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on 10 October 2014
As other reviewers have said, this is an amazing book. I'm not really a horror fan and to be honest, this is not really a horror story although I do see reviews for the author in horror sections.

What this book is, in my opinion, is a mystery story. Martin Adil-Smith seems to be able to combine mythology with real events, the future with the past and present. He wraps it up in a creative style that will keep those pages turning. It's intelligent and it's engrossing. He makes you care about the characters whether they are good, bad or a mix of the 2. Sometimes, for me anyway, it was hard to decide who to 'cheer' and who to 'fear'.

I'm not going to spoil it by discussing the story - maybe other reviewers have already done so, I don't know. What I do know is that I've never read anything quite like it, and I mean that in a very positive way. My wife asked me to describe the story to her and I was unable to. This is not a fault in any way, it's just a story that cannot easily be described. At least not by me.

I read the Kindle version, but whatever way you buy this book, either as an eBook or actual book, save yourself some time and frustration by buying the follow up at the same time 'The Beggar of Beliefs'. I've not started that one yet (as I just finished A Gathering of Twine tonight) but if it's half as good as this, then you will not be disappointed.
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I bought this on the strength of the sample available here, and then read the rest of the book in one long sitting. I wanted to find out what happened to the characters. I _had_ to find out what happened to the characters.

This is a book of many different appeals, all tied in neatly together. On reading the opening you'll probably think this is some sort of techno-dystopian fantasy (and you won't be entirely off the mark: sky-scrapers; water shortages) but read further and you will be treated to pure, epic fantasy as well. Your brain-gland will need a gold-standard connection to your mind's eye in order to cope with all of the scenes that will spring into view. The book keeps one foot on the ground in reality and one foot entirely off the ground in some wild places. It's a compelling mix, and the author's style kept me trundling along, turning the pages. Like all really good books the plot went nowhere near where my mind wanted to go, and yet it kept me involved and reading. Be advised that I still don't know the fate of the main protagonists - I need book two.
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on 18 October 2013
I don't always review every book I read,but when I come across a really bad or a really good book, I like to have my say about it and this book most definitely falls into the latter category.
I should start by explaining that I adored the authors short story, "The Demons of Emily Eldritch" - it really stuck with me, and so I made appoint to pick his debut novel.
So onto the book itself, I remember reading a critics review of the book who said that it was an 'emotional roller-coaster ride' and boy they weren't wrong. The first section of the book deals with the narrator and the dystopian world that he lives in; water and food shortages, and combined army/police force who meet out summary justice to those who stray from religious scripture, and the ever present threat of terrorist attacks. But it's the way that it's described... the chain of events that lead to this fractured world is too easily believable.
Shortly after that, we start to read about George Tate who has, for most of his adult life, has battled the dark forces that have made the world what it is... even though it costs him his job and his marriage. Some of what he goes through - particularly his descent into an alzheimers like state in later years - is difficult to read, but only because it such an honest and realistic depiction.
I'm so glad I persevered because that's when the story really kicks into a higher gear, it becomes a very fast paced, exciting, tense and at times incredibly emotional to read, one section -in the jungle - in particular had me on the verge of tears. The characters as always are beautifully written so much so that you start to feel as if they are a part of your family, I don't know how he manages it but Martin Adil-Smith seems to be able to connect you emotionally to his characters.
There are emotional highs and lows throughout the story (again, some parts make for difficult reading if as you grow to love the characters). I loved the villains of the piece, the idea of 'normal' looking people travelling around and inserting themselves into our lives is incredible; I'll certainly never look at a computer monitor or a video camera in the same way.
Only one part of the book made me think "that's a bit of a stretch!!" but I guess you will have to make up your own mind about that part, again I don't want to spoil it.
All in all, it is an extremely well written and entertaining book which I really enjoyed. I can't give it 5 stars but it was close
But it's definitely worth a read, it's great to see a fresh voice writing to clearly and maturely.
A real must for any Stephen King or Clive Barker fan.
Happy reading!
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on 27 March 2014
Freeman Sullivan has barely escaped his dwelling with his life when he turns up at his editor’s safe building. His manuscript is both chronically overdue and unfinished. He needs to convince her that he should finish a work in the publisher’s own building: a book that is going to create enormous controversy and probably earn fatwas. When she insists he convince her of the story’s validity, he lays down his proof.

