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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 11 August 2014
I may have grown more critical over the years but I did not think this a very good book by Goddard standards. None of the subtle tension of his older books, very flat characters, and characters that turn from bad guy into good guy and vice versa in a very implausible way. The plot deserves a better story. The obligation to buy two more books to find out 'who did it' is a shameless all-time low in commercialism, of course. I for one won't buy them! Goddard has done his readers and himself a very bad turn.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 12 August 2013
"The world turns on a sixpence. Nothing can be foretold. Certainty lies only in the actual."

I've read a few of Goddard's books over the years, and always thoroughly enjoyed them. I was very intrigued by the setting of this book, in Paris in 1919 where statesmen, diplomats and politicans are gathered at the Peace Conference to discuss the future of Europe and the wider world in the aftermath of the Great War. James Maxted is looking to the future after the War, preparing to set up a flying school, convinced that the air was the future. But abruptly, his plans change, when his father Sir Henry Maxted is killed in an accident.

This is a fantastic spy thriller from early twentieth-century Paris and London; full of action, mayhem, intrigue, double-crossing and more. Cryptic notes, untrustworthy allies, pasts which are now haunting their owners. Absolutely fantastic with non-stop action but characters that are drawn brilliantly and which leap off the page for the reader.

I am surprised that some reviewers have complained that this book offers a sequel. Books do not suffer in and of themselves if they are sufficiently fully populated as to allow a sequel to continue the longer narrative. For this book, in itself, it offers a neat ending to the initial part of the story, so there is no need to read any sequel if you cannot bring yourself to do so. For my part, I cannot wait for the next instalment of Max's journey to find out the secrets that his father appears to have lived by, and to find his own path in the post-War world. Brilliant stuff.
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on 6 August 2013
I never thought I would feel cheated by a Robert Goddard novel, but "The Ways of the World" has left a nasty aftertaste, or sensation akin to being duped by a second-hand car dealer. I am not surprised that the cover price has been slashed by almost a third only a couple of weeks after launch. How on earth can any writer consider writing what was developing into an outstanding mystery - and then not bothering to finish it?
I have seen many unusual constructions in my literary experiences, but to effectively tail off mid-chapter and be faced with "To be continued" did come as something of a suprise, to say the least. If this was intended from the start to require a sequel, or be a part of a trilogy, why on earth was that not made clear from the start? And even writers who adopt that practise usually ensure that each separately sold segment had self-contained plots but developed continuous themes.
There is no doubt "Ways of the World" was developing into one of Goddard's best-yet mysteries, with sufficient uncertainty, duplicity and historical ambiguity to keep readers gripped. But to pull the rug out at the very end will ensure I have absolutely no desire to pay another hefty price to find out what Goddard should have delivered for my original investment. It's a great pity that having read all his previous novels our relationship should have to end like this.
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on 7 July 2013
I ordered Robert Goddard's latest book on the day of publication (Thursday), it arrived Friday and I began reading it that evening. I finished it 24 hours later. It's been a while since I've been gripped to read a book that quickly. The shorter chapters certainly helped - in fact, they're not even numbered as chapters - the scene ends and a new scene begins on a new page - and as a result, the story hurls along at a cracking pace. I believe this is the first of a trilogy, and when I learned of this I was concerned. (Having just watched the film version of The Hobbit, where the first part just stops, I was worried Goddard might do the same.) I needn't have worried, though. This book neatly resolves the main quest, and then sets the scene for the questions that need answering in part 2. Brilliant.

The only downside to reading the book so quickly is that I now ave longer to wait until part 2 is published!
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on 26 July 2013
I am a great fan of Robert Goddard & to date have read all his books. Ways of the World was a great read BUT why was there no indication at all that this book is only Part 1. Had I known I would have waited until all part(s) were available to read. This book would normally warrant a 5* star rating, but the aforementioned disappointment/frustration takes it to 3*. Presumably it is the fault of the publishers?
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on 11 July 2013
Robert Goddard wrote some superb mystery thrillers in the 80s and 90s. He then wrote a book called Sea Change which was poor and a whole string of mediocre books after that. Last year's effort was an improvement but The Ways of the World is as good as anything he has written for many a year. The plot is based on historical events. There are twists and turns throughout. I didn't realise this was part of a series until I got to the end but if the next two books are of the same standard there are further treats in store.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 26 December 2014
"The world turns on a sixpence. Nothing can be foretold. Certainty lies only in the actual."

I've read a few of Goddard's books over the years, and always thoroughly enjoyed them. I was very intrigued by the setting of this book, in Paris in 1919 where statesmen, diplomats and politicans are gathered at the Peace Conference to discuss the future of Europe and the wider world in the aftermath of the Great War. James Maxted is looking to the future after the War, preparing to set up a flying school, convinced that the air was the future. But abruptly, his plans change, when his father Sir Henry Maxted is killed in an accident.

This is a fantastic spy thriller from early twentieth-century Paris and London; full of action, mayhem, intrigue, double-crossing and more. Cryptic notes, untrustworthy allies, pasts which are now haunting their owners. Absolutely fantastic with non-stop action but characters that are drawn brilliantly and which leap off the page for the reader.

I am surprised that some reviewers have complained that this book offers a sequel. Books do not suffer in and of themselves if they are sufficiently fully populated as to allow a sequel to continue the longer narrative. For this book, in itself, it offers a neat ending to the initial part of the story, so there is no need to read any sequel if you cannot bring yourself to do so. For my part, I cannot wait for the next instalment of Max's journey to find out the secrets that his father appears to have lived by, and to find his own path in the post-War world. Brilliant stuff.
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on 13 August 2013
I always enjoy books by this author, even though they often follow a similar format. There are always twists and turns and I am usually surprised by the final outcome. This time I was totally unsure what the ending would be and VERY surprised at the end to find the words "to be continued"! He has not done that before! What I want to know now is - when is the sequel coming out please?
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on 15 September 2013
I feel that this book is a bit of a rip-off, nowhere on the cover does it suggest that it is just the first part in a series. The story goes fine, until, almost in mid sentence you are informed that it is "To be continued." Not even a suggestion of when part 2 will be published, or how many parts there will be.

A bad case of "Lectio Interuptus!"
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on 10 July 2015
Read the book, but would not bother with the other 2 books of this series. How did max afford to live in Paris. He was a prisoner of war for 18 months before & before that he flew a plane in the war. He had no job & no independent means. At the end of the book there is a message left in a bottle at the chemist. Why did he go into the chemist. There was no reason given, unless I missed something.
All the questions are not answered in the first book. You have to buy the 2nd book and presumably the 3rd as well, to find the answers. A lot of authors seem to be doing this lately.
He started off searching for his father's murderer & ended searching for a German spymaster.

I have read a lot of Robert Goddard books and most of them are mysteries that are unravelled at the end, This book was poor, in my opinion, by comparison.
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