Review: Mississippi Blood – Greg Iles

5 of 5 stars

Series: Natchez Burning 3

My version: Hardback
Fiction Thriller
Harper Collins
2017
Bought

The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage and his family in this final volume in the epic Natchez Burning trilogy, set in modern-day Natchez, Mississippi – Greg Iles’ bold and ambitious saga of blood, honour and revenge.

Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, Dr. Tom Cage, once a pillar of the community, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction and has frozen Penn out of the trial, preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth to his son.

For decades, Dr. Tom Cage has had a second son known to almost no one, the product of an affair with his African-American nurse, Viola Turner. It is this bitter son – Penn’s half brother – who set in motion the case against Dr. Cage. But a murder charge may be the least of Tom’s worries. In the 1960’s South, Viola Turner became a nexus point between Penn’s father and the Double Eagle group, a savage splinter cell of the KKK. Now, led by psychopath Snake Knox, the surviving Double Eagles will stop at nothing to keep their past deeds buried, and they mean to ensure that Dr. Cage either takes the fall for them or takes his secrets to an early grave.

Unable to trust anyone – not even his own mother – Penn joins forces with Serenity Butler, a writer investigating his father’s case. Together, Penn and Serenity, a former soldier, desperately battle to crack the Double Eagle group and discover the secret history of both the Cage family and the South itself, risking the only thing they have left to gamble: their lives.

Wow!

Just incredible. From start to finish. A real thrill(er) to read and prise and find out the answers that have swirled around since The Bone Tree. Even then…well, I think there could well be room, possibility, for a continuation. If what I’m thinking of is right.

This book has a lot to do and a lot to live up to. Natchez Burning set the standard and the bar for ‘ho’ley shit!’-reading, continued and then some by The Bone Tree an absolutely, unbelievably, incredible, three day, 800-odd page, blinding, rush of a read, where – as I think I noted at the time – my jaw was very rarely off the floor. I will admit then, that there was a nagging, at the edges of my anticipation, of trepidation. Could Mississippi Blood live up to The Bone Tree, provide the satisfactory answers, and be the finish an incredible series had led us to expect, to want. Yes, yes and yes yes yes. It is, it does, whatever. It even had me thinking he’d gone wrong and missed a trick or two until about 1/3 from the end, maybe later, when he blew me away and basically said “and that’s why you don’t write books, matey!” 

When you’re done, when you’ve come down and calmed down, just take a moment or two to reflect on what he’s done here. This trilogy, (I was a newcomer to Greg Iles before Natchez Burning), part of a whole series of novels featuring Penn Cage and his family, is an absolutely monumental piece of creative work. What is it? 2,400-odd pages however you count them. An awe-inspiring feat of marshalling strands of story into a whole, keeping it focussed and on the money the whole way. Greg Iles is a real, real writer. I don’t know how to describe it, I was transported, sucked into the book and its world until everything in my world me disappears and there is just the story around me. I’ll risk saying, that there hasn’t been a better trilogy than this and that there never will be. I can’t think how there ever could be.

I have seen talk of a TV series, maybe done under Amazon’s umbrella. I hope so. I’d buy that.

Speaking of buying things…I got hold of an ARC to read, but bought both the UK (featured at the toip) version and the US version in hardback. I’ve subsequently managed to get hold of a US version of Natchez Burning, though I originally read the UK paperback. Which explains the discrepancy in covers. I think you can see two of the covers at this link, which should be the Speesh Reads Instagram.

You can buy Mississippi Blood from Booksplea.se

Related reviews on Speesh Reads:

Review: Tripwire by Lee Child

Tripwire Lee Child
4
 of 5 stars

Jack Reacher 3

My version:
Paperback
Fiction Thriller
Bantam Press
2000/2012
Bought

For Jack Reacher, being invisible has become a habit.

He spends his days digging swimming pools by hand and his nights as the bouncer in the local strip club in the Florida Keys.

