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The Blood Doctor | [Barbara Vine]

The Blood Doctor

The First Lord Nanther clearly hoped to be the subject of an admiring posthumous biography. Having built a name for himself as Queen Victoria’s favoured physician - expert on blood diseases and particularly the royal disease of haemophilia - he fastidiously set about recording the details of his eminent life, carefully cataloguing every significant letter, diary and medical essay that he’d written.
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Publisher's Summary

The First Lord Nanther clearly hoped to be the subject of an admiring posthumous biography. Having built a name for himself as Queen Victoria’s favoured physician - expert on blood diseases and particularly the royal disease of haemophilia - he fastidiously set about recording the details of his eminent life, carefully cataloguing every significant letter, diary and medical essay that he’d written.

But when the present Lord Nanther begins to research the life of his great-grandfather, he soon realises there is little of interest in his ancestor’s dry-as-dust account. Indeed, he begins to suspect that these old records conceal more than they reveal....

©2002 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (33 )
5 star
 (13)
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4.0 (23 )
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Story
4.3 (24 )
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Performance
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  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 07-09-11
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 07-09-11 Member Since 2007

    trying to see the world with my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3342
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1458
    395
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1476
    139
    Overall
    "clever, excellent storytelling"

    I didn't know what to expect from Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine (except good writing) and feared that this was some kind of gothic horror - but it is an absorbing character-driven story, with a mystery element very secondary. In fact, it's more of a puzzle than a mystery, pieced together in the course of the slowly moving narrative, with storylines nesting inside one another like Russian dolls.

    Its tone reminded me a bit of French Lieutenant's Woman: Though not set in Victorian England, it evokes and reflects on that period in a similar way as the main character undertakes a biography of an ancestor. The story of writing the Victorian biography is so convincing that at times I forgot I was listening to fiction.

    As another reviewer pointed out, there are serious editing glitches at around hour 5 and 5:45 of part 1 - annoying, but they don't ruin the listen. This is a slow listen - but that can be good - in fact, to me it's the best novel I've heard this past year (out of approximately 30-40).

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margot Silverton, CO, United States 10-19-10
    Margot Silverton, CO, United States 10-19-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    4
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I love the way her mind works"

    This is one of my favorite Barbara Vine novels, the other being THE MINOTAUR. This is a very good reader, which makes it a good story well-told in every way.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce Monterey, MA, United States 02-02-12
    Joyce Monterey, MA, United States 02-02-12 Member Since 2004

    Old Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    111
    34
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Blood Doctor"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Make the the present day Lord Nanther somewhat less self-flagalating when it comes to his wife. She is too intelligent to be so maddeningly and unrelentingly selfish. One becomes fatigued with it. One wants him to flare up. Thank God for the Swiss trip toward the end. And thank God for the happy ending!! I do love a happy ending.


    Would you recommend The Blood Doctor to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes


    What does Robert Powell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    An absolutely magnificent reader! He reads the story ever so much better than I could read it to myself. He makes the characters come wonderfully alive!


    Did The Blood Doctor inspire you to do anything?

    Ask why R. Powell hasn't narrated more fiction for us. He develops character and dialogue impeccably. This talent is wasted on history, of which he has recorded a lot.

    I would also ask for a sequel. I would love to see how His Lordship and Lady handle the coming years. (I don't want to give away the plot.)


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally Sequim, WA, United States 12-13-10
    Sally Sequim, WA, United States 12-13-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    Overall
    "Annoyance"

    Chapter 10 contains a repeat of several pages. Editing needed here. Story moves slowly enough without the repetition.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results
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  • Carrie
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    11/11/10
    Overall
    "Complex and Convincing"

    This is among the best of the Barbara Vine books. The narrator, while researching the life of his great grandfather slowly uncovers tragedy. At the same time he can hardly control the way his own life is being swept along. The depth and detail of research, the interlinking themes, the convincing characters, their psychology and behaviours, the final resolutions make this a top quality work and a complete joy to have unabridged on audio book.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Rosslyn
    Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland, United Kingdom
    5/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "AMAZINGLY SLOW, BORING AND TEDIOUS!"

    Tedious, boring and deadly dull! The "complexities" of the plot lie around an MP worrying about the possible change of law denying landed gentry a place in the Lords. However, historically speaking, this law was not passed and so the self-pitying and naval gazing didn't engage me. Historical element revolves around the family tree of great-grandfather, medical advisor to Queen Victoria, specifically in relation to haemophilia. Genealogy is of interest but rather difficult to follow as more and more family members are added. Without a paper copy impossible to keep track of so many people! These thoughts are the result of listening to Part 1 and I am not sure if I have the tolerance required to spend time with Part 2. Massive admirer of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine but am not enthusiastic about this one. Robert Powell, as usual, fantastic narrator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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