Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Kindle Price: £4.99

Save £4.00 (44%)

includes VAT*
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

The Strangler Vine: The Blake and Avery Mystery Series (Book 1) (Blake & Avery) by [Carter, M. J.]
Audible Narration
Playing...
Loading...
Paused
Kindle App Ad

The Strangler Vine: The Blake and Avery Mystery Series (Book 1) (Blake & Avery) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in Blake & Avery (3 Book Series)

See all 15 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
£4.99

Length: 402 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible Narration:
Audible Narration
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of £5.49 after you buy the Kindle book.
Ready

Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deals: Books from 99p
Sign-up to the Kindle Daily Deal email newsletter to discover daily deals from 99p.

Complete Series
Get a £1 reward for movies or TV
Enjoy a £1.00 reward to spend on movies or TV on Amazon Video when you purchase any Amazon Kindle Book from the Kindle Store (excluding Kindle Unlimited, Periodicals and free Kindle Books) offered by Amazon.co.uk. A maximum of 1 reward per customer applies. UK customers only. Offer ends at 23:59 on Wednesday, September 27, 2017. Terms and conditions apply


Product description

Review

Praise for THE STRANGLER VINE
"Totally engrossing -- the sort of story that makes you forget that there are other books stacked next to your bed, waiting to be read."--Michael Lewis, The New York Times Book Review
"Enthralling . . . The Strangler Vine is more than just a picturesque quest through exotic lands. Carter makes a subtle critique of how fact and fiction, myth and history intertwine."--The Washington Post
"The Strangler Vine is a splendid novel with an enthralling story, a wonderfully drawn atmosphere, and an exotic mystery that captivated me."--Bernard Cornwell
"Thoroughly researched . . . entertaining . . . This tale of two ill-yoked companions involved in conspiracy and betrayal is a welcome addition to the surprisingly thin body of novels about the great and at times appalling imperial adventure."--The Wall Street Journal
"Wonderful reading, I just couldn't put it down."--Nancy Pearl
"[A] yarn reminiscent of adventures by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."--The New York Post
"M. J. Carter has given her readers a cracking-good old-style adventure yarn. There is mystery, murder, highway robbery, a sinister religious cult, a tiger hunt and danger and intrigue everywhere. . . . Carter, adept with a delightful turn of phrase, paints a vivid picture of mid-19th-century India, from the teeming bazaars to the pricely palaces, while exploring the "strangler vine" of British rule in India. Highly recommended."--The Free Lance Star
"Shades of H. Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling! Fans of the old-school adventure genre, in which brave heroes plunge into an unspeakable wilderness, finding danger at every step, should rejoice. . . . An absolute corker of a read, with marvelous characterization and trenchant historical analysis."--Booklist (starred review)
"Superior fiction debut . . . The quest takes some surprising turns, and Carter is masterly at keeping the reader guessing what's really going on. The final revelation is jaw-dropping"--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"From the thrilling prolog to the satisfying conclusion, former journalist and nonfiction author Carter's first foray into fiction hooks the reader into a ripping adventure ride, full of danger, conspiracy, and trickery. Carter's clever historical thriller is a winner. The details of life in 1830s India are enthralling, as is the history of the Thugs. Historical fiction fans who love action, adventure, and intrigue supported by incredible research will devour this novel, which was longlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction."--Library Journal (starred review)