He doesn’t want to be found

But someone has sent a private detective to seek him out. Then Reacher finds the guy beaten to death with his fingertips sliced off. It’s time to head north and work out who is trying to find him and why.

It does, in parts, feel like one of those where the author set out to write a long one. Meaning there is a fair bit of padding to make up some page numbers. I hate it when, for instance, writers post “up to 500,000 words!” Or, “reached my word count for today!” Don’t do it. You’re ridiculing the art of writing. It’s not a process, you’re not a machine (though some ‘writers’ of some of the American ’thrillers’ I’ve read down the years, probably are machines – but you’re not!) It’s like quantity matters, more than quality. There were plenty of signs of padding in the previous one, but this time out, they are (thankfully) harder to spot. Still, he did clearly think “this’ll be so many pages long, if it kills me!”

Long ones, do mean another thing, you have to have your interest held all the way through. It’s hard to read on autopilot. Harder than it is to write on autopilot, any way. This does hold the interest 99.9% of the time, which s good. Actually, I’d go so far as to say, that this is the best of the Jack Reacher series so far. To compare with others I’ve read recently, it’s not as edge-of-the seat gripping as I Am Pilgrim (very few will be, to be fair), or The Bone Tree, which was an 800 page monster, but would have been too short at twice that. Compared to Matt Hilton, whose Joe Hunter is clearly in similar territory, then I’d say the only difference is, Lee Child has sold more books. This is pressing up to third place in the afore-mentioned list quite nicely. It also leaves Reacher (I’ve not read further in the series than this one) with some interesting problems to solve later.

I enjoyed the book tremendously and I can well imagine that new readers could probably start here – there was a fair bit of new character information included in the beginning, that almost suggested a fresh start for the series. I can imagine this sort of book is looked down on by people who know about novels – who would no doubt describe this as a ‘book’ for instance, rather than a ‘novel’ (no matter what the Yanks have to put on the cover). However, if – as me – you read for enjoyment, to enjoy yourself, then Tripwire and Lee Child hits the spot right now.

You can buy Tripwire at The Book Depository

Related reviews on Speesh Reads:

Killing FloorCut and RunI Am PilgrimThe Bone Tree

 

 

 

Me, on Goodreads

Review: The Double Game by Dan Fesperman

The Double Game
5
of 5 stars

My version:
Paperback
Fiction Thriller, Spies, Cold War
Corvus Books
2012
Bought

A few years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, spook-turned-novelist Edwin Lemaster reveals to young journalist Bill Cage that he’d once considered spying for the enemy. For Cage, a fan who grew up as a Foreign Service brat in the very cities where Remaster set his plots, the story creates a brief but embarrassing sensation.

More than two decades later, Cage, by then a lonely, disillusioned PR man, receives an anonymous note hinting that he should have dug deeper. Spiked with cryptic references to some of his and his father’s favourite old spy novels, the note is the first of many literary breadcrumbs that soon lead him back to Vienna, Prague and Budapest in search of the truth, even as the events of Remaster’s past eerily – and dangerously – begin intersecting with those of his own.

Why is beautiful Litzi Strauss back in his life after 30 years? How much of his father’s job involved the CIA? Did Bill, as a child, become a pawn? As the suspense steadily increases, a long stalemate of secrecy may finally be broken…

The (three now) books I’ve read by Dan Fesperman (The Arms Maker of Berlin, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows) have been excellent and this is no different. If you want to read how this sort of thing is done, read this. Or one of the others.

I’m thinking there’s a general feeling around right now, that spies and spying is/are back. In literary circles as well as real life. With the US President hopefuls and hangers on determined to glorify in their own stupidity (that’s not really relevant, I just put it in because they’re all dip-shits – you know it), and with dumb fuck Putin determined to show us the size of his wanger and recreate the tensions of the Cold War, there’s never been a better time to be a spy in reality, or a better one to be a reader, or re-reader, of spy novels. I think it’s a reaction to the high tech life we have now. Where you have in your pocket, a  computer powerful enough that George Smiley would have believed needed a whole floor of The Circus to house. A reaction, as in you look (longingly) back to a time when it was a lot more simple, this spying game. They were over there, we were over here. The technology of spying was a piece of chalk and a drawing pin or two and you had to use your brain (remember them?) to figure out and analyse what the other lot were up to. This book is in many ways, a homage to all that. Especially as the main man’s father is a collector of all the classic spy authors and has passed on his love of the genre and book collecting in general, to his son.

