- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 46 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 8 Sept. 2015
- Language: English
- ASIN: B014WQOK1M
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Shelter Audiobook – Unabridged
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This sees Brenchley return to the crime genre, he last visited with Paradise - indeed, this has been described as a companion to that volume.
This is more reminiscent of Brenchley's early works - murder, mystery and an unlikely hero who really isn't very heroic. There is not the "dark fantasy" that flavoured Dead of Light, Light Errant or Dispossession.
As ever, Brenchley's prose draws the reader in, and carries the story along. The scenery is evoked brilliantly, the characters carefully drawn, and very engaging, and the story unfolds with the gnawing sense of unease and horror that characterised earlier novels such as The Samaritan and The Garden.
And yet, this novel has flaws. The story is nothing new, and doesn't quite develop as fully as you expect, leaving several questions frustratingly unanswered. Sat next to any of the other novels Brenchley has produced in the last decade, this novel just isn't as good.
If you can lay your hands on a copy of Paradise, I would urge you to do so. But, since much of Chaz Brenchley's earlier works seem to have fallen into a black hole, I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to know how this master got started. And if you can remember the days before Dead of Light and Dispossession, this novel is worth it just for the feeling of nostalgia.
Beside which, Chaz Brenchley is always a pleasure to read - this may not be his best work by a long shot, but it's very, very well worth reading.
Rowan is the cleverest boy in the dale, the one who gets a place at Cambridge - but when his friend and rival there is murdered, he comes home looking for the security of familiar people and places. Rowan's mother is a professional teller of tales, so he knows how to tell a story, and one of the major pleasures of the book is watching how he does this: how the names "David" and "Juliet" appear, for example, as people who matter to Rowan, but how gradually we learn who they are, and why they matter. By the end of the book, all the answers have been given, all the pieces of the jigsaw are in the box - but the reader still has to work to put the puzzle together!
Rowan's shelter is a beautifully described northern valley, all dry stone walls, wide starry skies and atmospheric forests, but it too is threatened, by planners who want to construct a reservoir, but also by New Age travellers who plan to camp there for the winter.
There is plenty of action, sudden death and conflict; but there is also the deep satisfaction of a tale skilfully told. It's a beautiful book, to be read more than once.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
One of the most famous sentences Frost wrote describes home as the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in; and the narrator of this story, Rowan Coffey, finds himself, in his first year at university, desperate needing to go back to a place that will take him in when a classmate is murdered. When he gets home, though, his hopes for shelter and succor are shown to be desperately fragile. How far will Rowan go to preserve his shelter?
The answer to that unrolls in what appears, at first, to be a simple ribbon but soon shows itself as complicated as the situation Rowan fled from, and it is far from easy to determine where the various burdens of guilt and complicity should lie. By the time I had finished this book, I wanted to read it all over again, and its impact was not diluted the second time around. The chill of the harsh landscape of northern England had settled in my bones, and the weight of Rowan's experiences and new knowledge was not easily set aside.