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4.4 out of 5 stars
282
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:£1.99


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on 19 January 2014
A rather dark but atmospheric romantic thriller (with an element of espionage thrown in) set in Victorian London during the construction of Brunel's Great Eastern vessel (hence the title `Leviathan'). The story could have become diluted due to the excellent description and setting of the Great Eastern shipyard, but the construction of this great vessel remains in the background as the story unfolds and does not overshadow the plot. Colourful and believable characters spring into the imagination as the plot unfolds. Locations within London are well researched and appropriate to the period in which the story unfolds.
The main characters are Dr Jonathan Silver (who is wrongly sentenced to death because of the murder of his wife), Elisa Saltash (a delightfully determined rogue and thief with a very sophisticated alter ego) who engineers his escape from Newgate Prison on the evening before his execution and the enigmatic Miss Amy McLennan (an intriguing friend acquired post-escape, who works in a hostel for fallen women). Interestingly, the detective in the story, Sergeant Charlie Sparrow, who is both clever and deductive is deserving of a story (or stories) where he is the central or main character (rather like Morse or Lewis).
The settings and life in Victorian London is wonderfully described. The relentless detective work of Sergeant Sparrow leads one to imagine that there can be only one final outcome, but there is a wonderful twist in the ending.
A well written book which grabs the imagination from chapter one and gathers momentum as the story unfolds. This book is difficult to put down once started.
A brilliant first novel from this author.
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on 15 January 2014
I have to say that I came upon this book completely by chance. The author is not known to me and I simply searched for a good historical crime mystery. This book came up, I liked the cover, enjoyed the description, it was well priced for a book of this length so I bought it. And I am sure glad I did because it is a truly excellent read. This guy can really write! Not only that, the plot is intricate and, like all quality murder mysteries, keeps you guessing right until the end. No plot spoiler here but you really are in for a surprise.

The book is set in London of the 1850s and the author seems to know a great deal about this subject. His early description of Newgate Prison of that period smacks of authenticity so he is either quite an expert on London of the nineteenth century or a better bluffer than I give him credit for.

The story centres around quite a high class doctor falsely imprisoned for murdering his wife and who is freed by a nineteen year old girl, much wiser than her years. Their attempts to solve the mystery of Dr Silver's murdered wife whilst escaping the clutches of the law in the form of Sergeant Charlie Sparrow, probably the most interesting character in the book, comprise the bulk of the book, given that the plot waters are muddied by the murder of several young women in the Wapping area. The imminent launch of Brunel's ship 'Leviathan' adds further authenticity to the action.

The characters are realistic and well drawn and well rounded, the dialogue is crisp and lively and the atmosphere is superb. So what more could a reader want? Nothing actually! Hence the five star review. If you like historical crime/mystery/thrillers with a touch of romance thrown in for added interest then this is the book for you. A great read.
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on 19 January 2014
This is a book that I enjoyed reading very much which is quite surprising since historical crime thrillers are not the type of fiction I would normally choose to read. I usually prefer more serious historical fiction, for example Hilary Mantel's books about Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. But I am glad that I did read Leviathan because it is a very entertaining book and it did hold my attention literally from first paragraph to last.

The author writes in a very sophisticated and polished way but in a way that is also highly readable. He has an excellent style that engages the reader almost instantly and which overcame my initial doubts about the plot. He may be no Hilary Mantel in the depth and quality of his writing, yet his style is well suited to this kind of fast moving story. The story concerns a man, Dr Jonathan Silver, falsely accused of the murder of his wife in 1857 London, and could easily have been hackneyed or predictable. Yet I found the plot interesting throughout, and it certainly developed in many unexpected ways, especially near the end where the surprises come thick and fast.

There is also an authenticity to the historical and geographical background that adds a great deal to the believability of the narrative - London of the 1850s is a fascinating concept in its own right and the author deals with this with great aplomb. This is obvious from the very beginning, with the highly authentic descriptions of Newgate Prison as provided in Jonathan Silver's conversation with Jonas Saltash which, I must admit, I found truly absorbing, and continues throughout the book.

The style employed throughout is an impressive one. The author writes very well and his style held my attention well with subtle variations of pace. The story also has a rather unexpected lightness of touch which surprised me initially, but which I got used to. In spite of my own doubts, I even found the romantic elements of the plot, with the developing relationship between Silver and the mysterious Elisa, to be very entertaining.

Leviathan is fine example of a book in this genre so I look forward to reading more books from this author in the future.
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on 19 January 2014
I worked in London in the 70s and was always fascinated by the river. London, at the time of this novel, was much more different than today and Thomson brings old London alive through his characters. What I particularly liked was that from the first page the novel grips you and it becomes a bit of a page turner. Well researched story and historically quite accurate. If this is his first novel then can't wait for the next one.
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on 17 January 2017
A very well researched story which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's clear the author has a depth of knowledge regarding London as it may have been in Victorian times and I did occasionally find the misty smoggy drab conditions that probably prevailed at that time repetitive. But it did create a sense of realism backed by a storyline line that pointed the finger of suspicion at several different characters. A good read and an author who I look forward to more from.
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on 16 February 2014
I chanced upon this story yesterday, downloaded it and barely put down my tablet until I finished it. The plot was good and pacy, the characters well-drawn and the backdrop of grimy London felt authentic. This was a very satisfying read - I shall look forward to the author's next book.
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on 24 May 2017
Plenty of twists and turns and we got to know the characters well. Maybe one to many coincidences. Engagement in the story lasts until the final page.
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on 5 April 2017
Good story which keeps you guessing until the end. Well researched portrait of life in London in 1857 too. Recommended
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on 25 April 2017
Really enjoyed this book. The ending came to a good climax. I shall be looking now for another book by this author
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on 23 May 2017
Excellent read twists and turns every where first time I have this author will not be the last
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