I think most spy novel lovers – certainly the authors do – miss the Cold War.  So, I suppose one point of interest, for the aficionado anyway, will be trying to work out how much of it is true. And/or, who the ‘fictional’ characters are based on. The question that occurred to me under way, was how much of a book written by an ex-CIA/MI6 operative IS fiction? Stella Rimmington’s books sprang to mind. I haven’t read any as yet, though I imagine her books need to go through some sort of ‘fact cleaning’ process before publication, but even so, when the maxim is always to write about what you know, there HAS to be a fair amount of stuff that someone somewhere will recognise. But I digress.

It becomes a trip down memory lane for the characters and the reader. Down the dimly-lit back alleys and streets of Cold War eastern Europe. Back in time to chalk marks, dead letter drops and losing your followers by doubling back, rather than just taking the battery out of your mobile phone. For lovers of good, old-fashioned spy novels (as clearly was the intention), the pre-fall of the Berlin Wall versions that is, like me, it is a hypnotic trip in a time machine to Cold War hog-heaven. In parts bitter sweet, others enveloping, always somehow reassuring – I read it so quickly I didn’t have time to take notes. I had to write down my impressions when I was done. This is they.

The main character’s naivety is believable, he was a child at the original time and is only now awakening to see what his past really was. He, as we discover more about his father with each chapter, and all the time knowing he must be holding something back. The way this is done, reminded me of Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree (and interestingly, both fathers are called ‘Cage.’ His lost love, Litzi is also very believable. Long love’s gone, I can tell by the way that you carry on… Perhaps the weakest link (the only weak link, on reflection) is the man behind it all’s motivation for doing it like this. His given reason is logical enough, however, compared to the complexity of much of the rest, it is weak. And although he professes it to have been easy (to set up) “just a few phone calls” it’s both hard to see how it could have been and how he – even with help – could have done it. Physically. You’ll see.

As The Gin Blossoms once said the past is gone but something might be found to take its place.”

You can buy The Double Game at The Book Depository

Related reviews on Speesh Reads:

The Arms Maker of BerlinThe Small Boat of Great SorrowsNatchez BurningThe Bone Tree

 

 

 

 

Me, on Goodreads

Review: Rome’s Fallen (Eagle Vespasian IV) – Robert Fabbri

Rome's Fallen EagleMy rating : 5 of 5 stars

What a relief to be done with Caligula! Not just for Vespasian and the rest of the Roman population of AD41, but also for us in 2015 reading Robert Fabbri’s excellent books. In the nicest possible sense, it is good that Caligula has met his just desserts. He cast a terrible, malignant shadow over the previous book, False God of Rome. His unpredictability and not all that slow descent into madness, was fantastic writing from Robert Fabbri, but hard to stomach sometimes. That made it’s impression (rightly so) even more forceful, I felt.

