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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Negative reviews are on the wrong track !!
This is a book that I found impossible to put down. Set amongst the smokey engine sheds around Nine Elms, Waterloo and the eponymous necropolis railway at Brookwood at the turn of the last century, this story centres around the experiences of Jim Stringer who embarks upon his chosen career on the railways only to find that his predecessors have met a premature and sticky...
Published on 6 May 2004 by Ian Thumwood

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 * review
I'm sort of on the fence on this one. I loved the idea of the story and the setting. I'm doing my family history and a bunch of my ancestors lived just around the corner from the Necropolis Station in the 1890s/1900s so I was after a little about the atmosphere of the area and the time. That side of it was fine. I felt that the area and the characters were well...
Published on 5 April 2012 by Jill in East Kent


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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Negative reviews are on the wrong track !!, 6 May 2004
By 
Ian Thumwood "ian17577" (Winchester) - See all my reviews
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This is a book that I found impossible to put down. Set amongst the smokey engine sheds around Nine Elms, Waterloo and the eponymous necropolis railway at Brookwood at the turn of the last century, this story centres around the experiences of Jim Stringer who embarks upon his chosen career on the railways only to find that his predecessors have met a premature and sticky end. This fact is not made any more pleasant by the fact that his colleagues seem intent upon making him the next victim.
Cleverly, the author has chosen to write this atmospheric novel in the style of the "penny dreadful" novels of the time - pulp fiction that was snapped up by the public who, having had their appetite for gore increased by the sensationalist reporting of such cases as Jack the Ripper, sought out these thrillers for their amusement. Indeed, it was by selling such books at it's shops in the railway stations that W.H.Smith became established. These books were the 19th century equivalent to today's "airport literature."
If you can pick up your clues and have some knowledge of the social history of the time, you may solve the mystery before the end. However, just when you think the book has reached it's climax, events take a spectacular turn that prepare the reader for the sequel.
This book is great entertainment. Read it before it is inevitably made into a film.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 * review, 5 April 2012
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This review is from: The Necropolis Railway: A Historical Novel (Kindle Edition)
I'm sort of on the fence on this one. I loved the idea of the story and the setting. I'm doing my family history and a bunch of my ancestors lived just around the corner from the Necropolis Station in the 1890s/1900s so I was after a little about the atmosphere of the area and the time. That side of it was fine. I felt that the area and the characters were well drawn.

I also felt that there were some magical moments in this story - some great descriptive images. The author does have a lovely turn of phrase ... I'm only sorry that I didn't mark the relevant passages.

However, as a non-railway type of person, I found the railway talk a little wearying at times. There were all sorts of things I did not really understand and although I can understand the author not wanting to have to explain things in minute detail for numpties like me (as his fan base is probably made up of a large number of railway buffs) it was, at times, hard work.

