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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb science fiction romance
The problem with science fiction is that if you let the science dominate, the book's a textbook, and if you don't deal with the science at all, it's a fantasy. Susan Price sidesteps the problem by picking a branch of science - time travel - which is theoretically possible but practically still fantasy. Like HG Wells and many other SF writers before her, she doesn't go...
Published on 2 July 2000

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
I bought this book after reading reviews on this page, but was very disappointed.

Expecting something special, instead I found bafflingly poor (and inconsistent) characterisation, ranging from a frankly unbelievable stereotype (Windsor) to an assembled-by-numbers heroine - while the description of the 'science' in this 'science fiction' book demonstrated the...
Published on 22 April 2010 by Enthusiast


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb science fiction romance, 2 July 2000
By A Customer
The problem with science fiction is that if you let the science dominate, the book's a textbook, and if you don't deal with the science at all, it's a fantasy. Susan Price sidesteps the problem by picking a branch of science - time travel - which is theoretically possible but practically still fantasy. Like HG Wells and many other SF writers before her, she doesn't go into too much detail about how the time machine works, but her descriptions of the giant jury-rigged breadboard assembly that only a technician could love certainly convinced me. The non-technical 21st-century characters in her book have as little understanding of how the thing works as their 16th-century counterparts, another nice touch of realism. We've yet to build a society where every single citizen understands all the available technology.
Her characters and plot are her main strength. She uses her strong sense of the physical to contrast the physical bleakness and human warmth of 16th-century life with the physical ease and emotional barrenness of the present and near future. Her future includes the unemployed and dispossessed as well as the technologically advanced, and she makes a good point about our idea of what makes for progress.
The love story is powerful and convincing, with both characters feeling all the real fears and worries of people from different cultures on the verge of committing themselves to each other. The minor characters are well drawn, given their own weight even if their role in the story is small. But the real strength of the book is that it brings home the problems as well as the possibilities of new technology, and shows that the fantasy of time travel, or any other huge technological leap forward, will bring its own difficulties. We can give ourselves more and more fnacy new toys; what makes the difference is how we play with them. In human terms, the 21st century turns out not to have 'progressed' quite as far as we might wish.
This is a book to enjoy, but it'll also make you think.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the Year, 6 Jan 2001
This review is from: The Sterkarm Handshake (Point) (Paperback)
This is a terrific book. I've never ever cared so much in my life about a character in a book as I did about Per Sterkarm (the May). I read the book in two sittings. I was also really impressed by the sheer force of the writing - especially her command of all the different ways in which the characters spoke - from Viking English to Management speak.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blinder!, 28 Mar 2001
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sterkarm Handshake (Point) (Paperback)
This book is terrific. Why is this woman stuck in the Children's Section. This writing is so adult. Strong images, dark vision and a sense of ruthlessness underlies the prose. It packs a real punch. The story is totally gripping and incredibly well told. The characters are convincingly drawn and the idea for the book is amazingly innovative. I love the mix of mythology, history and science fiction and yet the book is nothing if not down to earth. Bloody and brilliant. It took my breath away.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sterkarm Handshake is a great book but it has a poor ending, 22 Jun 1999
By A Customer
I think that 'Sterkarm Handshake' was a great book. It was interesting and exciting and had an imaginative and enthralling storyline. The author chose a strange storyline but it worked very well with her style of writing. Susan Price is an excellent author and I have read many of her novels before. This book is no exception. The only major fault is the fact that the author has not really spent enough time on thinking out the storyline. It can sometimes be a bit unrealistic, but then the whole idea of a 'time tube' is unrealistic in itself. I can't really explain what the individual problems are, but if you read it you will understand what I mean. I think that if the author had taken the time to iron out all the creases, the 'Sterkarm Handshake' would be even better than it already is. You get the impression that this book was rushed into print, but this only slightly tarnishes this otherwise enthralling ,captivating and very graphic book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exellent!, 21 Feb 2003
By A Customer
this book is the best thing i have read in quite a while. it tells the story of two extremely different cultures that are crossed using time travel. this book is more suited to oldder readers as there is a reasonable ammount of long words ... and some old english. i give it 5 stars as it is a gripping tale of how the 21C people have destroyed the earth and are looking for somewhere new to pollute. the Sterkarm people do not appreciate the destruction of what they call their land, but which actually the border between the England and Scotland. the villian of the story wants to turn the beautiful, unpolluted country side into a 21C holiday resort. this is a story of not knowing who to trust or where to turn to for one of the main characters, Andrea, as she has found a true love in the sterkarm tower. her orders, betray her friends in 16C england/scotland. her heart says don't!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, convincing and original., 7 July 2006
This review is from: The Sterkarm Handshake (Paperback)
It's so unusual to find a book that depicts both the present day and the past so effectively. The way Ms. Price manages to do this is by getting inside the heads of her characters, creating an authenticity rarely equalled elswhere. I found myself completely convinced by the ethos of the time, and the thought processes employed by those living in an age so different to our own. Thank goodness there's a sequel!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!, 28 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sterkarm Handshake (Point) (Paperback)
This book is one of the best books I have read this year. The characters are really believable and the way that a 16th centuary Sterkarm reacts to the 21st centuary is a very real reaction, and you can believe that any other person from the 16th centuary, who had the same beliefs as the Sterkarms would react in exactly the same way as Per does. The book is definately one of those that you just can't put down until you've finshed it. It is fast-paced and exciting and on top of all that, violent and romantic at the same time. The on-going love story is one of the best parts of the book. The ending is an unexpected one, but the only way that it really could end without the story seeming unrealistic, but although it makes sense it is very very sad and touching. I loved every word of it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read!, 10 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sterkarm Handshake (Point) (Paperback)
The Sterkarm Handshake is a hugely readable book.Its many ongoing stories make it very interesting.There are pieces of action, romance and history which fit together perfectly with an unexpected ending.Bringing in new characters at different points in the book keeps it alive.Although quite long,I couldn't put it down because of twists and turns in the story which make it surprising and interesting.The alternating chapters give you a taste of both ways of life.I would recommend it to readers 10+,but although it is classed as a childrens book,I think adults would really enjoy it too.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Reiver Writes, 20 Jan 2004
By 
Robert A Dodds (Cambridge United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sterkarm Handshake (Paperback)
This is a wonderful story, particularly for anyone who knows the wild land of the Cheviots and the border country. I would recommend The Steel Bonnets for extra reading on the bloody history of the area. I'm not sure if the Norse dialect is right and I'm sorry that it's written in modern spelling, not phonetically - if you didn't already know you'd miss the way 'skyr' is pronounced 'shear', just as we say it now. That's just a detail though. The subtlety of the narrative is remarkable, the way your feelings ebb and flow against and then with the Sterkarms (Armstrongs?) as you learn more about them and their lives. Fascinating. Makes me glad to be descended from borderers!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the Year, 6 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sterkarm Handshake (Point) (Paperback)
This is a terrific book. I've never ever cared so much in my life about a character in a book as I did about Per Sterkarm (the May). I read the book in two sittings. I was also really impressed by the sheer force of the writing - especially her command of all the different ways in which the characters spoke - from Viking English to Management speak.
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The Sterkarm Handshake (Point)
The Sterkarm Handshake (Point) by Susan Price (Paperback - 21 April 2000)
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