"In the great detective novel tradition of The Moonstone and the Sherlock Holmes series, by way of The Glass Books trilogy, Carter's debut is a thriller set in 1837 India. Two mismatched men from the East India Company, William Avery and Jeremiah Blake, are sent off to rescue Byronic poet-adventurer Xavier Mountstuart from a murderous sect of Kali worshippers. With gorgeous historical detail and deft characterization, Carter creates a rip-roaring detective romp -- while also casting a gimlet eye on the effects of British imperialism and colonization of India."--Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times-bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series
"This is a gripping story of conspiracy and betrayal set in an early Victorian India that is rendered with complete conviction. And as a historian, the author offers a thought-provoking re-interpretation of the Thuggee story."--Charles Palliser, international bestselling author of The Quincunx
"M. J. Carter has cooked up a spicy dish: a pinch of Moonstone, a dash of Sherlock and a soupcon of Fu Manchu added to a rich stew of John Masters. A splendid romp and just the job for a cold winter's evening in front of a blazing fire"--William Dalrymple, author of White Mugals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
"An exciting fictional debut . . . The Strangler Vine represents what must be a lifetime spent reading and soaking up Indian history and geography: you feel yourself to be in India -- in its grand palaces and its bazaars; in its colonial offices and in its jungles. Clothes, food, languages, and the physical appearance of all the characters, Indian and European, are evoked with Tolstoyan freshness . . . As well as being a rattling good yarn in the traditions of GA Henty or Rudyard Kipling, this is also a well-informed and enlightened modern book that has a properly skeptical view of imperialist propaganda. I do not remember when I enjoyed a novel more than this."--AN Wilson, the Financial Times
"A strangler vine is a plant that chokes the life out of its host tree. In this erudite thriller, MJ Carter uses the image to describe the relationship between the East India Company and the colonized country being suffocated in its grip . . . fresh and original with many surprises in store . . . history subtly and intelligently entwines itself around a cracking good plot."--London Evening Standard
"Lots of fast-moving drama, but [also] a carefully researched setting in early Victorian India . . . Carter gives us delicious descriptions of the wonderful court of a Rao, or Rajah: the hunting cheetahs, elephants wound about with golden chains. There are horrors too: the famine surrounding this dazzling wealth, the criminals executed by elephant-trampling. But ever onwards through the jungle presses the gallant young Avery, encountering treachery and violence, finally triumphing after many perils as a hero should. It's a great read, white tigers and all."--The Independent
"[An] excellent first novel . . . It blends John Masters, William Boyd, Wilkie Collins, and the Conan Doyle of Brigadier Gerard and the more orientalist Holmes stories to create a witty and entrancing historical thriller. . . . An inspired mix of sensation novel and odd-couple road novel, The Strangler Vine has a smirking sense of the absurdity of the whole colonial project."--The Guardian
"The best elements of an old-fashioned ripping yarn unite with a plot that makes clever use of recent historical ideas about the British in India in MJ Carter's The Strangler Vine . . . Carter's twisting, devious narrative is enhanced by her vigorous prose and her convincing delineation of her chief characters, whose further adventures, already announced, can be keenly anticipated."--Sunday Times
"The story is exciting, the mystery real and its setting vividly evoked...I am already looking forward to the next one."--The Literary Review
"The Strangler Vine is a considerable achievement, which left me waiting impatiently for a promised sequel."--The Times
"Intelligent, extensively researched and packed with period detail, The Strangler Vine evokes both the attitudes of the British colonials and the India of the period."--Metro
"A meticulously researched historical novel with a subversive and startling sting in its tail."--The Spectator