Anyway, Caligula is stabbed in the vitals on the way home from yet another debauched theatre visit. By a hooded man. However, despite having done just about everyone, apart from Caligula’s wife, a tremendous favour, the Roman bunting is a little slow to be put out. This is die to the only alternative to Caligula as Emperor is Claudius (CLAVDIVS to give him his proper Shenley Court Comprehensive shool-watching the Derek Jakobi TV version I CLAVDIVS-name). ‘What’s wrong with that?’ you who haven’t read the story so far, or skipped your school History lessons, might cry: Well, to bring you up to speed, the only problem with that, with Clavdivs is, he a drooling, stammering, half-idiot. Perfect as a politician then. Well, he is the only game in town – for now – that most can agree on. The best least worst solution to the succession. However, he is surrounded by powerful men. Both physically, in the shape of the feared Prætorian guard, and with Narcissus, Pallas and Callistus, three of the schemingest schemers it will ever be the Romans’ misfortune – but our good fortune – to come up against. Each is seemingly trying to out-do the other in proving their loyalty to Clavdivs by proving to the Roman people, the mob, that Clavdivs is a worthy Emperor. And what better way to do that than have the Roman army go off in search of a stolen Legion Eagle in Germania. Not just any stolen Eagle, but the one that was lost at the scene of possibly Rome’s greatest – as in worst – defeat. The catastrophic, humiliating defeat 40 years previously in the Germanian Teutoburg forests. Capturing and returning the Eagle would go a long way to restoring Roman pride and ensuring Clavdivs’ popularity. Not to mention subduing the troublesome Germanians and setting the Empire nicely up for another round of expansion, where Clavdivs can prove his worth by out-doing even the great Julius Caesar – not to mention Caligula – and conquering Britannia.

Luckily for Robert Fabbri and us, it is Vespasian who is sent off on what most believe is an impossible mission that even Ethan Hunt would think twice about. That of finding and bringing the Eagle back. I can’t now remember whether that is fiction Robert F has put in, or actual fact, based on likelihood, but either way, it works. And how! As we – Vespasian and us – escape from Rome’s clutches, the story and the writing blossom, flow and soar. If something can blossom and soar at the same time. Incredible stuff. So exciting, compulsive and compelling. I hate cliches to do with book reading – you try ‘devouring’ a book one day, can’t be done – but I really did not want to put the book down. Even to have my tea. Or my breakfast. And I’ll be sending the marriage guidance counselling bill direct to Mr Fabbri. It engages immediately and never lets go – not until the end anyway. The story, the character, the author have really been set free by coming out from the stifling confines of the Caligula period. The hunt for the Eagle’s residing place in the threatening, mysterious forests of Germania, is done a little like Southern Comfort, if you’ve ever seen that film, mixed with Predator. Remember what happened in those two and you’ll get what’s going on here. It really is done so well, the sense of threat is palpable. Superb writing! Historical Fiction, any kind od Fiction even, at its very best. Very filmic too, which may or may not be a coincidence…

I’m going to go on a limb and say it’s one of the two best books I’ve read this year. The other being Greg Iles’ The Bone Tree. For sure in the best three anyway. Certainly the best Roman-period book I can remember ever reading. It really reads like a modern-day thriller, set in AD 41. Robertus Ludlumus. And it’s the fourth in the series, how can THAT be? Shouldn’t people be running on auto-pilot at this point? Not Mr F. If you like your action fast and your Romans and Barbarians furious, then pick up Rome’s Fallen Eagle now! Go on, do it! (You see what I did there?).

Vespasian. Tribune of Rome (Vespasian I): my review
Rome’s Executioner (Vespasian II): my review
False God of Rome (Vespasian III): my review

All posts on Speesh Reads mentioning Robert Fabbri

Buy Rome’s Fallen Eagle (Vespasian IV) at The Book Depository

Me, at Goodreads

Review: The Ends of the Earth

The Ends of the Earth

The Ends of the Earth by Robert Goddard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The final book in The Wide World Trilogy and Robert Goddard remembers the Wide World bit on the cover and has the story rushing – as much as a five week sail trip can be said to be rushing – off to Japan in search of answers to the many questions raised back in Europe and in the first two Wide World books, The Ways of the World and The Corners of the Globe.

