thought it pretty good. I also live near Cambridge and that certainly did add more interest. The historical facts were intriguing and it seems to me very clever to weave a fiction around them.

However ........the more time elapses since finishing it, the more holes I find! It says little of Newton's work - you don't learn much at all. Likely there are few records available at such detail as Stott wants so she didn't want to make that part up. Some of the characters, on balance, were frankly daft - you do have to suspend some disbelief. This was fine for me during the read but drawing back make it a less credible novel. And I'm afraid I was bored by the straight extracts of Elizabeth's book .....dull.

It's always a good idea to start the book with a low expectation: you are much more likely to be pleasantly surprised as there is less to satisfy!

So to sum up, it's not a rubbish work and is worth a read - imo :)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment, 18 Aug 2008
By 
Lady K "ladykylara" (West Country England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ghostwalk (Paperback)
Having read the first couple of reviews when this came up on my recommendations I was looking forward to this book with almost mouthwatering anticipation. What a let down it turned out to be. The prose is elegant and in some places very evocative of time and place- shame about the plot and characters. The main character, through whom everyone else is seen, seems to relish narrating in enigmatic half sentences. No one with whom she has contact seems quite real and several are obviously included only as plot devices to move things along without any real depth. I'm sure there will be plenty of people who will enjoy this literary mystery but for me it was empty of emotion and soulless- a metaphor for the characters perhaps or vice versa. Either way it left me frustrated and even rather bored with the whole thing by the end. Too contrived to be convincing, too self-consciously literary to have real depth it only gets three stars because I liked the the descriptive passages of Cambridge and the surrounding landscape very much.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It delivers., 1 April 2007
By 
Laura Dietz - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ghostwalk (Hardcover)
An intensely satisfying read - you wait a long time for a novel with the plot and the prose and the ideas at the same time. It feels like '50% extra FREE' whether you approach it as a literary novel or a mystery.

The task is huge. A murder mystery and love story unfold in tandem, shot through with meditations the nature of scientific inquiry, tangled with superstition in Newton's day and big business in ours. Alchemy, glassmaking and quantum physics sit alongside supernatural elements. With so many balls in the air I was ready to forgive a shaky resolution, but found instead a complete and surprising denouement.

What makes it work is authority. The voice has the conviction to sell an audacious plot, but also the brio of a writer carving out a new space. It has crime novel tension but skips most genre conventions - readers expecting the formulaic, or suspicious of elegant prose, will leave frustrated. Those up for something different will find a slightly decadent and thoroughly original treat.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars history never ends, 5 April 2007
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This review is from: Ghostwalk (Hardcover)
I thoroughly enjoyed Ghostwalk, and for the first time I didn't hesitate to finish a book. Normally I linger on and find excuses not to end books, as it feels like closing a door on a newly found friend or departing from a place just when I start to know my way around.

With Ghostwalk it feels like the novel never ended.

Living in Cambridge and cycling daily past these ancient buildings and around the streets and commons, I find that Rebecca Stott's novel continues to linger in my imagination.

In the same way that history never ends and we will only know a truth of the events in the news today, when our children's children are reading about them in the history books, the novel gives you a possible end, but leaves history to print its own accounts.

Ghostwalk is a very clever novel that takes the modern sense of conspiracies, weaves historical events, scientific knowledge and the presence of the past into a compelling story. What could be an awfully complicated and intellectual read is a wonderful journey into our possible entanglement with another dimension.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More miss than hit, 22 Jan 2008
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This review is from: Ghostwalk (Hardcover)
One reviewer described this novel as feeling as though the novel never ended. I would agree with them, but for the wrong reasons. The high praise of the reviews, and my love of non-genre novels, made me rush out to get this. But I'm afraid my enthusiasm rapidly waned. The progression of the story is painful, and the background of the central character is just not interesting enough to sustain belief (yet another feisty, independent woman entangled with a married man). I dragged myself half way through this story, before giving up. And to end with a bad pun, this was more Newt-off than Newt-on for me.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaks New Ground, 13 Oct 2008
By 
I. C. Mckay "Ian" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ghostwalk (Paperback)
This book breaks new ground in the development of novels. It has elements of historical research, a thriller, a love story, a whodunit, a science fiction and a ghost story, but it is not typical of any established genre. Its wide-ranging content, drawn from many different fields of intellectual endeavour make it something of an intellectual tour de force.