Praise for THE STRANGLER VINE
-Totally engrossing -- the sort of story that makes you forget that there are other books stacked next to your bed, waiting to be read.---Michael Lewis, The New York Times Book Review
-Enthralling . . . The Strangler Vine is more than just a picturesque quest through exotic lands. Carter makes a subtle critique of how fact and fiction, myth and history intertwine.---The Washington Post
-The Strangler Vine is a splendid novel with an enthralling story, a wonderfully drawn atmosphere, and an exotic mystery that captivated me.---Bernard Cornwell
-Thoroughly researched . . . entertaining . . . This tale of two ill-yoked companions involved in conspiracy and betrayal is a welcome addition to the surprisingly thin body of novels about the great and at times appalling imperial adventure.---The Wall Street Journal
-Wonderful reading, I just couldn't put it down.---Nancy Pearl
-[A] yarn reminiscent of adventures by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.---The New York Post
-M. J. Carter has given her readers a cracking-good old-style adventure yarn. There is mystery, murder, highway robbery, a sinister religious cult, a tiger hunt and danger and intrigue everywhere. . . . Carter, adept with a delightful turn of phrase, paints a vivid picture of mid-19th-century India, from the teeming bazaars to the pricely palaces, while exploring the -strangler vine- of British rule in India. Highly recommended.---The Free Lance Star
-Shades of H. Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling! Fans of the old-school adventure genre, in which brave heroes plunge into an unspeakable wilderness, finding danger at every step, should rejoice. . . . An absolute corker of a read, with marvelous characterization and trenchant historical analysis.---Booklist (starred review)
-Superior fiction debut . . . The quest takes some surprising turns, and Carter is masterly at keeping the reader guessing what's really going on. The final revelation is jaw-dropping---Publishers Weekly (starred review)
-From the thrilling prolog to the satisfying conclusion, former journalist and nonfiction author Carter's first foray into fiction hooks the reader into a ripping adventure ride, full of danger, conspiracy, and trickery. Carter's clever historical thriller is a winner. The details of life in 1830s India are enthralling, as is the history of the Thugs. Historical fiction fans who love action, adventure, and intrigue supported by incredible research will devour this novel, which was longlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.---Library Journal (starred review)
-In the great detective novel tradition of The Moonstone and the Sherlock Holmes series, by way of The Glass Books trilogy, Carter's debut is a thriller set in 1837 India. Two mismatched men from the East India Company, William Avery and Jeremiah Blake, are sent off to rescue Byronic poet-adventurer Xavier Mountstuart from a murderous sect of Kali worshippers. With gorgeous historical detail and deft characterization, Carter creates a rip-roaring detective romp -- while also casting a gimlet eye on the effects of British imperialism and colonization of India.---Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times-bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series
-This is a gripping story of conspiracy and betrayal set in an early Victorian India that is rendered with complete conviction. And as a historian, the author offers a thought-provoking re-interpretation of the Thuggee story.---Charles Palliser, international bestselling author of The Quincunx
-M. J. Carter has cooked up a spicy dish: a pinch of Moonstone, a dash of Sherlock and a soupcon of Fu Manchu added to a rich stew of John Masters. A splendid romp and just the job for a cold winter's evening in front of a blazing fire---William Dalrymple, author of White Mugals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
-An exciting fictional debut . . . The Strangler Vine represents what must be a lifetime spent reading and soaking up Indian history and geography: you feel yourself to be in India -- in its grand palaces and its bazaars; in its colonial offices and in its jungles. Clothes, food, languages, and the physical appearance of all the characters, Indian and European, are evoked with Tolstoyan freshness . . . As well as being a rattling good yarn in the traditions of GA Henty or Rudyard Kipling, this is also a well-informed and enlightened modern book that has a properly skeptical view of imperialist propaganda. I do not remember when I enjoyed a novel more than this.---AN Wilson, the Financial Times
-A strangler vine is a plant that chokes the life out of its host tree. In this erudite thriller, MJ Carter uses the image to describe the relationship between the East India Company and the colonized country being suffocated in its grip . . . fresh and original with many surprises in store . . . history subtly and intelligently entwines itself around a cracking good plot.---London Evening Standard
-Lots of fast-moving drama, but [also] a carefully researched setting in early Victorian India . . . Carter gives us delicious descriptions of the wonderful court of a Rao, or Rajah: the hunting cheetahs, elephants wound about with golden chains. There are horrors too: the famine surrounding this dazzling wealth, the criminals executed by elephant-trampling. But ever onwards through the jungle presses the gallant young Avery, encountering treachery and violence, finally triumphing after many perils as a hero should. It's a great read, white tigers and all.---The Independent
-[An] excellent first novel . . . It blends John Masters, William Boyd, Wilkie Collins, and the Conan Doyle of Brigadier Gerard and the more orientalist Holmes stories to create a witty and entrancing historical thriller. . . . An inspired mix of sensation novel and odd-couple road novel, The Strangler Vine has a smirking sense of the absurdity of the whole colonial project.---The Guardian
-The best elements of an old-fashioned ripping yarn unite with a plot that makes clever use of recent historical ideas about the British in India in MJ Carter's The Strangler Vine . . . Carter's twisting, devious narrative is enhanced by her vigorous prose and her convincing delineation of her chief characters, whose further adventures, already announced, can be keenly anticipated.---Sunday Times
-The story is exciting, the mystery real and its setting vividly evoked...I am already looking forward to the next one.---The Literary Review
-The Strangler Vine is a considerable achievement, which left me waiting impatiently for a promised sequel.---The Times
-Intelligent, extensively researched and packed with period detail, The Strangler Vine evokes both the attitudes of the British colonials and the India of the period.---Metro
-A meticulously researched historical novel with a subversive and startling sting in its tail.---The Spectator

