October Skies Paperback – 21 Aug 2008
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This is a fascinating timeslip mystery. There's always a risk of imbalance with a past/present narrative, but Scarrow manages the division well, keeping up the suspense on both sides of the story. He's particularly good on the pioneers' struggle against the elements, and the atmosphere of distrust between the native Indian population and the travellers. (Laura Wilson THE GUARDIAN)
"October Skies is a real page turner. It offers a thought-provoking insight into religious fanatasicm and how human fear can destroy the very foundations of life as we know it. Will fascinate and terrify you in equal measure." (Julia Ogden PETERBOROUGH EVENING TELEGRAPH)
Scarrow brilliantly brings to life the mountains and the desperation of a battle to survive the onslaught of winter. The set-up of October Skies is excellent. (MATERIAL WITNESS)
"A change of pace, but not of quality, for the author of the near-future shocker Last Light. Well researched and written with much authoritative detail, October Skies sheds light on a compelling period of American history. This is a thoroughly gripping tale." (CRIME TIME)
Alex Scarrow, after only three books with very varied settings, has demonstrated he has the ability to write gripping, page-turning thrillers and is clearly a name to watch out for. (Mike Ripley CRIME FILE) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The stunning new thriller from one of the fastest-growing stars of the genreSee all Product description
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in the 1800's the story centres around the Mormons who have some very dark secrets amongst them. Once the wagon train is held up by snow the mood becomes very dark and events quickly turn gruesome.
The modern day story is more political and a little less interesting. I'm not sure why the two main characters have this apparent 'will they won't they' thing going on. It really doesn't work and seems totally unnecessary.
The ending is a little contrived for my liking and how someone manages to escape the wilderness with a broken femur is beyond belief. Still, a gripping tale and well worth a go.
Alex Scarrow has written another book that I found hard to put down. The third novel from Alex and he goes from strength to strength, all three books are very different from each other in the story line but all share the same quality of plot and writing.
Buy it, as a third book your no longer just taking a punt on this author as he has truly established himself in his craft and October Skies won't disappoint!
In October Skies, one of Scarrow's books for adults, the author turns his attention to parallel tales, one taking place in the 1850s in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, and the other set during the presidential elections of 2008. When journalist Julian Cooke comes across the wheel of a wagon, lost in the woods, he realises that he may have found another `Donner Incident', the remains of another wagon trail that vanished to history and became lost in myth and folklore, which here focuses upon a figure known locally as the Rag Man. Julian's suspicions and interest are increased when he also finds buried a journal.
This novel, then, moves between the technoworld of the present day journalists and the past world of the journal, written by Ben Lambert, a man searching for adventure and inspiration among the pioneers of the wagon trains. He travels with a group that mainly comprises Mormons who have left others of their religion and instead have chosen to follow their charismatic leader Preston into the unknown. When winter draws in earlier than expected, the mountains prove impossible to cross, and so the travellers must become settlers, surviving in the most inhospitable of environments while trying to maintain civility. This all falls to pieces when a woman is found brutally murdered in the woods. Something is let loose.
This gripping story, which is so vivid you can almost share the intense cold, hunger and fear of the travellers, is told alongside that of Julian Cooke and his friends. As he tries to hold onto his exclusive, Julian slowly becomes aware that forces are as much at work against him as they were against Ben Franklin. As the mystery grows, and its significance increases, the danger becomes more intense, especially when it becomes clear that Cooke's discovery may have an impact on the presidential election currently underway.
October Skies is horror, thriller and historical fiction combined. We can be in no doubt that something terrifying has gripped the camp of suffering settlers as they try in vain to keep the other world of the wood from their camp and keep a grip on their religion. While these scenes from the 1850s are scene stealers, I did find myself continually wanting to remain in whichever of the stories I found myself at the time. With twists and turns, madness and ghosts around every corner and behind every tree, Ben and Joseph are in great danger. While I admit that I may be easier to frighten than many, October Skies is deliciously chilly.
The setting presented the author a rich vein of decsriptive text which was highly evocative.
There is increasing popularity with solving crimes buried in the past like "Waking the Dead" which has proved very popular.
This novel switched seamlessly from the 1850's to 2008 and this worked alot better than I imagined.
However it did become somewhat tedious at times and the main character Julian seemed a bit gormless.
For example the author introduced key clues during the book which Julian seemed slow to cotton on to and in some cases not at all.
There was also the incident with Dr Tom Grifiths which seemed to go completely undetected after the event happened.
It seemed like either superficial padding or the author not joining the dots.
I crawled to the end and whilst there was a final twist felt slightly let down by the end of it.
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