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on 6 May 2011
Well this was a bit of a departure from the norm, a Pyke mystery with a distinct Celtic flavour!

I found the fist chapter or two completely disorientating if I'm honest as the author has two story threads. Part one being Pyke is called to Merthyr Tydfil to investigate the kidknapping of a young boy. Part two sees young Irish Constable Knox investigating the death of what seems to a detective from London! whose corpse has ended up in Tipperary. But this thread is set a couple of months into the future. The author then switches from one story line to the other till they gradually begin to jion up.

Readers should know young constable Knox is given as much story time as Pyke himself so this had a very different feel to a typical Pyke mystery and again I have to confess the first 100 pages did drag a bit for this reader at least and only my faith in the author and affection for Pyke kept me going. But I am very glad I did because the last two thirds were brilliant!!

Expect lots of architypically evil landowners, lords and industrialists riding rough shod over the down trodden common man. Expect the gutter skirmishes of the poorest of the poor trying to just survive. And of course as this is Pyke, expect a grim, tragic and violent story full of murder and civil unrest.

I will say nothing else re the story line, as to do so would inevitably add in a bit of spoiling and that's the last thing you want when reading a detective story!

Pepper I think also makes a pretty serious effort to illustrate the Irish famine and the many thousands who died from the hunger and cold whilst a seemingly uncaring landed gentry of absentee landlords and the British Whig government of the day stood back offering no aid. Whilst this was well done and was shocking and tragic just did seem a little out of place in a Pyke story. However having got this message in and set a suitably grim historical backdrop Pepper gets back to what he does best, a couple of hundred pages of twisting plot and stomach churning confrontation.

Good stuff and I await with interest where the author will go now!
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on 9 July 2011
I have enjoyed the evolution of Pyke and find his charactor and timeline intersting. The author is able to transport the essence of the time, place and opinions, moods of the period. In fact, Pyke is one of my litery hero's as is Dirk Pitt in Clive Cusslers stories, both are always in life and death situatons and we're all getting older. The author's discription of an early morning micturation is so accurate and any 45+year old male would appreciate this discription. As previous reviews reflect, the first parts of the story flit back and forth between time and location, simmler to that of Alex Scarrows reads. Being from the area I am aware of the authors literary licence on local areas and history. He did discribe what went on in these two countries at that time (you wonder why us Celts are not always Saxon Friendly!).
I'll always enjoy the Pyke storys. Will the future hold much. New storylines, hero's, locations.....
P.S what about his allotment post Kill water & Devil?
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on 24 May 2011
To be fair I havent got to the end of this Pike novel yet but the format is certainly the most intriguing I have come across in years as the action moves from Merthyr Tydfil to Ireland and back again in a myriad of consecutive but shifting dates so that while Pike is investigating a child kidnapping in Merthyr he is himself apparently found dead in Ireland.To be continued...... The settings are vividly depicted in a poverty stricken Ireland and a relatively prosperous steel works in Wales in the grim winter of 1846-1847.Gripping stuff.
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on 3 February 2016
Love the Pyke Mystery books but this is my least favourite. Didn't like the story being told on two different timelines by two separate characters, also didn't like a long standing character being killed needlessly. Okay in keeping the Pyke story continuing but hard read.
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on 2 November 2017
A terrific read and Pyke is a wonderful character.
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on 13 May 2016
Bought as a gift. They loved it.
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on 22 July 2012
The latest Pyke Mystery, (no5 I think) really good book, violent & historically vivid as ever, with a twist.
You could say he is like a Victorian James Bond, but slightly rougher around the edges!
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on 18 March 2015
An excellent read, especially for followers of the series!!
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on 4 March 2013
This book I found confusing for the first half, trying to get to grips with the two sets of characters - they seemed so simiiar and I confused one set with the other - prefered the previous Pike formats - it is also very dour, it didn't cheer me at all, I know it wasn't supposed to - but you require more cheer than this has to be entertained, - good ending.JDL
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on 29 January 2013
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