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Summary

By the Costa Award-winning author of Pure, a stunning historical novel with the grip of a thriller, written in richly evocative, luminous prose. 

One rain-swept February night in 1809, an unconscious man is carried into a house in Somerset. He is Captain John Lacroix, home from Britain's disastrous campaign against Napoleon's forces in Spain. 

Gradually Lacroix recovers his health but not his peace of mind - he cannot talk about the war or face the memory of what happened in a village on the gruelling retreat to Corunna. After the command comes to return to his regiment, he sets out instead for the Hebrides, with the vague intent of reviving his musical interests and collecting local folk songs. 

Lacroix sails north incognito, unaware that he has far worse to fear than being dragged back to the army: a vicious English corporal and a Spanish officer are on his trail, with orders to kill. The haven he finds on a remote island with a family of freethinkers and the sister he falls for are not safe at all.

©2018 Andrew Miller (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

patchy and contrived.

I always look forward to a new Andrew Miller novel, but this one is really weak, particularly the ending which just comes out of the blue for no relevant reason.,It’s as if the author just ran out of ideas. The book commences with an intriguing idea. The officer held responsible for a British Mai Lai style massacre in Spain during the peninsula wars against Napoleon, must be found and killed. It’s a matter of honour. There are some gripping chapters but they’re few and far between. The story is just too predictable with few surprises. Some judicious editing could have improved the flow, by losing several,contrived and irrelevant chapters. But in the end the real issue is the one dimensional portrayal of the characters. there’s just not enough to make you care about them, coupled with padded out over descriptive situations which appear very clumsy on an audio book. This is not an Andrew Miller book i would recommend to a novice.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Tedious

I’m sure someone will enjoy this, but not me. Despite being booker listed, and being recommended, this was slow and turgid. I like historical fiction, but this felt really exposition heavy and I didn’t care about the characters enough to stick with it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful