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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I love his story telling and the journey of his novels ...
I've been a fan of Robert Goddard for quite a while, and even though his books are mystery/thrillers with a reveal/twist at the end I can read them again and again. I love his story telling and the journey of his novels as much as the final destination.

I was a bit disappointed with the ending of the first part of this trilogy - largely because I didn't realise...
Published 9 months ago by Mike

versus
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Goddard of old!
I'm a huge Goddard fan. Since reading Into The Blue during the summer when it won the Thumping Good Read award, I have read all his books, some several times. I'd rank him as my favourite author, bar none.

But ...

... I struggled to get through this one. I'd pick it up, but even after a couple of paragraphs, I'd find my mind wandering. It's a spy...
Published 9 months ago by kirenzi


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I love his story telling and the journey of his novels ..., 6 July 2014
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I've been a fan of Robert Goddard for quite a while, and even though his books are mystery/thrillers with a reveal/twist at the end I can read them again and again. I love his story telling and the journey of his novels as much as the final destination.

I was a bit disappointed with the ending of the first part of this trilogy - largely because I didn't realise it was a trilogy at the time, so when it came to the cliff hangar ending I felt a bit disappointed, even cheated. However with this book, it was always clear that it was part two of the trilogy so the cliff hangar ending was not a surprise, but expected.

The story cracks along at a savage pace, and that is where the problem with this book lies. Frankly the pace of the storyline has become manic - like a movie director trying to get 3 hours of plot into a two hour film. The plot is intense and convoluted (which is fine) - but it needs a lot more room to breathe - accidentally skim read a paragraph and you could end up lost.

I like these characters, I like the plot, and I can't wait for the story to resolve with the final part of the trilogy. There are some howling coincidences - but they are forgivable, even necessary, in this genre of novel.

Still, it is way better than much of the other stuff you will find out there, but please let the final part of the trilogy be more like a solid and engrossing build up to huge crescendo, rather than the high speed antics of the closing credits of the Benny Hill Show.

However, the proof of the pudding is that I can't wait to get hold of the final part of the trilogy - please don't keep us waiting too long for it !
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unputdownable thrilling race for answers - surpasses the first, 21 July 2014
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Corners of the Globe: (The Wide World - James Maxted 2) (Hardcover)
With the Great War over, the powers of the world assemble in Paris to decide on terms for victors and vanquished. While diplomats and ministers meet to discuss terms, agents and spies work to their masters' agendas, dealing in secrets, hiding sins, removing obstacles. Circumstances, though, have made a spy of James Maxted, known to most as Max. With his father Sir Henry murdered, found in Paris at the end of a steep drop, Max is after answers and vengeance. The more Max learns, the deeper he descends into a most perilous world. The cost of peace is immense and no-one knows this better than Max, the man who survived years as a pilot and then a prisoner of war.

The Corners of the Globe is the second in Robert Goddard's historical spy thriller series, begun so well with last year's The Ways of the World. There is no pause from the previous novel. Max is now determined on his course of action. His father's death might be less of a mystery now, proven to be murder and not suicide, but Max knows that Sir Henry's killer was just one small cog in a wheel that surrounds Paris. Vengeance on the murderer is not enough. Max is after the leaders and to take them on he plays a very dangerous game indeed.

As the novel begins, Max is on a `mission' for Germany's chief spymaster, to travel to Orkney to rescue a document from the interred German fleet. It contains secrets so powerful they can draw out spies from the shadows. As British and German agents search for Max, the British secret service is in danger of collapsing from the inside out, its double agents making themselves known in the desperate scramble for the document. Meanwhile in Paris, Max's old manservant, and now chauffeur to the British diplomats, Sam, is caught up in his own deadly game, mixed up in a power struggle amongst the Japanese delegation to Paris which strikes to the heart of what Sir Henry was up to in the city.

The result is an immense tangle of deceit and treachery. German, Japanese and British agents scramble for position, with Max pursued across Scotland and England to France and Sam fighting his own battle on the streets and rooftops of Paris. Both of them must decide who they are prepared to trust. Fortunately, they each encounter men and women prepared to help them, to stand up for what is right. But bodies fall on both sides.

The Corners of the Globe presents Max's transformation into spy. His humanity lessens as his heart hardens. He directly puts other people's lives in danger and he is prepared to live with the consequences, while they might not. There is one memorable scene where he comes across an old comrade from the war, begging on the streets, one leg missing. Max pretends he doesn't know the man when asked and so he must then watch the light of hope fade from his old friend's eyes. With so many lies and deaths, there is bound to be tragedy, and we encounter it in the sadness of bereaved lovers, sons, sisters and friends. It's an intriguing mix, this contradiction between Max's increasing hardness and the amount of suffering he meets, even causes.

Without doubt, The Corners of the Globe is a complicated novel. Fortunately, there are some recaps of what went on before in The Ways of the World and I found this vital. You could read this second novel without having read the first - enough is made clear - but a knowledge of The Ways of the World does add greatly to one's appreciation of Goddard's admirable plotting and the development of Max's character. While I enjoyed the first novel greatly, I enjoyed the second even more. There is much more focus on what matters, less attention given to Max's family in England, a greater number of puzzles, more danger and much more involvement by Max as the novel's driving force. The secondary characters are also given additional life.