But for the descriptions and the lovely flashes of imagery I am happy to go for 3.5 stars!
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Slow Burner, 21 Jan 2004
By A Customer
I bought this book on impulse - it looked unusual and promised a read drenched in atmosphere. Initially I was a little disappointed, but I kept reading and finished it in a couple of days. It was only over the next week or so that I realised how deep impression that many of the characters, images and incidents in the book had made on me. I re-read it with relish!
This is not a work of literary genius - it wouldn't pretend to be. Rather, it is, as the blurb promises, 'a superior potboiler', and in that category I would unhesitatingly give it 5 stars. Well drawn characters, a fantastically brooding atmosphere, a great read!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Necropolis Railway, 11 Jun 2011
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Necropolis Railway: A Historical Novel (Kindle Edition)
Jim Stringer is desperate to be a 'railway man'. He reads railway magazines, spurns his fathers butcher shop for the glamorous life on the railways and wants, more than anything, to be driving the engines he worships. When he is working as a porter, a mysterious man offers him work in London which could lead to his goal of becoming an engine driver, and he heads off full of excitement. However, turn of the century London turns out to be dark, dangerous and threatening. It is obvious from the start that Jim is resented and disliked. The railway, linked to the mysterious Necropolis Railway, has had some recent mysterious deaths - and Jim soon witnesses another attack. He fears he will also find himself dead and is given the cold shoulder at every turn, making him miserable and lonely, but unwilling to admit defeat of all his dreams. The only positive point seems to be his pretty landlady, but when she informs him he is 'boring' you almost want to cheer her - as it has to be said that the beginning of this book is pretty slow and Jim doesn't seem to be heroic stuff. However, the novel does improve in the second half and the storyline becomes more exciting. I would say that this first book in the series sets the scene and the characters, but it is obviously intended to encourage further reading and I would certainly be interested to see where the author is leading in the second book. This is a very atmospheric read and, although I dislike television/film adaptations of books almost always, I did feel that this could be very good on screen. I found that Jim Stringer was, in the end, a very likeable and brave man and will certainly be downloading the next in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good holiday read, 18 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Necropolis Railway: A Historical Novel (Kindle Edition)
Not a bad story, plot was okay and characters reasonably well developed. Written in the style and language of the era it's set in so seemed a little stilted at times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but let down by poor ending, 20 Feb 2014
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Really enjoyed this book (and the next one in the series The Blackpool Flyer ) but the endings don't do the rest of the book justice. The story and characters are engaging and it is not a period or subject I have read fiction about before. The writing style is first person and works well, with the historic terminology ringing true so far as I know and not seeming forced. The character is disarmingly frank and perhaps by modern standards charmingly naive but again it rings true and doesn't come across as an affectation. I found it refreshingly different from a lot of other fiction I have read. I felt drawn to the character and enjoyed being in his "world".

The only problem is the endings. The ending to this book is frankly poor and unsatisfying. Some other reviewers have assumed (as I did) that it is setting up a continuation in the next book but it isn't. The next book barely mentions the previous story and the events are unrelated. The ending relies on some very far fetched coincidences and seems very much like some of my old homework essays where I suddenly realised I had hit the word requirement and baled out of the story as fast as possible.

The next book is similar but the ending is not quite as bad, although still pretty sudden. Its a shame but the books are an enjoyable read nonetheless and I will be reading the third book just to enjoy the journey, if not expecting too much from the destination.

PS - Another real shame was the very occasional use of strong foul language (literally once or twice per book). It didn't add to the story but prevented me from recommending the book to my teenage daughter who is an avid reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Necropolis Railway, 12 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Necropolis Railway: A Historical Novel (Kindle Edition)
Heard the author on a radio 3 programme talking about his books and thought the concept of a detective on the historical Necropolis railway sounded interesting. It is obviously well researched but the use of the 1st person to narrate the story pre-supposes knowledge about Victorian railways which most people don't have. Attempts to right this with in-text explanations sound a bit 'clunky'. Still a good yarn nevertheless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too technical, 13 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Necropolis Railway: A Historical Novel (Kindle Edition)
A good yarn creating an excellent atmosphere and a real feeling for the times. A good read especially if you like trains and history of trains. I rate this 3 star only because the story contains a lot of technical terms. I still don't know what a 'half-link is or its signifcance!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steaming Good Read!, 9 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Necropolis Railway: A Historical Novel (Kindle Edition)
Another brilliant novel from Andrew Martin. This one had me guessing till the very last page. A big twist in the tail at the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Smart, inventive Edwardian thriller, 3 Oct 2012
This is a smart and inventive Edwardian thriller, set on a railway line whose sole purpose is a perfect fit for a thriller - the trains transported the dead and the grieving to a large cemetery outside of London. (This was apparently a real line, the cemetery was Brockwood and the trains departed from Waterloo). There is murder, skulduggery, a gang of sinister characters and a young apprentice whose eyes are opened to the world.

Unfortunately, unless you happen to have an incredibly deep interest in trains, it's a difficult novel to wrap yourself up in. The narrator has an obsessive interest in engines and railways, to such an extent that he is actually accused of being boring on the subject. (I'm trying to think of narrators of other books I might have read who are accused of being dull within the text, so far nothing comes to mind.) And so it's a book which can really be hard going for those of us not so turned-on by locomotives.

There are undoubtedly good things about this book and I don't think I've read a thriller quite like it, but at points reading it was like propelling a handcart up a hill - a lot of effort and struggle.
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