When several young girls are abducted from various locations in Edinburgh, Detective John Granger and his brother Alan, a reporter, investigate the cases from different directions. The abductor is cunning, always one step ahead, and the only clue he leaves behind at each scene are the brutalized corpses of black swans.
When the brothers' investigations finally converge at a farmhouse in Central Scotland, they catch a glimpse of where the girls have been taken, a place both far away yet close enough to touch. A land known throughout Scottish history with many names: Faerie, Elfheim, and the Astral Plane. It is a place of legend and horror, a myth. But the brothers soon discover it's real, and, to catch the abductor, they will have to cross over themselves.
To catch a killer, John and Alan Granger will have to battle the Cobbe, a strange and enigmatic creature that guards the realm, a creature of horrific power that demands a heavy price for entry into its world. The fate of both realms hangs in the balance... and time is running out.
©2014 William Meikle (P)2014 Gryphonwood Press
Many thanks to Chris Barnes @ChrisBarnesVA for the opportunity to listen and review my first William Meikle @williemeikle book. I enjoyed it immensely, I really wasn’t sure what to expect as I only read enough of the summary to know I was interested in finding out more plus the note from Chris which said: “This is a Scottish book, by a Scottish author, read by a Scottish narrator featuring Scottish characters” so it had to be great, right?
William grabbed my attention immediately and I was drawn in by the Granger boys depth of character from the off. A copper (John) and a hack (Alan) pressed back together to investigate a string of missing girls who are only linked by the broken carcasses of black swans left at the crime scenes. Unconditionally they take on the unasked responsibility to make sure another child doesn’t go missing at the hands of who knows what. Our heroes are set to struggle against the unknown, against the authorities, against the powers of a dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in a far off realm.
We are introduced to a host of characters that are well devised and developed within the fast paced powerful plot. I loved the way they interacted with each other and how we couldn’t easily work out who was on the side of good and who was riding with the black cob. I really wasn’t prepared for the level of horror we would be subjected to, but the refined method of subtle introduction allowed me to develop along with it within the storyline, understanding and accepting its place within the text.
This was also my first listen to Chris and I was very impressed with his audio style, he brought the narrative to life and his Scottish accent added weight and authenticity to the characters and story line. Having lived in Fife for a couple of years in the late eighties his brogue transported me back to that now (for me) far off land. His inflection, intonation and enunciation added a warm-hearted contrast to the dark words we were hearing and I thoroughly enjoyed his most accomplished performance.
I highly recommend this superb piece of work, I haven’t read the written version but would urge you to listen to it if you have the opportunity as the narration really brought the piece together for me. I will definitely be looking to read/listen to more books by both William and Chris and if that happens to be the same title that would be perfect, thank you gentlemen for an utterly entertaining read.
The Exiled written by William Meikle is a crime thriller set in Scotland, reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. Thankfully, I was well into the story when the horror begins, subtlety at first, which builds as the story progresses.
The story centers around Detective John Granger and his news reporter brother, Alan. They investigate why little girls are disappearing from differing locations around Edinburgh. The perpetrator is always one step ahead of their investigation, and the only clue left behind at each scene are the brutalized remains of black swans. The investigation culminates at a farmhouse in Central Scotland, where John and Alan realize that the land of the Faerie is far too real. To catch the perpetrator, they must cross over into Elfheim.
I listened to the Audible version of this story, narrated by Chris Barnes. His narration was flawless. His Scottish brogue really set the tone and tember for this crime thriller set in Edinburgh. Chris really brought the characters to life and brought an urgency to certain scenes when appropriate. Great job!
Tense, Surprising and Different.
Everything. His voice was perfect for the story and he put a lot into his characters. His accent was amazing and his tone was perfect.
I listened to it over 2 days but, yes, I wanted to listen to it all in one sitting.
This was one of those books where you go into it expecting one thing but are taken completely by surprise because its not at all what I thought. Two brothers, one a cop and one a journalist get caught up in a nightmare. When a girl turns up missing and the only clue is a dead swan and a lot of blood, both the brothers have no idea that this case will change their lives forever!
Each of the brothers bring something special to the story and they really gel well together. All the characters are well written and developed and the plot is fast paced and intense. I flew through the book and can only hope we see more from these brothers.
Anyway, overall, I loved The Exiled. The audio really brings the story alive and the narrator just grabs you from the first page and draws you in. I would totally recommend this book to everyone. Its one tense, thrilling and engrossing read!!
Multi-disciplinary IT pro with a background in geology & archaeology. Husband, dad, lifelong martial artist, perhaps a touch eccentric.
