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4.4 out of 5 stars40
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 29 August 2006
That's what I was and hope you'll be too from the very first page. The language is extremely fluent (as always with Goddard, so much so that it looks deceivingly easy to write as he does, whereas it's most probably the result of sheer hard work), the dialogues flawless (again: as always), and the plot draws you in immediately.

This is the fourth book by Goddard I've read and I haven't been disappointed yet so on to number five!
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on 3 September 2010
Guy Horton and Max Wingate are con men returning across the Atlantic ocean from America after several years of lucrative and deceptive scams.
On board the ship they plan a scam that has worked before to mutual financial gain. One of them will 'fall'in love with a rich young woman only to be 'bought off' by the irate father some time later and hopefully before the wedding, and Max and Guy will share the payout.It has worked before, so why not now?
But what happens when genuine love develops and causes a rift between the two?

First published in 1993 this is one of Robert Goddard's most intriguing novels because it turns into a far more complex and detailed story than the first fifty pages would have you believe. It becomes a political conspiracy novel with a destructive secret at its centre that the late great Robert Ludlum would have been proud to invent!
The story is narrated by Guy, the twists and turns are plentyful, but what really works is the 1931 setting during a financial crisis and the forming of the National government.
Goddard takes the reader to some interesting places like Venice and Dublin (cities he would return to in later books).
Although not as long as many of his other novels, this is a fine story that keeps the reader engaged throughout and turns out to be a very different sort of book from the one you initially expect.
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on 12 August 2015
I have always found it difficult to maintain my interest in a book. So much so I read very little as a consequence.

I have read three of Robert Godard's books, the most recent being 'Closed Circle. An excellent book which kept me gripped with interest to the very end. The time seems to fly while reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, which indeed rare for me.

I couldn't recommend it highly enough

John
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on 4 March 2009
A pair of confidence tricksters flee an embarrassing financial collapse in the USA - as if an American financial institution could be guilty of fraudulent dealings or would be so mismanaged as to plunge itself into insolvency! It's surely the sort of thing that could only happen in a novel? Our two English adventurers while away their sea voyage pursuing an heiress, a young woman whose beauty matches her riches. Their schemes come apart at the seams - can love really get in the way of business (or crime)? Having become used to manipulating others and stage-managing situations, our two anti-heroes suddenly become pawns in someone else's game and find themselves caught up in a web of murder and betrayal.

Goddard again weaves together a compelling narrative - he handles historical adventures with convincing skill ... you are absorbed into the period, into its values and sensibilities, you become absorbed by the lives and emotions of the characters. It's a process of osmosis - the plot, the dynamic invades your imagination. Goddard doesn't go in for startling special effects or loud bangs, though this novel does have its slightly visceral moments. His tales are quite gentle, quite cosy ... but with dark and disturbing undercurrents.

This is a highly entertaining novel by one of the finest story-tellers in the business. He's very English, he probably doesn't translate to an American audience as well as some writers, but for anyone interested in writing, Goddard offers master classes in plot construction and characterisation, and nobody handles fictional history quite so well.

Excellent piece of writing, red herrings a plenty, and perhaps more of a conventional murder mystery than most of Goddard's novels. A very good read.
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on 10 February 2013
This is a fascinating story, and very well written.

The plot is very clever with enough twists and turn to keep the reader's interest throughout and the characters are extremely well developed.

The story centres on a couple of con-men, but other characters have their own secrets. This is a tale of deception and involves a secret society with a dreadful secret to protect. I was trying to work out who was lying and who was being honest, who were the 'good guys' and who we the 'bad guys until the end of the book.

This is the second book by this author that I have read, having previously read Pale Battalions. The author's style seems to be to build up intrigue in a story with several twists, rather than being packed with lots of actions scenes. I am looking forward to reading my next Robert Goddard book and I would highly recommend both of the books by this author that I have already read.
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on 4 March 2009
A pair of confidence tricksters flee an embarrassing financial collapse in the USA - as if an American financial institution could be guilty of fraudulent dealings or would be so mismanaged as to plunge itself into insolvency! It's surely the sort of thing that could only happen in a novel? Our two English adventurers while away their sea voyage pursuing an heiress, a young woman whose beauty matches her riches. Their schemes come apart at the seams - can love really get in the way of business (or crime)? Having become used to manipulating others and stage-managing situations, our two anti-heroes suddenly become pawns in someone else's game and find themselves caught up in a web of murder and betrayal.

Goddard again weaves together a compelling narrative - he handles historical adventures with convincing skill ... you are absorbed into the period, into its values and sensibilities, you become absorbed by the lives and emotions of the characters. It's a process of osmosis - the plot, the dynamic invades your imagination. Goddard doesn't go in for startling special effects or loud bangs, though this novel does have its slightly visceral moments. His tales are quite gentle, quite cosy ... but with dark and disturbing undercurrents.

This is a highly entertaining novel by one of the finest story-tellers in the business. He's very English, he probably doesn't translate to an American audience as well as some writers, but for anyone interested in writing, Goddard offers master classes in plot construction and characterisation, and nobody handles fictional history quite so well.

Excellent piece of writing, red herrings a plenty, and perhaps more of a conventional murder mystery than most of Goddard's novels. A very good read.
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on 8 November 2012
Typical Goddard/ good read gripping/thought provoking/ stimulating/ not put down easily as you would expect from Goddard if you have read any of his other books/ I would recommend him as an author to follow.
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on 6 November 2010
I have read around 10 Robert Goddard novels and although this is a reasonably good read it's far from being one of his best. Like some of the poorer novels it's a little slow at times, but entertaining nevertheless.
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As ever Robert Goddard continues to be an undisputed master of thriller novels. Closed Circle, provides the usual twists and turns that gradually build into a solid plot. Betrayal; deceit and denial abound at every corner and keep the reader guessing from start to finish. For Robert Goddard fans this is another book you will want to read.
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on 6 July 2013
Once you start a Goddard book you can't put it down.
Another classic from an author with insight.
Every one as good as the last.
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