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Summary

Reprising the same powerfully perceptive writing style that made Trainspotting such a hit, Irvine Welsh delivers another successful blow with The Blade Artist. Graphic and shameless, it's complemented by Tam Dean Burn's skillful performance.

Jim Francis has finally found the perfect life - and is now unrecognisable, even to himself. A successful painter and sculptor, he lives quietly with his wife, Melanie, and their two young daughters in an affluent beach town in California. Some say he's a fake and a con man while others see him as a genuine visionary.

But Francis has a very dark past, with another identity and a very different set of values. When he crosses the Atlantic to his native Scotland for the funeral of a murdered son he barely knew, his old Edinburgh community expects him to take bloody revenge.

But as he confronts his previous life, all those friends and enemies - and, most alarmingly, his former self - Francis seems to have other ideas. When Melanie discovers something gruesome in California that indicates her husband's violent past might also be his psychotic present, things start to go very bad very quickly.

The Blade Artist is an elegant, electrifying novel - ultraviolent but curiously redemptive - and it marks the return of one of modern fiction's most infamous, terrifying characters: the incendiary Francis Begbie from Trainspotting.

©2016 Irvine Welsh (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Tam Dean Burn my third book narrated by him

need to see what else he's narrated.
couldn't believe the Luke warm reviews the book gets. it seems to be a victim of the strength of the Beggbie character in previous books. These dissenting views seem to revolve around the unrealistic reformation of the psycho beggars, but as he descends again, the changes in his accent and morality are ver subtle.
Let's face it, if your a fan of skag boys, trainspotting and porno, then you have no choice but to read this, so you might as well emerse yourself in it and have faith in the auther.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A must listen for any Welsh Fans.

A top book from Welsh. Full marks for content & narration by Tam Dean Byrne.
Nice little cliffhanger in the very last minute of the book... To be continued.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Yes

Belter as always from Mr Welsh. Begbie is a classic character. Good to see a few other familiar faces appear.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it...just wish it was longer.

Would you listen to The Blade Artist again? Why?

I would definitely revisit it again in a few years.

What about Tam Dean Burn’s performance did you like?

Superb.

Any additional comments?

Another great book by Irvine Welsh, read brilliantly by Tam Dean Burn - who is probably my favourite audio book reader. The story reprises the psychopath Franko Begby character from earlier books (Skagboys, Trainspotting & Porno) but with a great twist. One or two of the other characters from those books make cameo appearances too, which I thought was a great touch. I thought this was a fantastic story and thoroughly enjoyed it - despite the underlying violence and menace of the story, Welsh has that amazing ability to make it very darkly hilarious in places as he's done with his other books. My only negative comment is that I would have liked it to be longer because I just love Welsh's writing style and the fantastic characters he creates. To be fair though, whenever I've listened to one of his books, I've not wanted them to end. Please give us some more soon Mr. Welsh...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Hawk
  • Yorkshire
  • 07-05-16

Blade artist

Fantastic book. Irvine Welsh back to his best. Absolutely superb. I hope if made into a film it does this book justice.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Frrrrrrranco!

Great to see another character in Welsh's Edinburgh back and on top!
I love the way he jumps from past to present and back, filling in the back story as the main one moves on.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

The title suggests that Begbie has never changed but at the beginning it's hard to tell. There are some great twists along the way while the story navigates a timeline between Begbie's youth and the present. Paradoxically, he is a changed man just not in the way he presents this new image to the world.

Great narration, too. Tam Dean Burn offers a mellow Scottish accent that will reach listeners' ears around the world - it's definitely not too strong; moreover he switches too - and captures - local dialects well across the characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • L1
  • 27-07-16

Dark twisted and still humorous in parts!

Loved this, not for the faint hearted or squeamish! Will be reading again!! Amazing read

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Quality Book. Another by Irvine Welsh!

I really enjoyed this book. Was a bit slow to start with but the usual twists and action built up. would definately recommend for fans of irvine welsh and Francis begbie!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brian
  • Livingston, United Kingdom
  • 27-04-16

Barrie book likes.

I was not sure what to expect, didn't try to build it up waiting to read this. The flow of the plot keeps you interested and the subject is always going to have "some" violence around him. Therefore not disappointed. This new/older Begby character works out as some kind of antihero fae Leith. A gid book.

Scots spelling may be bad here because as a dyslexic it's been difficult to write English and just easy to say Scots words... ken. Enjoy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Evan
  • 20-04-16

Welsh's best work since "Crime"

This is probably Welsh's best book since "Crime" and might even top that one. If you're a fan, you owe it to yourself to read this, especially if you've read "Trainspotting". If you're not, I still suggest giving this a go if you like your reading to be a little off the beaten path but still highly accessible and thoroughly rewarding...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • jim busse
  • 14-04-16

Strong work from Irvine Welsh

I have to admit I'm an Irvine Welsh fan, but I believe this is one of his best works. It's a very well paced story about one of his most notorious and memorable characters, Frank Begby and the double life he has come to live.

Tam Dean Burn does a great job as always.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • jonas pennell
  • 10-04-16

Tam Dean Burn is magic. thanks mr. welsh, begbie

amazing character acting. stunning material. Welsh at a different tempo, but at his best nonethesless