Police procedural meets dark fantasy, setting the brothers Granger (John - the veteran policeman, and Alan - the reporter) against an eldritch spirit of incredible power and thirst for the blood of innocents.
This is a gripping story, masterfully told by Chris Barnes.
This is such a wonderful audiobook ! Two brothers begin as a cop and reporter trying to . solve a case of missing little girls and find themselves on a quest in a new and dangerous world. Full of suspense.
This novella was an exciting audiobook. I wanted to know right away what was going on. I was intrigued by the way our protagonist heard her voice. This reminded me one of the episodes of a Twilight Zone show where a young girl was lost in the wall behind her bed and her parents could hear her calling them. Like a third dimension.
Every time I listen to an audiobook written by William Meikle I think to myself, I must listen to more. He never ceases to grab my attention and keep me listening, this book was no different. John & Alan Granger are brothers, one is a police officer, the other a reporter who are both investigating the suspicious disappearance of a child, but all is not what it seems. The characters are solid, you can't help but feel for them and hope for a positive outcome. I loved them, although I did had a bit of a soft spot for Alan.
William Meikle also makes perfect choices for the narrators of his books, he always seems to find just the right voice for each of the books I've listened too. This was my first time listening to anything narrated by Chris Barnes but it will definitely not be the last. His voice is quite hypnotic and once I started listening I just had to finish. The writing and narration were a perfect mix, it just immerses you into the story, it was hard to believe that I wasn't actually in Scotland. A definite 'must listen'
Both the audio and print versions of The Exiled are brilliantly executed. The book is set in Scotland and between Meikle's vivid writing and Barnes' Scottish accent, you feel as thought you're in Scotland with the characters.
My favorite character in the book was one of the protagonists, John Granger. Granger is a cop who has a multifaceted personality and Meikle does an excellent job making him tough and likable.
I loved the scenes in the book that described the scenery. The author does a tremendous job of giving you plenty of details without making the description long and boring. As far as picking one particular scene, I'll leave that for you to decide because I don't want to give anything away.
Yes! Chris Barnes is one of my favorite audiobook narrators and I wanted to spend all day and night listening to him read. He brings an intensity to this story that made it exciting from beginning to end.
Chris Barnes and William Meikle make a perfect team. I hope to discover many more books from this duo in the very near future.
The book does an excellent job of alternating the viewpoints of the two protagonists, even if the situation wouldn't seem to allow it easily.
I have listened to many of his performances before, and they've all been excellent. This one is no exception, and his fine vocal stylings really give an extra oomph to the Scottish setting.
It ended too fast! I felt like another chapter or two to tie things up would've really been nice!
Lover of sci-fi and the occasional horror story. Philosophical inclinations. English is my second language.
This is a good book, but not a great one. It follows two brothers, Alan and John, who investigate kidnappings in Scotland. They soon realise that something otherworldly may be involved. But how do you travel to a place beyond this world and what do you do about its gatekeepers?
Meikle does a nowadays fairly common thing, connecting the detective genre to fantasy. There are some interesting concepts introduced here, but I do feel many of them are never really explored to the full. In the end, the novel falls a bit flat as it leaves us with too many loose threads. Just an example; apart from a short scene at the book's opening, we never read about the missing girls' parents. It seems they just go through the standard grieving that robs them of any agency in the novel. Coming to think about it, we never really learn anything about the girls themselves - they are merely presented as token evidence that something atrocious is taking place.
Alan and John, and some of the other characters are the book's strength. You do get to know them and they feel "real" - a good thing in a book that pushes us to accept the otherworldly. The antagonists are not as developed however, you never really come to understand why they act as they do; they rarely for example come over as particularly evil and the standard verbal jabs at the heroes make them seem trite. This is an important reason why this book did not work so well for me.
Chris Barnes' scottish accent works well and he succeeds in making this book better than I suspect it is on page.
"Scottish Horror Fantasy"
The Exiled ranks pretty high,well the top, out of the audiobooks I've listened to so far as the last one was Dumbo when I was still a kid. But like the narrator told me himself "like Dumbo, this too has scary black birds!"
I loved the story,part crime,part horror fantasy and it helped a lot that the Narrator had the right accent for the job. His narrative diverse and abilities to create different character vocals top form. Will be showing an interest in Audible,Chris Barnes and William Meikle's work
Mammy, ah'm lost
I'm not giving no spoilers
"a must for all horror fans."
Thrilling, exciting, captivating
Chris Barnes makes the story his eye for detail when narrating charachters and places is brilliant.
It made me think how vulnerable we are and how we dont know whats around the next corner of our lifes
The story is set in Edinburgh were young girls are going missing the only thing linking them is a mutilated black swan. Great story and great charachters.
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