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101 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Sins Have Long Shadows...
Robert Goddard has had his ups and downs in recent years, and it might have seemed that his touch had lost its magic. His most recent three novels before Fault Line were, in my opinion, poor, okay and indifferent, in that order. Fortunately, this shallow and fallow period seems to be over.

The main thing in favour of Fault Line is that the leading character...
Published on 2 April 2012 by Ian Payn

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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, poor plot
Fault Line goes back to a tragic episode that destroyed the Wrens, a wealthy Cornish mining family, in the 1960s. The main character, Jonathan Kellaway gets caught up in the subsequent history of the the Wren family and the long reaching consequences of the tragedy. Robert Goddard's writing is of a very high standard and I enjoyed reading large parts of this book, despite...
Published on 7 April 2012 by Wriggler


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101 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Sins Have Long Shadows..., 2 April 2012
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This review is from: Fault Line (Hardcover)
Robert Goddard has had his ups and downs in recent years, and it might have seemed that his touch had lost its magic. His most recent three novels before Fault Line were, in my opinion, poor, okay and indifferent, in that order. Fortunately, this shallow and fallow period seems to be over.

The main thing in favour of Fault Line is that the leading character doesn't do anything stupid: normally these days in a Goddard book one is used to the hero saying "yes" when he should say "no" in chapter one, leading to three hundred pages of implausibility. Not this time.

Told in flashback, we learn how our hero, from his youth in St. Austell, Cornwall (this reader's least favourite town in England) finds himself drawn into the ins and outs of a wealthy family because a) he fancies the daughter and b) he tries to do the right thing. The results are unpredictable, varying from disastrous to very disastrous. This is perhaps the most corpse-strewn of Goddard's novels, with barely any character left standing at the final curtain (to be fair, a few die of old age, but not that many). It's not a gore-fest, however, and it was only after reading that one realised quite how many of the cast list had copped it!

Spanning forty-years or more, no matter where the story goes (Capri, USA, with fascists, opera singers, the China Clay industry and student riots all in the mix) it all comes back to one incident years before in St. Austell. "Old sins have long shadows", as Agatha Christie was fond of quoting. Well, they certainly do with Robert Goddard. Back on form. With a vengance. Literally.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars predictable but enjoyable, 22 July 2012
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This review is from: Fault Line (Kindle Edition)
I've now read all 23 of Robert Goddard's books and enjoyed them all. It's true he's lost his sharp edge since the days of Caught in the Light and Set in Stone, with fewer convoluted plot twists and emotional roller coaster rides. In fact, in Fault Line there don't seem to be any twists at all, and it's all rather predictable - which, as someone who enjoys a good plot twist, leaves me feeling rather short changed (hence only 4 stars). That said, with Goddard's unmistakeable philosophical style and the rather glamorous setting on Capri, it still makes for a highly entertaining page-turner. A word of warning though: if you're searching for Robert Goddard's books under name of author, check carefully you've got the right Robert Goddard; there are two authors with the same name.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Return to Form - Almost, 21 April 2012
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This review is from: Fault Line (Hardcover)
Goddard's previous book, Blood Count, marked a low point in his writing, with a idiotically gullible hero and a dreadful ending. So it was with some trepidation that I bought his latest work, Fault Line. This was going to be make or break for me - another dud and I'd give up on Goddard, despite having read all his novels so far.

Well I finished the novel this evening after a marathon few days' reading. In many ways, it felt like a return to form. As ever, we have a likeable hero who must delve into the past to find answers to solve a seemingly uncrackable conundrum. As usual, there are a number of fatalities along the way!

I'm not going to give a plot synopsis - Amazon can provide that. But for Goddard fans, I hope my comments will help you decide whether to buy this book.

Is it me, or does Goddard return to Cornwall often? I don't particularly mind this and I recall more than one that I've really enjoyed. But a part of me thought "oh no here we go again". Our hero, Jonathan Kellaway is a character we immediately take to. But some other characters in the book are more like caricatures: Goddard's style seems to have become more simplistic in recent works - the careful plotting and unforeseen twists are not quite as tight, as satisfying, as in his earlier works. Some of the characters are just too thin. Early in this novel, I cringed just once or twice as some of the writing seemed a little gauche, almost naive, when describing Jonathan's teenage years and dealings with the families involved in the Cornwall china clay business. But I don't feel that Goddard has ever been good when it comes to writing romance, let alone sex!

But despite these early misgivings, I was soon drawn into the plot and the characters. Very much so. As with classic Goddard, the reader quickly bonds with the players and I felt myself not just drawn in but transported to their world. And again, back to form, it's the historical sections which are most compelling. In this novel, historical = 1960's, so don't worry that you're buying historical fiction. Definitely not!

Overall, very satisfying. I recommend it without hesitation. Not his best (hence 4 stars), but much better than Blood Count and Found Wanting. The dénouement comes about very quickly but doesn't feel rushed. Goddard avoided a very obvious and twee ending, one which I saw coming a mile off and was pleased, in fact relieved, that he chose not to write! So +1 star for not being predictable and twee.

After Blood Count, I was dreading his next novel. Now, after Fault Line, I'm looking forward to the next one!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, poor plot, 7 April 2012
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This review is from: Fault Line (Hardcover)
Fault Line goes back to a tragic episode that destroyed the Wrens, a wealthy Cornish mining family, in the 1960s. The main character, Jonathan Kellaway gets caught up in the subsequent history of the the Wren family and the long reaching consequences of the tragedy. Robert Goddard's writing is of a very high standard and I enjoyed reading large parts of this book, despite the initial slowness of the pace.

