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3.6 out of 5 stars18
3.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 June 2012
This book reminds me of Tom Sharpe's work in that it becomes almost manically funny in places. Five monstrous and venal Cambridge classics dons meet a series of unlikely ends due to the influence of a group of egocentric and spiteful Olympians who are outraged at their lack of belief. James, an ex-student of the Cambridge List, who has also suffered injustice at the hands of the academics, is both the perpetrator and the victim here, as the gods are waging their personal vendettas in his brain. In spite of the fact that I would really be morally outraged at the thought of condoning murder, I was swept along with the story and loved the feuding gods and goddesses and the grossly immoral university staff.

I found the writing style intelligent, accessible and very funny. Humour is always a personal thing and I can't guarantee it will suit everybody but this book was entirely to my taste. If you love caricature, the exercise of a clever imagination and have a sense of the ridiculous it will be to yours too. I am delighted to learn that a sequel is on the cards
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on 13 July 2012
I enjoyed Robert Clear's The Cambridge List, the first work I'd read by the author. A bitter former Cambridge student is charged by the Olympian Gods to murder the five academics responsible for failing his thesis on, well, the Olympian Gods themselves.

The humour is black and bloody, as this unlikely serial killer (I thought of a young Hugh Grant) botches his way through a series of murders. Clear steers a difficult course with the readers' sympathies. Although all the lecturers James Connor dispatches are corrupt in some way, most of them display finer feelings at some point. The first name on the list - Harriet Mason - is written as a true grotesque in the Roald Dahl mould, and her odious nature will have most readers siding with the murderer.

My personal favourite moment was the punt chase sequence - far and away the comic highlight of the book, and a scene which would translate well to the small screen...

The goings on in Cambridge are counterpointed by dissent within the ranks of the Gods themselves, and while the council wranglings were not the book's highlight, the fruity language used by the Gods of Olympus was great fun.

Foul-mouthed, jet black humour and genuinely funny, The Cambridge List isn't a perfect novel: it leaves several loose ends, a blatant MacGuffin in the form of an experimental drug, and introduces an additional sidekick in the form of journalist Wendy Pipford far too late in the day. Perhaps there's going to be a sequel, who knows? But in spite of these minor structural problems, it's a great fun read. It reminded me occasionally of The Wimbledon Poisoner, if that's a good yardstick for you...
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on 18 July 2011
Wasn't sure I would enjoy this book and greek mythology is not a subject of great interest to me, how wrong I was! The Cambridge List is an entertaining, well-written and often hilarious book. I would recommend it to anyone. The scene in the bakery made me laugh out loud! Well done to the author Robert Clear, especially as this is his first book. Hope there are many more to follow The Cambridge List
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on 10 January 2012
I bought this on a whim in the summer as I'd just got a kindle and got round to reading it over the christmas. All good fun and a tad bit naughty in places!
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on 24 June 2012
I downloaded the sample to my Kindle solely because Cambridge is a place I know well. The opening scenes with the language school were very good, then the goddesses came into the story and I thought that this plot might work as a good comedy if it had some jokes in it. I didn't much like the pantomime Fatty character, nor some dubious jokey metaphors and sudden outbursts of strong swearing which detracted from what had hitherto felt like an intelligent read. Later on, I did find the 'ghost' part amusing though and the Jeremy Kyle-esque talk show was an interesting touch in the same scene.

The sample is long as Kindle samples go and Clear's writing style comes across as very readable, fluid and quite impeccably proof-read for an indie author throughout. This book could do with a few more commas, a cover, some sort of emboldening of the chapter titles and the margins are a bit unusual at times, but nothing serious. Clear certainly exhibits some writing talent here. I came very close to liking this book enough to buy it, but just not quite. 4/5 stars.
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on 8 September 2012
I bought this book because I'm from the Cambridge area and I saw it stocked in Cambridge Waterstones, to which I thought getting a book into a national chain of books stores was impressive. Also, the cover is quite stylish and so I quite literally, judged a book by its cover.

This is an interesting and original story. A failed Cambridge student is given a task by the gods of Olympus which are residing in his brain. They give him the task of murdering a series of corrupt Cambridge academics and so the world's least scary serial killer is born.

This is a funny novel that is also quite shocking in places. Not because of the murders but because somewhere on this earth, people that grotesque exist. I really liked the character Muesli, she is someone I'd like to see come back. The scene of the punt chase is very funny; if you ever been on one you'll understand why. I would like to have had more at the ending but I wonder, will there be a sequel? I feel we haven't seen the last of Wendy, at least I hope not.
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on 22 September 2012
A clever and totally unexpected story line! Could not put it down to the point of falling asleep whilst reading. Kindles make a bigger thump on a bedroom floor than a book! Loved it and would like to read more from this author.
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on 6 July 2013
I was quite surprised at how badly behaved the ancient Greek gods were. This book had me laughing out loud. I just wish it'd been a bit longer, maybe it's hinting towards a sequel? I hope so.
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on 3 September 2013
Poor James Connor. Having failed his degree at Cambridge and been forced into a dreadful job teaching English to non-English-speaking students, he then agrees to try out an anti-depressant drug being developed by a friend. Except that it's not been in human trials yet. When first he hears singing then other voices in his head he's not too alarmed. Then one of the voices turns out to be Hera, the wife of Zeus, and she's not happy.
All the gods of Ancient Greece are trapped in James' head and they want revenge. More specifically they want him to commit murder. Five times.
A thoroughly entertaining read
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on 5 April 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story was different and interesting. I read it in one sitting, and would recommend to anyone looking for a good laugh.
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