The travel time to Japan can be easily explained – in case you haven’t been with us thus far – by the story being set in 1919, during and just after the Paris Peace Conference, formed by the winning side, to sort out the mess made in the Forst World War. The main character, WWI flying ‘ace’ James ‘Max’ Maxted is dead. It seems he was killed in the incident at the end of The Corners of the Globe. That’s not a spoiler – at the end, he is shot. You’ll have to wonder just why Robert Goddard might want to kill his hero off until you read this book. Max’s colleagues have already arrived in Japan and are hot on the trail of the mysterious Jack Farnham, who might, if he’s still alive, be able to supply some of the afore-mentioned, much needed answers. Or shed some light on them anyway. Or not, as you know the case might also be. Hot on their trail, or maybe even there before them, is the enigmatic, ‘how does he DO that?’ devious, treacherous, German spy-master, Fritz Lemmer. The whole trail of events was set in motion by Sir Henry Maxted, Max’s father, who died even before the first book, The Ways of the World even started. Seems to run in the family, that. Max, according to his older brother, who was looking at a smooth transference of the family assets, property and titles into his hands, had one job. To sign the papers in Paris and bring their father’s body home. It was never going to be that simple and soon a whole intriguing can of worms was opened, one which has had me pretty much spellbound the whole way through the three volumes.

The series as a whole, has been wonderful. Entertaining, interesting, surprising, full of suspense and shocks and very well written indeed. There are actually signs, and I do have one or two un-answered questions of my own, that there may be further books featuring some of the characters. Those still alive, of course. The middle book, The Corners of the Globe, was particularly good. It dealt with issues brought up in the first book, not by solving the clues, but by expanding them and confusing the issues even more. It was a brilliant book, I thought, quite extraordinary as a number two as well (rather like The Bone Tree by Greg Iles, in that respect). So, it was an almost impossible level for The Ends of the Earth to live up to really. Whilst it is up there, it doesn’t quite match my expectations. Not entirely my fault, blame it on a superb second book. What’s wrong? Not an awful lot, however…personally, I wouldn’t have had the story going off to Japan. I’d have had the Japanese angles of the story coming to us, as it were. The first two, stayed in Britain and France and worked superbly well. The trip to Japan, whilst necessary for the story as it is now, seems still to be, as I flippantly mentioned above, a way of justifying the Whole Wide World tag. Moving – and finishing – the story out to Japan, removed any subconscious frame of reference we European readers had. And felt a little forced. The Japanese are so different, were so different back then, they might as well be aliens. The first two, we (thought we) knew where we were and so the surprises were even more surprising and shocking. Anything here, can be written off as ‘the kind of thing they obviously get up to over there.’ The 39 Steps bit in volume two, is just superb, way better for it’s simplicity and naturalness (if that’s a word) than much of the set-pieces here. And, the big castle set-piece – again, yeah, necessary for the plot as it is (well, a certain part of the castle, anyway), but it was all bit ‘game-show,’ Mission Impossible (Implausible)-like and further removed the characters from reality, even that of the well-written streets of Tokyo.

As a whole, a really excellent, old-fashioned (in more ways than one) mystery, thriller series. With hopefully more to come and to be revealed.

 

Buy The Ways of the World at The Book Depository
Buy The Corners of the Globe at The Book Depository
Buy The Ends of the World at The Book Depository

Me, at Goodreads

Review: The Corners of the Globe

The Corners of the GlobeThe Corners of the Globe by Robert Goddard

My rating: of 5 stars

The Corners of the Globe is the second in Robert Goddard’s The Wide World trilogy and it definitely shows all the signs of a master of the genre at work.

I think I was perhaps fortunate to read this coming off the back of another mid-series masterwork (too many ‘master’s there – Grammar Ed), The Bone Tree, by Greg Iles. I’m actually not quite sure how that works or even if it matters, but it felt like a hell of a good period to be a reader while I was on the go with those two anyway. Like (the brilliant) The Bone Tree, this is so much more than just a mid-series book, with much more going for it, and with a development of character and unfolding of plot that you don’t always find in book two of threes. Though, it has got to be said, as with TBT this is so much a part of the series as a whole (you can see that even though both are ‘only’ mid-way as yet), that you really can’t and shouldn’t take them out of the series. What I mean is – if you haven’t read the first book, go do it now. Then read this. It must not be read on its own. Or in isolation, or before number one, or after number three. You’re not doing yourself, the series or Robert Goddard any favours otherwise.

