It is 1628, Charles I is on the throne, and the British Crown is finally taking control of Ulster. Returning to his rooms one night, Alexander Seaton is shocked to find a stranger standing there - a man who could be his double. His name is Sean O'Neill, and he carries a plea for help from Maeve O'Neill, forbidding matriarch of Alexander's mother's family in Ireland. All those who bear their blood have been placed under a curse and only Alexander, whose heritage has been kept a secret, is immune.
So Alexander travels to Ulster, to find himself at the heart of a family divided by secrets and bitter resentments. Tensions rise until Alexander is finally confronted by murder within his own family, and it seems as though his liberty and even his life could be at stake.
©2012 Shona MacLean (P)2012 Audible Ltd
Which came first... the books or the glasses?
I started this book but it was slow for me so I didn't finish it therefore I cannot give it a proper review. I won't say it is not a good book I will just say it was not a book for me. I have decided after looking at reviews on Audible and Amazon for years that I have learned I cannot go by reviews of other people. Books that have 5 star reviews by multiple people can be a book that I simply do not enjoy to the point I cannot finish the book past the 1st chapter. I have decided to completely ignore reviews. What other people like, even the masses is not necessarily what I will like. Even if a book is not liked by many people, I may like it immensely. I know I like books that are not a dime a dozen. That are not flippant, that are not cookie cutter. That are not "if you like so and so author - you will like this". That is definitely the type of book for me to avoid. By the way... I am not saying this book is any of those. It was just going down a path that I didn't feel like going down.
I bought the first three books in this series on the 3 for 2 deal. I'm sorry I did now. The First book, "The Redemption of Alexander Seaton" was quite enjoyable and well narrated by Crawford Logan. Unfortunately I didn't check to see if he narrated the other two......BIG MISTAKE! I found David Montieth's narration of this book to be diabolical. He didn't do too badly for the few minutes that the story was situated in Banff but when it moved to Ireland he was painful. Not only did he overanimate the dialogue he shouted it in accents which were constantly changing from soft brogues to harsh northern. Each character seemed to possess both of these accents. The soryline was also totally repetitive and far fetched. Ms MacLean obviously read a bit of Irish fokelore and decided to base her story around that. The book is full of hyperbolae which grates after the first two or three repetitions. So and so had never been as scared in their lives, had never seen anyone as stong etc. etc. Although the next book is set in Scotland where Ms MacLean is obviously in her comfort zone it is narrated by Crawford Logan so I don't know if I can face it. Thank God Audible accept returns.
Second book of a trilogy about Alexander Seaton.
In this book Alexander goes to Ulster to help his mother's family. His grandmother fears the threat of a curse, caused by her own marriage and then her daughters' marriages which seem a betrayal of the Irish. A vicious woman who is tied up in her Irish roots, she will do anything to promote the cause.
This period with English Planters brought over to colonise Ulster is a little known period, and explains much of the later hostilities in Ireland. It takes place almost 400 years ago, during the Stuart period. It is sad that some memories should last so long.
Listening to the introduction I thought that it did not sound particularly interesting, but I misjudged it.
I have never given an audiobook five starts before, but I really enjoyed the second instalment of Alexander Seaton's story. As an historian, I found it gripping on all sorts of levels, but most of all the elements of surprise, colour and detail. It is very difficult to write in the language of today about events that took place almost 400 years ago and create a sense of atmosphere. This book manages to do this to a certain extent, but it is above all the gripping narrative that makes this audiobook impossible to put down or - more appropriately - switch off. I think that Mantel is better at evoking atmosphere and period detail, but S G Maclean's narrative is much more free-flowing and enticing.
"Disappointing Reading Spoilt a Good Book"
This was an exciting book, but for me it was spoilt by an awful performance.The reader seemed to use a very similar harsh and monotonous voice for several characters - which was hard on the ear and made it difficult to distinguish them, especially as the plot was quite complicated. Such a shame as I really enjoyed the first book in the series, which had a much subtler and more sympathetic reader.
"Ear achingly dull"
This started so badly I couldn't get any further than the first chapter. With the memory of 'The Redemption of Alexander Seaton' still fresh in my mind I gave up, life is just too short.
"Great follow on to book 1"
I enjoyed this book as it followed on from Book 1. The story was easy to follow and if you fall to sleep before the hour is up you can catch up as the story followed well. The people in the story were well explained so you know who was who as I have problems with remembering thing because of Fibromyalgia and serve Dyslexia means that my short term memory is rubbish.
"Gripping story of secrets."
A story of secrecy and intrigue in Ulster in the reign of King James very well related, with many variations of voice
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