This thriller, by the author of The Ruby in the Smoke, evokes its 19th century setting and at the same time remains remarkably contemporary in the originality of its plot and larger-than-life characters. An unabridged reading of Philip Pullman's nerve-shattering thriller.
©2009 Phillip Pullman; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks
This is the 2nd in the series, the first book is called 'The Ruby in the Smoke' is not on audible at the moment. The narrator is really good and the characters engaging, over all a really enjoyable book.
A dark and very fast-paced thriller, this book will have the listener gripped from start to finish. Capturing the feel of Victorian London, and the harsh atmosphere of it's underworld. Narrated in fine style by Anton Lesser.
Loving a bit of fantasy, history, the classics, languages - all in all I have very eclectic taste!
I had previously listened to the Ruby in the Smoke and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was pleased to find that the story of the characters continued in The Shadow in the North. This book takes place a couple of years after the first, and Sally has set herself up as an independent financial advisor. A customer visiting to complain about some bad advice leads her to start investigating a crooked firm and its shadowy owner alongside her friends from the previous story. They are drawn into a dark web of intrigue involving an ageing medium, a stage magician, a government minister who has fallen on hard times, a deformed seamstress and a lot of danger. The story never falters and the pace never lets up - I was gripped to the end.
The end of story when Sally takes her revenge on Axel Bellman is very dramatic - I didn't expect it to be quite so explosive, but it fit in well with the steampunk theme.
A tender moment between Sally and Fred, when she finally realises how much he means to her. You sympathise with him from the start of the novel as it is clear that he has been in love with her since he first saw her walking along the seafront and hid her in his photographer's tent in the first novel. She treats him rather badly in The Shadow in the North, though her reasons are somewhat understandable as she desperately wants to retain her independence at a time when married women effectively became the property of their husband. However it is also obvious that the bohemian Fred would never have tried to control Sally in that way, so the reader is rooting for him throughout.
This book made me weep real tears of sadness - I'm not going to say why as it is such as shocking moment and really changes the motivations of the characters after the event - you need to be suffering from the impact in the same way to truly empathise with their actions afterwards.
Intriguing detective story bringing, mystery, laughter, love, tragedy,clarvoyancy, evil versus good.
Gives an insite into the restrictions women had at the turn of the century.
Sally Lockhart shrugged off the shackles that society inflicted on her and forged ahead with what she wanted out of life, with her faithful dog by her side.
Anton Lesser is fantastic as the narrator. I felt as if i was listening to a radio play. He made each character come alive that sometimes i questioned if it was only one man Narrating this story. I would certainly look out for anything else he has narrated.
Pullman is an exceptional writer, and the way in which he develops characters and plot is inspirational. The story is well suited to young adults, perhaps 13 upwards, but I'm sure lots of adults would enjoy the ride too.
The plot is perfect for this sort of book: a conspiracy theory which only gradually becomes clear to the reader. The characters are likeable, and believable enough for this sort of book. Sally Lockhart is an independent young woman - could become cliched very easily, but I think Pullman avoids this sensitively. The plot includes con artists, paranormal activity, murderers, corrupt politicians, illegal marriages, oh and premarital sex is alluded to, if not described. So, pretty exciting stuff for a historical novel. It moves quickly and is an engaging read for all.
Pullman narrates, and does so excellently. It's always nice to hear an author read their own words, and he moves the story along nicely. Recommended.
Masterly writing and compelling story telling by Philip Pullman are brilliantly narrated by Anton Lesser. I don't think I've ever enjoyed an audiobook as much as this one. Anton Lesser's narration is absolutely fantastic. He brings every character to life.
I love the whole Lockhard series. If you have seen the terrible first movie, Ruby in the Smoke, then don't worry. The books are nothing like the film. The book is superbly written and amazingly narrated.
However, I notice at the time of writing the review that the narrator has changed. It used to be Anton Lesser, who was amazing. Now the narrator is Philip Pullman himself. Check that before buying the book.
Not quite as complex as the Lyra books, but still very gripping.
If you're worried about Philip being a lesser narrator than Anton, don't be. The two sound, eerily, near-indistinguishable. And I've never seen them both in the same room. Significant? You decide.
"As good as Book 1"
I strongly advise you to read Book 1, The ruby in the smoke, first. This sequel will not disappoint you; it's a different story, but just as good. Sally, Jim and Fred are 6 years older, and their relationships and character development are intriguing. Some new characters are also fascinating. As for the story, it's brilliantly written with not a dull moment. Don't be fooled by Audible's blurb; Anton Lesser reads this book too. He could make a shopping list sound interesting, but this is no shopping list.
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