The story starts (or continues from book one – you choose) in 1919. Former WWI flying ace, James ‘Max’ Maxted, the son of Sir Henry Maxted, whose murder in Paris while attending the negotiations after the conclusion of World War One, starts the whole story rolling in book one. It was Max’s refusal to take the ‘accident’ at face value that got him into trouble with the authorities, German spy rings and his family, in the first place. Here, his troubles are largely his own work. Max seems to be working for the feared German spy-master Fritz Lemmer, a man who has his fingers in more pies than he has fingers alright. He has something on everyone, he’s everywhere and there when you least expect him. As Max finds out, almost to his cost several times. Max thinks Lemmer is the key to finding out the truth about not just his father’s death, but about his father and is sent up to Scotland to the Orkney’s to where the German High Fleet are interred. His mission is to recover a document containing secrets Lemmer is desperate should not fall into his enemy’s hands. Who, Lemmer decides, is now Max. From this point, it’s desperate and dangerous and ‘look behind you!’ stuff, which if you’ve seen or read The Thirty-Nine Steps, will have you go all misty eyed at the sheer unpredictable, nail-biting, gotta read on brilliance of the whole thing. That is, if you can tear your eyes away to wipe them.

Each new piece of information Max discovers, only seems to reveal that there are many more pieces to find. And they don’t know what the final picture should look like, but there’s something there, something in the background, something casting shadow over the whole that is just tantalisingly out of reach. Everybody seems to know more than they’re letting on. Especially the dead.

Max was a good character to start, here he is developed perfectly. Thoughtful, resourceful and – fittingly – often flies by the seat of his pants. As in book one, there is a strong supporting cast. Sometimes, Max seemed more of a link, the catalyst, than the main character, even if it all in the end, revolves around him and his father. He sometimes feels like he should know the whole, if he can just see the link asometimes while being the centre, seems to know less than those around him.

Ends that were loose from the first book, are tied up here and other ends are loosened in preparation for book three. Perhaps it is not as complicated or viscerally shocking as The Bone Tree. Perhaps more subtle and understated, though absolutely no less exciting and gripping.

An indecently good book. I can’t wait for the final instalment, neither should you.

 

Buy The Corners of the Globe at The Book Depository

Me, on Goodreads

Review: The Bone Tree

The Bone Tree

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s almost a waste of time trying to describe this book. But I’ll waste – hopefully – a little of your time, then you can go out and get stuck into it and/or, if you haven’t read Natchez Burning already, read that. Then this. The best book I’ll read all year, by a Mississippi mile.

It is, as they say, a stunning achievement. Mainly for being 800 utterly gripping pages long, that held me spellbound from start to finish. I shit you not; my face was set to stun, my jaw on the floor the whole time. Not just with shocks, twists and ‘…the FUCK?!!” the whole time, but at the truly awesome scale of the achievement Greg Iles is in the middle of with this series. How on earth he’s done/doing it, I don’t know. He’ll need to take a few years off writing after this, no doubt. His brain must be full. And saying that, if you’re a writer writing in the same genre as Mr Iles; give up, stop now and find another job. You’ll never, ever (ever) do better than the Natchez series (I’m not actually sure if it has a title).

What’s it about? So much. You do need to have read book one, Natchez Burning, that is essential. The background knowlege from that, will allow this to hit you like a runaway truck. I can’t sum it up. The action is compressed, like a pressure-cooker of emotions and shocks, into just a few hours. The Bone Tree, overlaps slightly, by and hour or two, with the end of Natchez Burning, there is a quite lengthy ‘explaination’ built in, to get you familiar with the events, but you’re going to wish you had read it and kick yourself if you haven’t.