It's all backed up by the most atmospheric and evocative worldbuilding. Paris in particular is given a life of its own, with rich descriptions of its famous streets and places, populated by a cast of characters from around the world, each of whom has his or her own agenda in the negotiations for peace and domination and revenge. The Great War itself gets little direct mention, except for the regular reminders and memories of shell-shocked, injured, dead servicemen. It is the trauma that overshadows all else.

My only complaint about this superb novel is its cliffhanger ending which is the most blatant cliffhanger that I've encountered and seems totally out of place in a book of such class. The novel as a whole makes me desperate to read the trilogy's conclusion (I love the direction in which it's heading), it doesn't need such a cheap gimmick. Nevertheless, this is a minor niggle and it only slightly marred my appreciation for a novel that is, especially during the second half, an unputdownable thrilling race for answers. I'm grateful for the review copy.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Goddard of old!, 24 July 2014
This review is from: The Corners of the Globe: (The Wide World - James Maxted 2) (Hardcover)
I'm a huge Goddard fan. Since reading Into The Blue during the summer when it won the Thumping Good Read award, I have read all his books, some several times. I'd rank him as my favourite author, bar none.

But ...

... I struggled to get through this one. I'd pick it up, but even after a couple of paragraphs, I'd find my mind wandering. It's a spy story, and when compared with other novels in this genre, there is nothing much wrong with it, hence the 3 stars. A load of blokes go round annihilating each other. Characters are introduced and killed in short order. No matter, plenty more where they came from. There is no emotional depth at all, not much in the way of back stories, no reason for you to care what happens. Maxted (the central protagonist) asks someone to do something. Moments later, they are dead. Does this give him pause for thought, a moment of regret? Nope!

Anyone who knows (and loves) the Goddard of Past Caring, In Pale Battalions, Beyond Recall, Hand In Glove, or Painting The Darkness (to name but a few examples), will know that he is capable of writing books with cracking story lines, full of mystery and intrigue and twists and turns, but where you care about the characters. Where their stories stay with you for years. Where you reread and feel as though you are meeting old friends. Where you are grabbed from the first paragraph and held till the last page. Oh how I long for another Goddard novel with these attributes. Oh how I miss the enjoyment of a first read of such quality. Oh how I mourn the change of style and the loss of depth and my subsequent lack of engagement.

Will I read the next installment? I will, borrowed from the library. I doubt I'll be able to remember anything about it within a day or so of finishing it. But, for old time's sake, I'll give it a go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripping yarn!, 4 Aug. 2014
By 
M. R. J. Murphy (Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Corners of the Globe: (The Wide World - James Maxted 2) (Hardcover)
I like Goddard's novels, even if I began to think lately that I had discovered the formula. The Wide World volumes seem individually less intricate than those that preceded it - I am thinking especially about In Pale Battallions, and Long Time Coming. And when Maxted was making his complicated train journey south from Scapa, I began to think Goddard should have called this volume "The 39 Stops".

Maxted seems not to have any of the ambiguity of Goddard's other heroes (or should I say, narrators). So more of a ripping yarn than an exploration of a moral or psychological dilemma. But will be excellent for the beach or a long train ride ... perhaps not up to the North West of Scotland though,
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4.0 out of 5 stars I am another like so many out there, 12 Oct. 2014
This review is from: The Corners of the Globe: (The Wide World - James Maxted 2) (Hardcover)
I am another like so many out there, discovered RG with Into the Blue, thought it was the best story I had ever read, and then others like Past caring, Pale Battalions etc just as good. For probably a dozen years couldn't wait for each new one. Then a sequence of half a dozen or so which were so much less compelling I actually abandoned a few, and stopped looking for each new one so avidly even though I eventually gave them all a go.

Have read the first two parts of this trilogy, and what I would say is they are better than the ones I got bored with, but nowhere near as good as the stuff I got hooked on.

I have enjoyed both parts enough to have immediately looked for part 3, and am really surprised and disappointed it's so long away as next July. But in a day or so I will have forgotten all about it, and probably RG as an author again as well.

Robert, if you read this please take on board that your fans want quality not quantity.

Although I enjoyed it, I have to say I got a little sceptical about the number of cars and taxis and limousines racing around in 1919.
I actually laughed out loud at one point when there was 'a tangle of traffic' in Marseilles I think it was. Really? You rarely see heavy traffic in footage of London in 1980, let alone 1919.

This all started to distract me to the point of wondering how James Maxted always managed to have money in his wallet for train tickets etc. in whatever currency without ever going to a bank.

This 'with one bound our hero was free' stuff may be what Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown fans expect but I expect better of RG.

Reminds me of how I felt when I read the Da Vinci Code. Fantastic unputdownable story that was nonetheless basically laughable because our hero never slept during several days of charging around Europe, and went from being a driver who had only ever driven automatic cars, to suddenly finding the ability to race round Paris on two wheels in a massive armoured vehicle with about 16 forward manual gears!

Come on Robert - if I wanted Archer or Brown I'd buy them. You used to be so much better.

