Sea Change – Robert Goddard
This story is complex but well written with fantastically imagined characters. Set in 18th century Europe, at the collapse of the South Sea Company, the world is filled with corruption and underhand tactics and broke mapmaker William Spandrel somehow gets caught up in it all. Realising that his life is being played with by others, William must retrieve a package he had delivered to clear his debts and ensure that it’s delivered to the right side – whoever that is! There is a brutal realism to the story, with good not always triumphing over bad, but that makes it all the more gripping. Lots of plot twists and thrills along the way, this is a great historical thriller.
A Twist of the Knife – Peter James
The first collection of short stories that Peter James has released, I’m amazed by his ability to shock with so few words. The book includes a vast range of characters and scenarios, including a food critic with a bizarre phobia, and Roy Grace fans may be interested to learn that it features Roy’s first case. I’m not normally one for short stories as I find there’s not enough build up for me to care about the characters but Peter completely proved me wrong with this book. He seems to know his characters so well that he can give you those meaningful details about a person that reveals huge pieces of their personality in a couple of words. If you like dabbling in a range of character’s lives, enjoy a good sharp plot twist or would like an introduction to Peter James’s writing then I would definitely recommend this book.
The 100 – Kass Morgan
I heard about this book after seeing a trailer for the TV series a little while back, so I had a brief idea of the premise beforehand. The basis of the story is that the Earth has been ruined by a nuclear war and the survivors of the human race are living in space. To see if they can inhabit Earth again, they send 100 young criminals down to re-colonize the planet. Now for the interesting bit, the story is narrated by several different perspectives so you learn about the different characters properly, and there are flashbacks to help piece together their pasts. I think it’s the characters that really make this book good, as the world isn’t as detailed as I would’ve liked. Saying that, the mix of characters did result in a few I loved and a few I hated. Not sure if that was intentional or if it’s just me. Great premise, good pace and action and I loved the characters (loved to hate them in some cases!)
Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
A brilliant example of how important friends recommendations are to my reading. On the face of it a book set in the 1820s in Iceland wouldn’t have stirred any interest in me at all – but it was recommended by a friend at WHSmith whose reading taste is incredibly close to mine – so when he said he loved it, it had to make it’s way onto my reading list. This is the story of Agnes, a woman convicted of murder in Iceland in the 1820’s (based on a true person). Whilst awaiting execution she is forced to live with a farming family on the instructions of the District commissioner. The family are horrified to have a murderer living and working among them, but slowly as Agnes opens up about her past through conversations with Margret (the mother of the family) and the young Priest who is tasked with absolving her, the story emerges of her childhood and the events leading up to the murder. The authors incredible ability to transport me to the deepest darkest North of Iceland and make a story set in the 1820s come to life was what set this apart. I am in total admiration of the author’s research and attention to detail. I have a feeling I may have to wait a while for her next novel – as this author isn’t going to rush out any old story. But wow, it’ll be worth the wait
Let us know what you’ve been reading this week in the comments box below.