About the Author

M. J. Carter is a former journalist and the author of two acclaimed works of nonfiction, Anthony Blunt: His Lives and George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I. She is married with two sons and lives in London.

From the Hardcover edition.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1957 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (30 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FHLBYGQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #35,258 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  • Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
    If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great read which presents an authentic portrait of my country. As someone who speaks 'hindoostanee' almost as well as Jeremiah Blake, I admired the accuracy of every detail in the book. It is a nuanced picture of India which underpins a great yarn told with skill and flair. A tour de force or as, Blake might have said, yeh kitab ek toofan hai.
Comment 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 9 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is not at all the type of novel I would normally be drawn to, but the storyline sounded highly intriguing, and I'm thoroughly glad I did read it, because I thought it was brilliant.

In Calcutta, September 1873 young William Avery, an Ensign in the army of the East India Company is sent to deliver a letter from the Company to Jeremiah Blake, an ex-Company man whose `native ways' have left him in some disfavour among many of the Company. Blake is an enigmatic and difficult man and Avery dislikes him on first meeting. But within a very short time Avery and Blake are thrown together by the Company, sending them out together to find Xavier Mountstuart, who has apparently gone into the "jangal" researching his next writing work, a poem about Thuggee.

The narration in this book is by Avery, a rather naïve young man who finds himself on a journey he never contemplated taking with a man he cannot bring himself to like, and three natives - travelling hard and fast from Calcutta to Jubbulpore, their journey then veers off to Doora, under the rule of the Rao who the Company are keeping a close eye on, all the while still trying to find Mountstuart but being drawn into the politics and cultural unrest of nineteenth century India, struggling under famine and Company rule.

This is a great book; the narrative of Avery brings the uncertainty of his journey and his frame of mind to the fore, and this book turns from what could be a simple journey to find Mountstuart into a story where nobody quite knows who can be trusted, or what might happen next. The exotic surroundings and unfamiliar culture in which Avery finds himself are also exotic and unfamiliar to the reader (well, certainly to me) and this heightens the interest and excitement of the narrative as it races along to a well-formed and very satisfying conclusion. I am delighted that there is to be a sequel, The Infidel Stain, which I look forward to reading immensely. Great stuff.
2 Comments 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
A well written and enthralling mystery set in India in the 1830s. The East India Company, a pre-runner to the British Raj, rules the country and has an increasingly dismissive attitude to the native people. The novel is narrated in the first person by William Avery, a young officer in the company's own army, who is sent on a mission together with bad-tempered former solider Jeremiah Blake to find a missing famous poet. Their quest uncovers rather more than the celebrated scribbler, and soon they're embroiled in a dangerous plot. There's plenty of action to be had, and suspense, and the underlying mystery is interesting and not entirely predictable.

Comparisons with Sherlock Holmes are well made - the Avery and Blake partnership is very much in the same mould. Avery is a hugely likeable character whilst Blake is fascinating. There is a strong cast of supporting characters and Carter has the gift of making readers care about characters in a short space of time, which makes you feel invested in the novel. Whilst I had a suspicion about one element of the story, I didn't see most of the denouement coming and there was a twist I wasn't expecting. It's an original idea for a story, and the setting also makes it interesting. Some of the attitudes displayed by the Brits will make modern readers wince, but that's how it was and it never hurts to be reminded how ugly and stupid racism is.

This is a fairly long book but it doesn't feel that way - it's easy to read, entertaining, and the story takes the time it needs to take. The characters are interesting and the key ones are likeable, and it is enlightening about a particular period of history.
Read more ›
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
1837: The East India Company is a vast trading operation that uses its powers as a quasi-military force to keep the vast indigenous population under its many-tentacled control. Avery is a young officer with a strong moral compass and he is a keen observer; his lowly position in 'the Company' allows him to be the detached onlooker and, as such, he is an engaging narrator.

The Company teams Avery up with undercover agent Blake, an older man whose best days, it would seem, are behind him. They are dispatched to find revered poet, Xavier Mountstuart, who has mysteriously disappeared in remote territory. Could Mountstuart have been kidnapped or even killed by a murderous bandit gang known as 'Thuggee'?

At first, The Strangler Vine is an entertaining well-paced read, fascinating in its description of the Indian hierarchy, imperial power politics and the sometimes beautiful, sometimes brutal landscape. However, as an ever-increasing number of duplicitous characters, murderous Thugs and blatant metaphors creep out of the 'jangal' undergrowth, the whole thing descends into pantomime heroics and villainy. The last third of the book is such implausible nonsense that I'm afraid I lost patience with it. Having said that, the first chapter of the next Avery adventure (to be found at the end of the book) does sound remarkably intriguing....
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

click to open popover