Still 4 stars for this one though. Same as I gave Da Vinci Code, but I never read another Dan Brown.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Corners of the Globe, 7 Aug. 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Corners of the Globe: (The Wide World - James Maxted 2) (Hardcover)
This is the second book in the Wide World trilogy, the first of which was The Ways of the World. In that book, James Maxted travels to Paris on the death of his father at the Conference in Versailles in 1919. What he finds there leads him on a trail of deception, intrigue and murky activities by many of the nationalities represented at the Conference. The book ended with Max heading after the man he believed was directly responsible for his father's death. I was a bit worried that I would find it hard to get into the second book, given the complexity of the first book, and the time that has elapsed since it came out and I read it last year. But I need not have worried; it all becomes clear in a matter of just a few pages, and the rest of the characters are re-introduced seamlessly and carefully so that the reader is never left floundering.

This book opens with Max in Orkney, tasked by Lemmer with fulfilling a mission of contact with a commander on one of the German ships held in Scapa Flow. It's here that we see how Max has placed himself in a position that he believes will allow him to bring down Lemmer, the mastermind who he believes holds the world of spydom in his extremely dangerous hands. Just how dangerous, Max is only just beginning to find out.

The first book in the trilogy had a cast of quite a few and was geographically centred around Paris. This book seems to have a cast of many (some of whom are new to us in the story, but many old friends and acquaintances of Max's as well) and covers the UK and France, and has links to other world centres as well. The geographical scope of the activities that Max is beginning to uncover are widespread, and the involvement of those around him is still shocking to Max (and to the reader). This is a story that has more twists and turns in it than a bowl of spaghetti; the narrative races along, and you find yourself hurrying to turn the next page to find out what could possibly happen next. The answer is, a great deal. The end of the book is a cliffhanger like no other, and I can't wait for the third and final instalment of this tremendously good story. I'm by no means convinced that anything will end all that well for Max, but I can't wait to find out where his story leads him. Absolutely stunning; read the first book if you haven't already, and hurry along to read this next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Goddard the absolutely perfect mystery / thriller writer, 19 Sept. 2014
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Robert Goddard has been my favourite author of all time ever since I found my first book of his "Never go back". on the strength of this I have since read every one of his books and loved every single one. I have to admit that some are better than others but that is to be expected. Consequently I was over the moon when it was announced that this trilogy was due for publication. What I hadn't prepared myself for, however, was the fact that, unlike his previous trilogy which involved one character during different periods in his life with each story having a beginning, middle and end, this trilogy is actually one story told over three books, a bit like "War and Peace". When you get to the end in books one and two, especially two (this one) you are left at a cliff-hanger moment followed by the words "TO BE CONTINUED". I mean Mr. Goddard what sort of sadistic bleep bleep are you????
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3.0 out of 5 stars Poor old James goes from cardboard pose to cardboard pose, 25 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Corners of the Globe: (The Wide World - James Maxted 2) (Hardcover)
Disappointing. Far too contrived to be convincing - for instance, in the way he updates anyone who has not read the previous instalment by summarising in an Intelligence File missive on James Maxted. Poor old James goes from cardboard pose to cardboard pose, and it's almost a relief when he's apparently meeting his demise after following an obvious false lead masterminded by the arch villain, Lemmer (an equally unreal character). Will I read the third part of the trilogy? Probably, just to see if my predictions are correct.
I have read and enjoyed most of Robert Goddard's previous books and for the most part thought they were well written and engrossing. 'Corners of the Globe' falls short not only on artificial characterisation, and contrived plot, but also on clumsy sentence construction which led to ambiguous meaning. I wouldn't recommend this book as 'a good read'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing, 9 Nov. 2014
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Corners of the Globe: (The Wide World - James Maxted 2) (Hardcover)
The second title that follows on from Robert’s Way of the World which not only helps expand the readers understanding of the time but gives the reader characters that they’re not only invested in but care about as they try to find their place. It’s definitely a cracking book and for me, this series so far feels like Roberts best work ever.

The research that has been conducted is clear for all to see and the fact that it doesn’t bog down the story telling is a clear sign of a talented author. Back this up with a third part to come and all round I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It’s going to be a long wait and to be honest I’ve got a Granddad who is already making demands. A book for all generations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super second instalment, 28 Sept. 2014
Corners of the Globe, is the second book in Robert Goddard’s trilogy. Max has left Paris after avenging the murder of his father, Sir Henry Maxted, convinced the only man who knows about the mysterious events leading up to Sir Henry's death is elusive German spymaster, Fritz Lemmer.
And so begins the race to find Fritz Lemmer, with Max working for Fritz as one of his agents and also under the auspices of British Intelligence. The pace starts slowly with Max’s first job for Lemmer in Scotland, but soon races ahead and becomes quite frantic at times. However, Mr Goddard’s brilliance shines through providing yet another great read for lovers of this genre. Can’t wait for book three!
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The Corners of the Globe: (The Wide World - James Maxted 2)
The Corners of the Globe: (The Wide World - James Maxted 2) by Robert Goddard (Hardcover - 3 July 2014)
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