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41 Reviews
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So good I read it twice!
I LOVED this book! Who'd have thought that a story about an extinct bird, a 18th-century naturalist's mistress and an emotionally challenged contemporary detective could be so gripping?! The narratives alternate between the different times cleverly, sucking you in, then turning to a new chapter just as you feel you're getting somewhere and understanding the mystery a...
Published on 28 Mar 2006 by Rowie

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars For Possession's literature search, and a double love affair, substitute ornithology, environmental concerns and art
I did enjoy this book, though it many ways it seemed such a Possession `lift' though at a much more superficial level and the twists and turns of the search for the mysterious bird of Ulieta, and the interested parties and their game playing, stayed at an intellectual, rather than a visceral level, for this reader.

Plot, with no spoilers. Fitz, a previous...
Published 8 months ago by Lady Fancifull


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So good I read it twice!, 28 Mar 2006
By 
Rowie (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Paperback)
I LOVED this book! Who'd have thought that a story about an extinct bird, a 18th-century naturalist's mistress and an emotionally challenged contemporary detective could be so gripping?! The narratives alternate between the different times cleverly, sucking you in, then turning to a new chapter just as you feel you're getting somewhere and understanding the mystery a little bit more.
The themes are big - we're talking about Man's destruction of the natural world, the reasons why some species survive and others don't, creation myths - but at its heart is a love story, and one that'll have you hooked from start to finish.
Like all good books, it makes you feel AND think. It's a really good yarn. All I can say is read it, enjoy it, read it again!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An addictive and enjoyable read with a very clever story line, 28 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Paperback)
In essence, the story revolves around two interlinked tales, an historical love story and modern day thriller. For me the most successful part is the eighteenth century love story between the real Joseph Bank's and his unnamed mistress and the fate of a preserved specimen of a very rare bird, The Mysterious Bird of Ulieta. The narrative alternates between the different times cleverly. The emotionally challenged modern detective Fitz and his hunt for the bird lead him to having to decode the puzzle of the identity of the woman Banks loved - a woman who has disappeared from history as effectively as the specimen he is hunting. In doing so Fitz must face a demon or two of his own and resolve his feelings for Gaby and their past life. I loved this book I found the story plausible and the love story moving. Great stuff.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - Flits between to periods with ease, 12 Oct 2006
By 
This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Paperback)
I was drawn away from my usual read and did what they tell you never to do...I judged this book on its beautiful cover. The pages within are not disappointing either.

Martin Davies flits between the two periods of the story with gentle ease, which keeps you waiting for the emerging stories and characters, it is almost two novels in one and the way they interweave is fascinating.

And all because of a small, brown, quite unimpressive little stuffed bird, which vanished and the race for its discovery by the wealthy and the academics.

Just read and enjoy, it is a lovely book, suitable for both male and female readers, with not too much romance but just enough to keep it interesting.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The conjuror's bird - a review, 26 Mar 2006
By 
J. D. Naylor "jazzfan" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Paperback)
Despite the mixed reviews here i thoroughly enjoyed this book with it's interesting characters and well written storyline.The story is told as both an historical love story and modern day thriller with and the events of the older story (set in the 1700's) determining the outcome of the modern day thriller part of the novel.Where the author is clever is that as he tells both stories side by side in alternating chapters but keeps the reader one step behind in order to keep you guessing as to what happens next which in my opinion is what writing a good mystery/thriller is all about.All in all a well written and very entertaining page turner written in a simple but enjoyable style.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conjuror's Bird, 18 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Paperback)
Excellent book. Well researched and such an unusual "detective" story. Would appeal to a wide variety of readers - naturalists, historical fiction and detective story fans. Intreguing to the end
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just wonderful !, 10 Sep 2011
By 
Conchie (Dublin, Ireland.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Paperback)
I loved this book ! Both stories unfolded and interchanged with great ease. I loved the Joseph Banks/Mary Burnett storyline, what an amazing character Mary was. It was an education in itself to see how society's boundaries affected people's lives as they did in the 18th century. I could never quite understand if Joseph was single and Mary was single...why not marry !!! Whats stopping them. But the social constraints of course were rigidly in place. Joseph had a social standing far above Mary, and her family's history pretty much sealed her fate in that regard. In the modern storyline, I loved Fitz....and particularly loved the growing friendship between Fitz and Katya as they joined forces to search for the ulieta bird.

