This novel is a series of stories tracing Irish history over a number of centuries. The stories are woven together by place and by characteristics or belongings ascribed to each family that travel down through the generations. In fact, Dublin itself is as much a character as any of the people in the stories. Although some of the human characters could have used more depth, the overall historical impact makes it well worth the time spent.
I loved nearly everything about this novel. Each character is finely drawn and the slow pace of the plot with a converging timeline draws out the tension. The narrator's pacing is flawless. When I could feel the novel drawing to a close, I became sad for it to end. While I felt the ending was weak, almost as if the author didn't know how to close the novel, it didn't detract from my enjoyment. Highly recommended.
I've loved several of Robert Harris's books and I'm a techie nerd, so I expected to love this book. Disappointing from the first chapter, I hung on, hoping it would get better. It did not. The protagonist is referenced as brilliant and a clear, fast thinker--frustrated because no one around him can keep up with the speed of his mind. You would not know it from the plot. The "culprit" is clear nearly from the start and the ending is completely nonsensical. There wasn't a single character in the novel with whom I connected with as a reader. What did stand out: the narration, descriptions of Geneva, little pieces of CERN history, and a mini-education on hedge funds.
I really wanted to like this book. I'm a big fan of both fiction and non-fiction espionage. I'd heard the author interviewed twice and found her interesting. But the book traded plot for rage at the bureaucracy that partially enabled the terrorists and apologies for not being able to work more effectively. Much of the dialogue is internal, switching from character to character. Mid-novel, I was tired of hearing their every thought and just wanted something to happen. When it did, it was too late and too sparsely described for me to care. It is "a novel of the CIA" as workplace rather than a center of intelligence. While there was one, possibly two, "darkly humorous" threads, they were not enough to save the book.
I loved the first two Cree Black novels, so it was disappointing to discover in the introduction that this wouldn't be a "supernatural" mystery like those first two novels.
All in all, Bones of the Barbary coast was just okay. I was mesmerized by the historical thread, a journal from the years leading up to the 1906 SF quake. But, the modern-day characters were uninteresting to me, except in the very final scenes, and often unlikable.
The Bourne trilogy is an amazing arc, one I've read and re-read several times. The stories are mystery, suspense and non-stop action centered around David Webb/Jason Bourne, a man nearly broken by his past who manages to find his way forward with and for his beloved Marie. Unfortunately, the Webb/Bourne in this book is in no way related to the all-too-human man we met in the original trilogy. Marie is largely forgotten. There is zero tension between the two minds of Webb/Bourne. The storyline is also sadly lacking. About the best I can say is that there is quite a bit of action. The action just doesn't go anywhere, which is all the more disappointing for having let down admirers of the "Bourne legacy" with such a dud. Bourne fans: beware!
The narrative alternates between the last days of Russia's last Romanov Tsar and an alternate "present day" Russia about to resurrect the line of the Tsar. It's an interesting premise with a very "Ludlum-esque" plot and pacing. Although I did very much enjoy the story, like many of Ludlum's, it can be quite unbelievable at times. The political view of Russia espoused also seem greatly oversimplified, however much it had to be for the plot to work. In spite of these small failings, I'd still recommend it. It certainly kept me listening, and even inspired me to do some more research on Rasputin and the Romanovs.
I took a chance on this novel, never having even heard of the author or book before, and am glad I did. The characters were well-drawn, although the pace was a little uneven. The book starts off quickly then seems to slow a bit, but hit the suspense mark again midway through the narrative. The finish is excellent, although there was one disturbing (but intentional) "loose end." It's hard to say much more without giving away the twists and turns in the plot...much better to let the characters and plot unfold as you're listening!
Part suspense, part romance and all supernatural, this is a charming novel. The protagonist, a "ghost psychologist" with a troubled past involving the paranormal, is surprisingly believable. Her closest associates are also well-drawn, and New Orleans is lovingly and richly detailed. Like others, I found the romance lacking, but thought the suspense in shifting through the layers of history and family relationships to get to the heart of the ghost was well worth the time spent. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series.
Harris' marvelous novel successfully layers history, science and a good story. He has taken what we know of the Roman citizenship, of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and of Vesuvius, and brought them to life with personality. Yes, we all know how the story will end, but the journey remains somehow both interesting and full of suspense.
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