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When I was looking for a new novel to read recently, I thought I would play it safe and choose an author I knew and one I had enjoyed reading. I had only previously read one of his books 'Set in Stone' before, but that and seeing all the good review his books get on review sites persuaded me that I was on safe ground with this book, that was my thinking anyway.
About the author:
Robert Goddard was born in Hampshire in 1954.Before he became a successful international writer he was an Educational Administrator in Devon. So far in his writing career he had written 17 novels plus three in the Harry Barnett series. The book I'm reviewing here was first published in 2003.
My synopsis of the book:
Nicholas Paleologus brother Andrew's 50th birthday brings him back to his family home in Cornwall for the weekend. On route he decides to visit his sister Irene, who explains that their elderly father Michael has received a £500,000 offer on his home Trennor. This has come completely out the blue and is amazing as the place is only worth around £350,000.
The family are all very keen for their father to accept this generous offer. Not only because of the money they will one day inherit but also he has become frail and recently had a fall. When this is put to him at Andrew's party and they suggest he moves into a Retirement Home, he is very short with them and tells says he will not move out of his house at any price, much to their surprise.
Nick is curious about this offer for the house and finds out a Mr Tantris has made the generous offer despite never seeing the place. The reason is according to a script from the 1600's state that a priceless glass of the 'Doom Window' is hidden somewhere in the property. His father then has a fall and dies and Nick discovers the secret as to why he would not sell. He decides to try and solve the mystery and find out who wants the house so desperately.
My thoughts on the book:
My overall view of this novel was it was a very enjoyable read. Being similar in style to the previous one I read. It was full of mystery and suspense that left me riveted all the way through as I was very keen to discover and solve the mystery as it was quite deep and took a lot of twists and turns to resolve.
I certainly consider Robert Goddard to be a very talented author and this books quality and style of writing confirmed this to me. He is excellent at setting the scene in a way that gives the reader the picture without going over board with the description. In this book he takes you to three separate locations and describes each beautifully.
The story itself was a changing and complex one. It had been cleverly thought out and written by the author. I found it very easy to get into from the first page and the plot of the story developed well and kept me intrigued all the way through as I was never sure which direction we were going and what would happen next.
It was a very different story to what I had expected and one in which I enjoyed because of the way the author always left me unsure of who could be behind the mystery. He used a lot of suspense and this came through in an exciting way to me as I read the book. I felt I was with Nick trying to discover the truth in a bizarre situation which he found himself.
While I have said I enjoyed the story there is a but here. I did at times get a little lost when he started talking about the history of the 'Doom Window'. I found I switched off and struggled to understand and believe what I was being told. Maybe this could have been simplified or explained by a non academic so that is was easily understandable.
The majority of the book was believable, but I also struggled with the amount of love or even care the father had for his children. But this helped the story as one of the children had been trusted by him without them even knowing it. I just found his attitude and the way he treated his children odd and in many ways sad.
The main character of the book was Nick. He was a very likeable character in my eyes because he was quite normal sort of man. Only as the story developed and unfolded did you learn about his previous problems in his life that if anything endeared him even more to me.
The support characters were also very interesting and well written, especially his brother Basil. Who I thought if he had been given a slightly larger role would have been the focus of the book and made it very different. I liked the dynamics within the Paleologus family and the way the author developed their relationships with one another.
One character I did struggle with was the amazing Emily Braybourne. While I understood her motives I could not understand a few things she did in the story. Notable her final action in the book somewhat puzzled me, but at the same time had me transfixed to knowing the truth.
The books pace was likely throughout without being exhausting. There was plenty of action and so much that needed to be explained and resolved. I did not have time to consider what had happened as the story quickly moved on to something new or simply a new twist.
I struggled a little with the final chapter of the book I must admit. I thought it was unnecessary as the story and truth had been discovered. In the past I have said that I would like to know what happened to the main characters in the books I have read, in this one I thought it was not required as so much had happened.
This was a long book but it was required to make and develop such a good storyline. The author was taking you on the journey to discover the truth, which was never dull, but it was a changing landscape.
The chapters were quite long at around 22 pages each. But they signified a change of scene effectively enough. It was his sharp intelligent writing and a sense of the unknown that kept my interest in the story and helped me enjoy this novel.
This was a good well written and interesting story. The author managed to keep my interest with his excellent use of suspense as a result I had no idea what would happen next and what the truth was until the end. My only gripe was the historical data which I found hard to follow and quite boring. Good I think for a holiday read and one I would recommend just for that purpose.
Publisher: Corgi Books
About the author: www.robertgoddard.co.uk
Thanks for reading.
This review was also published under my user name on Ciao.
@CPTDANIELS July 2009