The Natchez town doctor, Tom Cage, stands accused of killing his ex-nurse, a black lady, his son the mayor, gets involved, his father goes ‘missing,’ investigations begin to reveal all sorts of links – to a vicious off-shoot of the KKK, to the murders and ‘dissappearances’ of black people in the early 1960’s, to the deaths of JFK, MLK and RFK. Read the book, and you’ll know why I’ve written it like that. It is clear that the doctor, Penn Cage’s father holds the key to it all. Why he is hiding the truth, we don’t know. To protect himself, maybe. To protect his former nurse, maybe. To protect the KKK, the mafia or what he knows about them – maybe. Natchez Burning set out the stall, The Bone Tree puts everything in its place on the stall, the next one, possibly called Unwritten Laws will, well, who knows? Maybe that’ll sweep everything off the board – again. It’ll be an almost impossible feat to beat this, but if ayone can, on the evidence so far, it’s Greg Iles. Incredible work, just stunning and at the end, I wanted to ring someone up, anyone, if I knew them or not, and rant about how good this book was. Could not be more impressed if it had fallen off the bookshelf on my head.

For the sheer level of shock and awe on just about every page and at the level of penmanship it shows to maintain that over 800 pages, I can’t see The Bone Tree in my reading experience, ever being beaten. Quite where Greg Iles goes with the story after this monumental work, I don’t know. But, that’s the point. It’ll be a shock and it’ll be awesome. My recommendation? Wait until book three comes out and you can go through the whole lot in one go. You’re going to want to. Me, I gotta wait a year until book three. Aaaaargh!

My review of Natchez Burning

Buy Natchez Burning at The Book Depository

Buy The Bone Tree at The Book Depository

Me on Goodreads

Well, erm…blimey, yeah : The Bone Tree then…

Then this arrived today. Not what I was expecting.

Yes, I was expecting my hardback of The Bone Tree by Greg Iles to arrive, but I didn’t expect this.

The Bone TreeI was fairly sure I’d ordered the UK version from The Book Depository, as it looked (that’s it on the left), though in hardback, very similar to the design of the paperback version of Natchez Burning I read last year (on the left). Natchez BurningThat was a super-looking cover and I thought, at least if I am going to break the sequence and get a hardback instead of waiting for the paperback, at least it’ll look similar.

Just me? OK then.

 

So then, today, this turns up:

The Bone Tree 1

At first, I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t what I obviously thought I was ordering. Then, I saw this:

The Bone Tree 6

The Bone Tree 8

The Bone Tree 7

Those are some rough-cut edges alright.

I can’t imagine that that is how they should be. The Book Depository did seem to give the impression that the book was being sent out ahead of schedule, so maybe I got one that was – somehow – unfinished? I did rack my old designer brain for a – given that I do know something of the story so far – justification for it. Came up empty.

So, I’m thinking ‘do I have the enthusiasm for sending it back?’, when I get thinking ‘that there cover looks a bit strange’ and I have a closer look…

The Bone Tree 3

The Bone Tree 4

The Bone Tree 5

And…I’m sold! My previous ‘oh good lord, this isn’t what I wanted!’ is now ‘Wow!’

So, rather than the dinner of the dog, in an instant I really do think it looks the knees of the bee, the pyjamas of the cat.

It’s certainly a first edition,

The Bone Tree 9

can’t complain there.

So, a nice – delayed – surprise then. The UK version still seems available to order on The Book Depository there, with another version also available, but without the cover pictured. I still believe I ordered the UK version, but I’m well chuffed with this one now and looking forward to getting some eyes into it asap.

Even with the ‘A Novel’ nonsense on the front…

 

 

Good news indeed!

 Now this one I have been looking forward to. It will be breaking into the schedule so I can indeed be ‘one of the first.’ Though as it’s on it’s way from wherever, to me here in Denmark, ‘the first’ is probably going to mean a lot larger number than they’re maybe thinking.

Natchez Burning was fantastic and only the start of a trilogy of which The Bone Tree is number two.

I think it may be the US version, I can’t remember, but I just hope they haven’t put ‘A Novel‘ on the cover. I know what the bloody thing is, I’m not gonna put it in the toaster and butter it, credit me with some intelligence.

Read my review of Natchez Burning here – if you didn’t see to click on the title above…

You can buy The Bone Tree from The Book Depository here.