Fault Line flips between the 1960s, the 1980s and the present and also lurches from Cornwall, to Capri and the U.S. At times it seemed that two separate plots were in operation, neither of them very strongly connected. One involving possible corporate fraud, the other an Italian betrayal dating from World War Two. I kept hoping and expecting that the two plots would gel, perhaps in a surprise reveal at the end, but was ultimately disappointed as the conclusion was something of a damp squib and didn't really seem related to previous events.

The other reason I have given Fault Line only three stars is that I couldn't really believe in the main character. Jonathan Kellaway was a likeable enough man, but I found it hard to believe that he would hitch his fortunes to the family mining firm in the way he did. Also, he didn't seem to have any personal life of his own, other than that directly related to the plot. Nothing appeared to happen to him, other than the events that needed to take place for the plot to proceed.

All in all, a bit disappointing, but still a good read compared to some of the lesser quality offerings out there at the moment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fault Line - Nearly Faultless, 30 Jun 2012
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Paul Eccles (Tamworth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fault Line (Kindle Edition)
Not only am I a huge Goddard fan, but I also live near St Austell and know many of the locations mentioned and visited in his new mystery. So I was delighted when I heard he was setting his latest work in this area.

'Fault Line' is written in first person, narrated by Jonathan Kellaway, who is set the task of investigating a hole in the records of the china clay mining company he works for. His probing, inevitably, brings a host of mysteries from his past back to life. The story spans several decades, From the late sixties to present day. The historical detail is typically first class; one of Goddard's greatests skills is his ability to bring the past to life.

Although the writing is rich and flowing, there were times, especially during action-based sequences, when the writing seemed laboured. But this is being picky: Goddard really is a classy writer. Of course, prepare to suspend your disbelief. There are elements of the story, including the finale, which stretch the bounds of credulity. But that is the point of fiction, isn't it? If the story strictly stuck within the bounds of realism it would make for a dull tale.

Compared with his other work, this latest offering more than stands up to be counted. The pages fairly fly by and you might well find yourself up late with this one. All in all, this is a clever, well-researched, entertaining novel that will satisfy fans and doubtless hook newcomers into further reading. Thouroughly recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fault Line, 7 May 2012
This review is from: Fault Line (Hardcover)
Welcome back Robert Goddard. I suspect a conspiracy, somebody has written 3 books while you were away or kidnapped. They weren't bad but I knew it wasn't you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly weak for Robert Goddard, 7 Nov 2012
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love reading "marsy" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fault Line (Paperback)
I quite enjoyed this but don't think it is up to his usual standard. It was easy to read with a good few twists and turns. I also really enjoy Goddard's style of writing. I loved the setting in Capri although he didn't do much for the beauty of Cornwall. The main reasons the novel didn't stand out for me was that I felt the character of Jonathan was quite weakly drawn and was merely a device of the plot; but more importantly, I didn't find the plot all that interesting or engaging. It is worth a read though, just not his best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A return to form...almost, 15 Oct 2012
This review is from: Fault Line (Paperback)
I would actually rate this book 3 1/2 stars...

After his previous 3 books, which I found disappointing, Fault Line marks a return to form. Mostly.
I won't offer a synopsis, since that's been given elsewhere. Suffice to say, Fault Line holds all the hallmarks of a classic Robert Goddard novel; deeds of the past casting a dark shadow over the present, an antagonist caught up in an intriguing mystery, seeking to find the truth in events of the past, searching for personal reconciliation; twists and turns in the main plot; intertwining sub-plots.
As with most of Goddard,s previous novels, the main character makes a choice/agreement to something early on in the book which pretty much sets the course for the events that follow, which continue to project their reach into the future.

As other reviewers have mentioned, some of the cast come across as typecast and one-dimensional.
Also, I would have liked to have felt more depth to the main character. The historical backdrop which invariably colours Goddard's novels didn't hook me personally as much as previous novels. The clay mining of Cornwall in the 60's, for me, holds little interest, as opposed to previous novels.
The love scenes come across as a bit contrived.

That said, the book is very readable. I enjoyed it, and found the shifts between past/present perspectives to flow well, keep the story alive, and add the additional dimension.
I've read all of Goddard's novels, and Fault Line far surpasses his previous 3-4 efforts.

My main contention is the ending. I found it to be rushed, and to be honest, slightly unconvincing.
Actually, slightly incomprehensible. I was left feeling many of the tribulations the main character suffered throughout could have been avoided.
But that shouldn't deter anyone from reading this book. The remaining 99% of the book far outweighs any reservations I might otherwise have had to recommend this to anyone.

All in all I found it a very good read. Goddard captures the atmosphere of past and present environments convincingly. I wanted to know the outcome, wanted to know the "secret" behind it all and wanted to know what was to became of the main characters.
I will definitely buy the next Goddard novel, and hope this book really does mark a return to form.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 1 July 2012
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This review is from: Fault Line (Kindle Edition)
A good read and an interesting plot, with many sub plots and better than most of Robert Goddard's recent material but still does not have the depth of his earlier books - they were un-put-down-able. I will always buy his books though, he is one of my favourite authors.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly back to form, 23 Jun 2012
By 
M. Braddock "go diving!" (Nottingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fault Line (Hardcover)
The only author I pre-order on the basis of his work without wondering whether it will be a good read
and I was not disappointed. I have all his books and am glad to see that after a few so so books the intricacy we know and love has returned. A clever plot with plenty of twists and turns, so glad to see my favorite author is nearly back to top form. Hope we will be seeing a new book for Christmas!
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Fault Line
Fault Line by Robert Goddard (Paperback - 30 Aug 2012)
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