Two niggles stopped me giving five stars. In the midst of the two wonderfully unfolding stories and their intertwining connections.....I found myself irritated everytime our author dragged us into the congo to hear more about Fitz's mad grandfather's futile search for that flipping peacock !!! Who cares about that damn peacock ... get back to the story - I found myself screaming on many an occasion !!!.

Secondly, I found that the book came to a rather sudden almost anti-climactic end for my liking. As Mary was such an extraordinary character and truly the glue that held the entire thing together, I really would have liked to see Fitz and Katya continue their search just a little further and find Mary's grave. It would have been a fitting ending to have them lay some of her beloved forest flowers at her resting place.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Blend of Past and Present, 13 Feb 2008
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Hardcover)
Naturalist Joseph Banks became famous after voyaging with Captain Cook on his first voyage of discovery to the far side of the world. Banks had been fortunate to encounter many sights and sounds that no other Englishman had ever had the opportunity to see, but none of them had come close to capturing his imagination like the image of the elusive woman, a woman with the most striking green eyes, who haunted the woods close to his home.

A couple of hundred years later a man stumbles on an old portrait of a young woman with alarmingly striking eyes, but who is she.

John Fitzgerald the discoverer of the portrait, has lost too much, the brash assertiveness of his youth. The belief that one day he was bound to make a name for himself and the love of his life, Gabby. But an unexpected call from his lost love brings it all rushing back to him and also embroils him in a mystery that repels and fascinates him at one and the same time.

Now he is in a desperate race to solve the puzzle of the Conjuror's Bird. And the woman in the portrait could provide the key.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 24 May 2007
By 
G. Burgess "Rights of Man" (West Sussex UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Paperback)
Fantastic book which I read in under a day. Excellent blending of the past and the modern, the two stories running in parallel. The outcome is not obvious early on although there are plenty of clues to lead you in the right direction. Having no interest in ornithology or insects etc I still found the pursuit of the Mysterious Bird of Ulieta a great read and this book is stronly recommended. I though its style very like early Robert Goddard and recommend anyone who like this to read Past Caring and Pale Battalions.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Theme, 30 May 2007
This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Paperback)
This novel has a refreshingly different theme. Using the real life explorations of Captain Cook, and James Banks naturalist a tale is told of the mysterious bird of Ulieta. A painting of which is in The Natural History Museum in London. Two interlinking stories, one period, one present day using known facts are weaved into a novel that is part mystery, part romance and gripping throughout.

I am glad that I decided to read this as I enjoyed it much more than I expected to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it fiction or non-fiction, 11 Sep 2012
By 
Janie U (Kings Cliffe, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Conjuror's Bird (Paperback)
A modern day professor sets out on a journey to look for a specimen of an extinct bird which was only ever spotted once, on Captain Cooks second voyage. Alternating chapters refer back to Joseph Banks, who was the naturalist on the first of Cooks trips.
On page 1 the story is interesting and enticing. Fitz is immediately created as an intriguing character who gives off an aura of curiosity - why is he doing what he does? - there is an urge to know more about him.
The format is a familiar one - with a story in the present and one in the past starting in 1768, the year of Captain Cooks first journey.
Different fonts are used for each period (in the copy I had anyway) which is very effective in splitting the tales. They are also written in very diffent writing styles, one a direct first person and the other a more wordy descriptive narrative. There are many books which use this format and it is easy to get tired of it, don't let this put you off this book as this is a very good example and works well.
Time periods alternate in fairly short chapters which often end with an unfinished detail, making sure that there is a link to keep the reader hooked in.
The modern day story reads like a traditional mystery with more than a hint of a race against time as the various parties compete to find the bird. As they struggle, the reader gradually has the eighteenth century tale revealed chapter by chapter.
Occasionally the twists and turns in the modern mystery feel too coincidental but overall the plot works very well and the story of Joseph Banks is written beautifully throughout.
Loved reading this book.
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The Conjuror's Bird
The Conjuror's Bird by Martin Davies (Paperback - 21 Sep 2006)
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