Dooyoo have listed this as a junior book, however it most defintely is not one for children!
Review of 'Set in Stone', a a novel by Robert Goddard.
I am reviewing the paperback version of this novel, 416 pages, published by Corgi Books, ISBN 978-0552146012, cover price £7.99. Genre:- Thriller.
www.amazon.co.uk are currently stocking this paperback from £1.85 (new) or from £6.07 in the 'Kindle' format.
Newly widowed Tony Sheridan is recovering from the recent untimely death of his wife, Marina. The couple had moved to Cornwall from London and were very happy in their new home, when Marina fell from a cliff, Tony had no reason to doubt that his wife's death was anything but a tragic accident.
Marina's sister Lucy, who is married to Tony's long term friend Matt, invites Tony to visit and he decides that a break will do him the world of good. Tony and Marina had meant to pay the couple a visit for some time but had never quite got round to it, consequently Tony had not been to Matt and Lucy's new country home.
Tony travels to Rutland to stay with his sister-in-law and her husband at their house. The house is called Otherways, it is a strange, circular, moted construction set in the Rutland countryside and it is the only remaining creation of an eccentric and reclusive Edwardian architect.
As Tony's stay at Otherways progresses, he finds himself even more deeply disturbed by memories of his wife and bizarrely feels a growing attraction to her sister. Tony is also deeply troubled by vivid dreams and sets out to find out more about the history of Otherways.
Tony discovers that the house has a dark history, which includes murders, suicides, espionage and scandals. He learns that a murder committed at the house in 1939 still has resonances for those living in the neighbourhood, including Daisy, the sister of the murdered woman. Daisy is an eccentric sculptress who lives in elegant poverty, supplementing her income by letting out rooms to lodgers.
There is a scandal surrounding the murderer's brother, and Tony Sheridan, tormented by the ghosts of past, decides to investigate and unravel the mysteries surrounding the house.
He is bemused to find that one of Daisy's lodgers is also embroiled in unravelling the past of Otherways.
It is actually rather difficult not to give away too much of the plot when describing this novel, as it really is a thrill packed thriller, so I will leave it there and you'll have to read the book for yourself if you want to know more!
**About the Author**
Robert Goddard was born in 1954, in Hampshire. He read History at Cambridge, qualified as a a teacher and worked worked as a local government officer for ten years in Devon, before becoming a full-time novelist.
He has produced over 20 best selling thriller novels. Robert Goddard is married and currently lives in Truro, Cornwall.
More about the author and a full bibliography can be found on his website:- http://www.robertgoddardbooks.co.uk
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
Set in Stone is a thriller with a little of everything! Murders, emotional turmoil, mysteries, infidelity, espionage, intrigue and secrets from the past, which all meld together resulting in a fast paced novel that is hard to put down.
The plot is very well crafted, the writing style is crisp and precise as it is in most of Goddard's books. The author has created an air of suspense that keeps the reader turning the pages as the twists and turns of the somewhat complicated plot unfold. The conclusion is an unexpected and rather dramatic one, which I certainly wasn't expecting.
Robert Goddard has drawn some remarkable characters in Set in Stone, his characters are richly described and on the whole, believable. A wealth of memorable and diverse characters enhance this novel, some are likeable and others most definitely not!
The storyline really captured my imagination and I feel that this novel is one of Robert Goddards' best. The story fairly bounds along as the author takes you through the story and when I finished the book, I felt genuinely sorry for some of the characters given their eventual fates.
Robert Goddard is a favourite thriller author of mine and I was delighted to spot it in a local supermarket's recent 2 for £5 book offer. The novel certainly did not disappoint and I found it to be a classic thriller tale with an unusual twist, which definitely added to my enjoyment of the book. It is one that I can visualise myself re-reading in the near future, something I don't often do with thrillers.
I would recommend this novel to others and hope they enjoy it as much as I did!
I am awarding Set in Stone a 5* rating.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 March 2011
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.
I took Robert Goddard's Set in Stone from the library shelf as a standby in case I finished my favoured choice too quickly. I had not read the author before and only glanced at the reviews on the back cover before deciding, "That'll do". In fact I wearied of my first selection and, giving up on it, turned to the alternative read to find a gem of a mystery story which I didn't want to put down. This is a story which takes us from quiet beginnings as Tony Sheridan grieves for his wife, Marina, found dead at the bottom of a Cornish cliff. Feeling her close to him as the bereft do, he tells her of the events which followed and so takes us with him as he is drawn into mystery and betrayal and a totally believable supernatural element in which a house directs the lives of those within. Leaving the home which contained his dreams Tony stays with his best friend Matt Prior, married to Marina's sister Lucy, and sees for the first time "Otherways", their house on Rutland Water. A small manor house, pefectly circular both outside and within, it was the first and final design of a brilliant architect who had taken himself into exile after completion. Had he unintentionally overstepped a dimensional boundary in its creation and was this really a place where the past and future collided before overlapping? As he settles into Otherways, Tony finds himself beset by surreally disturbing dreams and it is not long before he discovers that this is a house which has known not only domestic murder and suicide but espionage and treason. Sixty years ago James Milner had murdered his beloved wife and written a full confession in his death cell. His brother, Cedric, had defected to the Soviet Union to assist in the production of a nuclear bomb and his name was now associated with other traitors such as Kim Philby and Guy Burgess. Others have an interest in the history of the house and Lucy intr
oduces Tony to Daisy Temple whose own life was changed forever by the dismal occurrences of the past. Daisy's lodger, the slimy and persistent Rainbird has an unhealthy interest in Otherways and now unashamedly dogs Tony in order to gain access. As Otherways pulls Tony into its spell and his personal life moves from grief to bewilderment he is also about to be drawn into present day needs to find the long ago confession written by James Milner and since lost. For other powerful, deeply secret and dangerous forces are determined that the confession must be found and that Tony Sheridan will be the vehicle used. He finds himself travelling from Rutland, to Scotland, to London and then the Continent, not only becoming more embroiled in past espionage but beginning to doubt that his wife's death is either accident or suicide. What did Lucy, whose passion for him is no longer hidden, have to do with Marina's death? How is the elderly Daisy involved if at all? What mystery does Cedric Milner hold which now threatens Tony's life? In order to find the condemned man's confession Tony needs to track down those who hold the information he needs, some now elderly and reluctant - or afraid - to be found. Always the house on Rutland Water has cast its spell and influenced their lives and the lives of those around them. Robert Goddard's characters are real and we like and sympathise with them, or not, as he intends and, as Tony pulls them into his search for the truth, they re-live for him the parts they played in Otherways' disturbing history. Most importantly the defector, Cedric Milner, must somehow be found and persuaded to help. As Otherways continues to influence Tony, giving him graphic pictures of a frightening future, he tries to change it with dramatic consequences. If all this sounds confusing, let me put your mind at rest. Robert Goddard leads the reader skilfully through his mystery with the
help of Tony Sheridan as his travels bring him steadily and dangerously to conclusion. As does Tony we want to find out what caused the seemingly accidental death of the innocent Marina, why an architect with a brilliant career ahead of him turned his back on his profession, how and why could a loving husband kill his faithful wife and why did the confession he wrote put so many other lives in danger 60 years later? I found this an absorbing read which left my curiosity satisfied and my credulity still intact. I would recommend Set in Stone if only for Robert Goddard's ability to tell a darn good story.
Published by Bantam Press