The action follows George Tate, an unusual man by any standards, as he seeks to unravel alarming events. This is a man who seems to infect those around him with a penchant for strangeness, all related to an alternative world brushing shoulders with reality. Or is it reality? Which is true? Our world, or the Sumerland where the Raven men abound? Creatures that can cross over at will.

Who is the architect of misfortune in various calamities that befall mankind? Is it the Goddess destroyer, or those who would fight against her? Or both? Nothing is as it seems. Aside from that, it is as if the author has his own personal crystal ball to predict real events before they happen.

This is not a book to be read last thing at night if a person has some reasonable expectation of sleeping. This is a book that needs to be savored for the many layers of world building, the superb characterisation and the multi-layered plot.
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on 2 December 2013
Several reviewers have compared the author of "A Gathering of Twine" to a gamut of fiction writers... all masters in their genre. I found these comparisons to be the source of the one real problem I had with this story; I couldn't get comfortable with the narrator's style.
I loved the basic premise - confirmation/verification of the true story of Mankind, how we came to be, how we developed as we did and came to the global situation the story is set, and finally, who makes it all happen as it did and does.

I liked Freeman Sullivan and his publisher. I loved George Tate and, in a completely different way - Celus. In fact, I could suspend disbelief in favor of the majority of characters throughout the book. What kept this from being a great read, versus a very good read was that... well; allow me to make an author comparison, after all - Dante. Dante's "Inferno" is considered by many to be a masterpiece of epic poetry, and I'm certain that the critics are better able to make such claims than I. As it was when I read Dante's Inferno, so it was with A Gathering of Twine. I became lost and confused in the intricacies of the plot twists and turns; so much so that I could not make the necessary connections to reach closure at the end.

As to a recommendation; if you understood and liked Dante's Inferno - you'll like or love "A Gathering of Twine". As for me, I remain intrigued by the premise to such a degree that I plan on reading the book again when I have more time. Maybe then I can come back, upgrade the star level and give the book a stronger recommendation.
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on 1 October 2014
engrossing - read it.
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on 5 July 2014
This gripping tale tells the story of George Tate, Celus Tuther and Freeman Sullivan as worlds collides, and the coming of long dead gods is reveal in a brilliant mix of adventure, intrigue, conspiracy and mystery.

The themes and subtext are as epic and sweeping as the ambition of the book. We see how the drudgery of modern day life combines with the cocooning effect of entertainment technology to remove as from a world where dark powers movie insidiously across Mankind in order to subvert destinies and tarnish any who would realize the truth, so that they appear as nothing but crackpots and liars.
There are multiple sub-plots, entwined with the principle story of the rise of a few Chosen (the titular "Twine") who can defeat the coming Demon Goddess, and the fast paced writing reminds me of both Neil Gaiman and Stephen King at their best.

The plot is unendingly inventive as it winds across time and space, fusing genuine historical events with just enough mythology to make you think "hmm... that could actually be true." The characters are well formed, each with their own complex back story and history, which only adds to the gritty sense of magical reality.

The landscapes are breathtaking as they are sweeping; from the jungles of Guyana to the English countryside; from Edinburgh Airport (I loved the mines scene and had to look up if they are really there - they are) to the British Museum. All are given care and attention without slowing down the tale.

Our culture is ultimately shown to be nothing but a blindfold, forcing us into endless consumerism whilst distracting us from the truth, and I loved the way that the idea of the "the light" doesn't actually reveal anything, but blinds us.