The story begins with the suspicious death of an author, Elizabeth, who leaves an unfinished book of research into the life of Isaac Newton. The main character, Lydia, takes up residence in Elizabeth's house and sets about completing the book for her. The rest of the book is narrated by Lydia, recounting disturbing discoveries, mysterious events and suspicious deaths, which appear to have sinister implications involving similar suspicious deaths in the 17th Century, and modern animal-rights terrorists.

Some of the narrative consists of Lydia's stream of consciousness, and is mostly written as if addressed to Elizabeth's son, Cameron. It becomes clear that she thinks about him constantly, wistfully, regretfully, as though addressing a deceased person. The story contains ambiguities, as does real life, and these make the story plausible at various levels of realism.

Subtle little doubts are sown here and there about Lydia's sanity, and yet the reader identifies with her in a powerful way. She is intelligent, courageous, resourceful, and honest about her own failings. She is the sort of person a sympathetic reader would fall in love with.

Despite the rich intellectual content, the book is written in a beautifully clear style of simple prose. Sir Edwin Gowers would have loved it. I certainly did.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfulfilled potential, 28 Sep 2008
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ghostwalk (Paperback)
The blurb of this novel makes it sound fascinating but I'm afraid that like some other reviewers here, having had my appetite well whetted I was left ultimately frustrated and disappointed.

With its plot strands of murder in the C17th and today, a love affair with a married man, alchemy, Newton, ghosts, animal liberation, strange graffiti etc etc there was just far too much going on, and it ended up being distracting rather than knitting together into a multi-stranded plot.

Lydia Brooke, the narrator, is a strange, cold, passionless character; an odd choice through whom to show us this world. And the second person manner of her narrative as if told to her married lover is intrusive, interrupting the flow rather than becoming the story. Far too often she/the author inserts irritating comments along the lines of 'little did I know then...' which just smacks of amateurism.

It was frustrating because the story had/has so much potential but it needs a good pruning by a ruthless editor to tighten it up and give it a much clearer focus. Stott probably had enough ideas here for five novels but has sadly crammed them all into this one and that just doesn't work.
A sadly wasted opportunity.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do you believe what you see?, 6 Jun 2008
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ghostwalk (Paperback)
This is about Lydia Brooke who is asked to ghost write the last chapters of her ex lover, Cameron's deceased mother, Elizabeth's book about Newton. Nothing apparently remiss about this but Lydia gets tangled up in lights, faces and murders from the seventeenth century as she tries to make sense of what Elizabeth had actually discovered about Newton and his rise to notoriety. However, are the events of the 21st century also related or just a re-enactment of years gone by?

The characters come alive as they weave their way through this apparent ghost walk, discovering that those that have left us behind still have so much to tell us. Lydia and Cameron's relationship is rekindled, but what is his secret and what is he really up to as a scientist.

There are many themes to this book and it is difficult to say which one comes through the strongest as they all have their place within. Is this a love story between two lost people, a murder mystery about deaths in the 21st and 17th century, animal liberation, alchemy or science? You have to read it to come to your own conclusion.

Rebecca Stott uses Lydia's voice to tell the story as if she is relating everything, including her innermost thoughts to Cameron. Weaved amongst this, is extracts from Elizabeth's book about Newton as well as other extracts from books relating to events around the seventeenth century. All a clever way of telling a story.

I learnt something with this book, to me Newton had something to do with an apple and gravity and alchemy was something from a Harry Potter novel. Persevere when it gets a bit too difficult to grasp and understand, it is well worth it in the end.
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Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott (Hardcover - 8 Mar 2007)
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