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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
14

on 3 April 2011
This is a marvellous book. Set in mid-nineteenth-century London, it has a noble hero, an intriguing anti hero, a sexy love interest and a selection of cameo characters, ranging from the seedy to the bazaar to the tragic. The plot is big, elaborate and tightly woven, but with enough messy elaborations that it speaks of real life. It's divided into subchapters which makes it easy to dip in and out of, and periodic detours (into newspaper stories and, at one, point music hall) spice-up the narrative.

While ostensibly historical crime-busting fiction, you'll learn an enormous amount about nineteenth-century London from reading it. Anyone who lives in twenty-first-century London will be fascinated by the light it casts on the process which brought the great metropolis to its current state and character.

People often talk of how the twentieth century was a period of transformation. This book reminds one of how - in Britain at least - the structural changes which turned a post-medieval world into the modern one fundamentally played themselves out in the century before. It's telling how many epoch-defining people were running around London at the time (Darwin, Dickens, Marx and Brunel, to name a few), several of whom make cameos in Mr Sutton's wonderful book.
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on 13 February 2018
William Sutton is a wonderful and descriptive Author who researches his material, meticulously, do not hesitate to start reading from the start. D
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on 4 June 2016
Looking forward to reading this on my holiday!!
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on 18 January 2012
A quality piece of historical crime writing. Set in London in 1859, this is the first of what will hopefully become a long-running series of Victorian detective novels featuring young police recruit Campbell Lawless of (the then brand new) Scotland Yard. With an ingenious plot to rival those of Arthur Conan Doyle himself, this gripping novel sets off at a cracking pace and doesn't let up. Nineteenth century London is so well evoked that you can almost smell it and Campbell's attempts to capture the enigmatic social revolutionary who's determined to bring London to its knees makes for a furious page turner. Comparable with George MacDonald Fraser in terms of style, historical accuracy and sheer entertainment, WORMS is packed with a wide array of incredible (realistic) fictional characters, as well as plenty of entertaining walk on parts from the likes of Dickens and Marx. Highly recommended.
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on 11 April 2011
A magnificently evocative novel that I could not put down from page 1 to 363. The author combines an outstanding quality of historical novelistic writing with the traditional crime genre. We are plunged into the dynamic, chaotic, exciting London of 1859 as Great Britain was forging ahead its global empire, but domestically the revolutions and social changes were equally explosive and powerful. The research undertaken for the fictional backdrop and context has been Herculean and quite brilliant. The writing has imagistic, olfactory, sonic, gustatory, and tactile genius. You could feel yourself walking the streets of London at this time. Sutton's central character Campbell Lawless is one of the most intriguing and interesting personalities to emerge in recent new crime fiction. He could be the focus of a brilliant television series. We want to read more from this talented new author.

*****
In the light of the scandal about fake, malicious and manipulated reviews on Amazon, I am happy to declare the interest that I was the professional director of 2 of the authors' radio plays, and one play in live professional theatre. We have remained in infrequent contact in terms of professional acquaintance.
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on 11 October 2006
I bought this book on the back of a good review in The Scotsman and was not disappointed.

Will Sutton is a real talent with a distinctive voice. He has obviously put in a tremendous amount of research into early 1860s London, but his novel wears this lightly. The detective story is exciting, the settings atmospheric, the discursions into Victorian culture provocative, the dialogue lively and vernacular. The narrative voice nods its head to the great Victorian novelists, without descending into pastiche. There are some laugh-out-loud moments too.

All in all this is an extraordinary debut and I already can't wait for the next Campbell Lawless mystery.
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on 15 September 2006
I was not too sure at first, but I was immediately captured by the atmosphere and `picture' of Victorian London.

It took me a little time to get into the story, characters, and style of writing, but after a while, and as the pace of the story quickened, the more I read, the more I wanted to read. I especially enjoyed the touches of humour.

Having now finished the book, I miss the characters, especially `Worm' and `Campbell Lawless', and find myself thinking about the storyline and its complexities. I look forward to more novels by this author. All in all a good read. JILL GILBERT
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on 1 October 2006
This is a beautifully written and utterly absorbing novel. A page-turner of the highest order which resonates historically, intellectually, politically, and most strikingly, linguistically: Sutton's use of the English language and turn of phrase is quite brilliant, and sets him apart as a writer of the highest order.

Set in the volatile underbelly of Victorian London, a city obsessed with the relentless march of progress yet rotten to the core with corporate greed and inequality, this is a blast from the capital's past which brilliantly mirrors our own troubled and nervous times.

And it's very funny. Wonderfully anachronistic with legions of fabulous contemporary references to spot - full Marx (that's Karl and Groucho). This is a novel which is both challenging and supremely witty: London will never feel the same to me again.

You must buy this book. Or better still join the British Library in Euston and read it there. Or better still break into the British Library and read it there.
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on 15 September 2006
The author has a sense of fun combined with a depth of knowledge to convey place and time. Almost akin to fantasy writing the Worms inhabit a world that was once actually real no matter how strange. Their world is imaginatively portrayed in the gendre of mystery and adventure. An excellent read from this first novelist, and I for one look forward to more. In the modern world of publishing it is rare to find something new and fresh so pass this one on by word of mouth so we get to follow William Sutton's rise to fame.
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on 18 November 2006
I was a little suspicious of the title at first, and then I went to a book reading of 'The Worms', given by William Sutton, and I bought the book without hesitation. William Sutton does have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Victoriana, and an eye for detail. However, none of this would be of any consequence without a great plot and good characters. The book is both atmospheric and very readable. Thoroughly enjoyable. I await the next Campbell Lawless novel with anticipation!
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