After the superb work in "The Demons of Emily Eldritch" and "The Call of The Black River", Adil-Smith has established himself a force to be reckoned with in the crossover horror/fantasy genre. Now with this new novel he goes even further by blurring fantasy and establishes his mastery in a remarkable tale of quest and transformation as he comes to terms with his own vision of our world.
"A Gathering of Twine" defies classification and invites superlatives. This is one of this years must reads.
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on 19 October 2014
A Gathering of Twine (The Spirals of Danu) by Martin Adil-Smith is an epic fantasy about Freeman, a writer who tells a most dangerous tale.

The elderly Freeman hurries to a meeting with his book publisher. He totes a briefcase stuffed with incriminating papers concerning his next story. Three shadowy mystery men trail him, people who want to keep the truth from reaching Freeman’s considerable following.

The author makes his meeting, and at his publisher Danielle’s urging, Freeman makes a most startling claim. His simple statement mocks the existence of a creator and the societal underpinnings of all we hold dear. Does Freeman have proof? Hoo boy, does he ever.

A Gathering of Twine unfolds as if picking apart a snarled ball of yarn. It has many threads, and they unwind Freeman’s story with text from ancient stone tablets that reference modern day conventions. Next are firsthand accounts of people mixed up with supernatural events, and sprinkled within are biblical and other holy book references.

Adil-Smith finishes the story with a fascinating explanation of the Jonestown incident with the unsettling tape-recorded confession of a Jim Jones follower. Their faith started with convincing visions of heaven. But after peeling away the magical veneer, underneath was the hell described eons ago in Freeman’s ancient stone tablets. Drinking the poison-laced purple fruit drink was truly the lesser of the Jonestown’s evils.

Fantasy fans that enjoy well-told twisty yarns would enjoy being tangled up in A Gathering of Twine. Be warned, there are chilly ruined lives in this story, and the delicious devils are so convincing. They will have you reaching for that purple drink in no time.
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on 9 April 2014

A Gathering Of Twine is a book within a book. Set in the future the story deals with a man who believes he has solved the story of where we come from, what religion has it right and whether or not we matter to the big creator. While not my usual genre, it does have a dystopia feel, along with some fantasy and horror. Adil-Smith is an excellent writer who uses this book to show different accounts of real life events that will lead to the main characters manuscript being confirmed, and hopefully published.

The story starts with Freeman hurrying around what is left of London on his way to a meeting with his publisher. Apparently a well known and respected author, he has seemingly been putting off meetings and missing deadlines. While there is not as much information about the world at the time of the story, it is implied that things have not gotten any better with age. Freeman talks of "the three" and how he has already killed one of them to escape, and the story moves on from there. He has to convince his publisher, Dani to take a risk and actually publish his controversial manuscript. Something Freeman wants her to do before the "three" catch up with him and silence him forever.

The story is fast-paced, well written and interesting to read. I found myself desperate to find out what the links between his story were and once they were revealed I wanted to find the next one too. It's a page turner and leaves you wanting more. I will most likely be reading the next book in the series which has recently been released.

A great story, 5 stars and highly recommended to those who love the fantasy, futuristic and horror genres.
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on 1 October 2013
Holy sonfa... This is real "keep the lights on" horror. I don't know if I've felt this excited about a new author since the first time I read Carrie by stephen king.

I won't spoil the plot, but there a few of points you need to know. Firstly, it is not just the great attention to detail, but it's the way the author has interwoven real events. I found myself thinking "this rings a bell", and when I look it up... there it was. The eclipse in Scotland, Rev Jim Jones, Paternoster House exploding. Obviously, the events are fictionalized but the way the central theme is interwoven makes you wonder "what if..."

... And because of that, the author does make you start to think "well it could be". At that is where it becomes unnerving. I take the subway a lot... and my ears pop, and I do see the same strangers day in and day out... but I don't know them, yet we look at each other and smile like we do. And all these happen in the story, and it raises questions I don't want to ask and certainly don't want answered.

Finally, if you are incapable of having a reasoned religious discussion, then this book is not for you. It paints the notion of "creation" in a very different way, and if you are easily offended by any other notion of "God" and what your book tells you then you will be incapable of reading this with any degree of reason.

A great book and a gripping read.
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