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Publisher's Summary

On a sunny afternoon in late June, Cambridge professor Joseph Reavley is summoned from a student cricket match to learn that his parents have died in an automobile crash. Joseph's brother, Matthew, an officer in the Intelligence Service, reveals that their father had been en route to London to turn over to him a mysterious secret document - allegedly with the power to disgrace England forever and destroy the civilized world. A paper so damning that Joseph and Matthew dared mention it only to their restless sister. Now it has vanished.

What has happened to this explosive document, if indeed it ever existed? How had it fallen into the hands of their father, a quiet countryman? Not even Matthew, with his Intelligence connections, can answer these questions. And Joseph is soon burdened with a second tragedy: the shocking murder of his most gifted student, handsome Sebastian Allard, loved and admired by everyone. Or so it appeared.

Meanwhile, England's seamless peace is cracking - as the distance between the murder of an Austrian archduke by a Serbian anarchist and the death of a brilliant university student by a bullet to the head becomes shorter with each day.

Listen to another World War One novel.
©2004 Anne Perry (P)2004 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Slow Introduction to the Great War

I've put off reading this series for a few years and I am not certain why. It covers one of the most fascinating times in recent history - the First World War - and I tend to read anything I can about that time period. It is by an author whose other works I enjoy - to a degree. I found the first few books of the Monk series fascinating, the Pitt series far less so, although I read several of them. The problem with Perry is, while I like to read series books in order and one after the other, when possible, the books in her series tend to run together and they all begin to sound like essentially the same book with different secondary characters and London locations inserted into the same plot line.

I was hopeful that would not be the case with this series. I enjoyed No Graves as Yet, the first book in the series. It takes place at the cusp of the war, the main event that drives the plot actually occurs the day the Archduke is shot. There was a family of main characters to get to know and while they all seemed dry and stiff, based on Perry's style of character development, as well as the time period the book was set in and the class of the family, that probably makes sense. There are more colorful characters when the plot moves to Cambridge and London, which keep the reader engaged. The problem was there wasn't anybody the reader could really like or really hate. There were several characters I found very annoying though. But the storyline was complex enough it kept my interest even if the characters always didn't.

The mystery revolved around a plan to keep England out of the war.It seemed a little far fetched and overly complicated, but since this plan was the reason for the mystery that drove the book, I was OK with that. The end held a few surprises, which was great. In her other series, the endings quickly became predictable.

The book was full of details regarding the ramp up to the war and Perry did an excellent job with her research and her ability to so clearly define a specific time and location.

I usually enjoy Michael Page's narration, and he did a good job with this as well. The only problem I noticed with the narration was there were too many middle-aged male characters for him to give each a unique voice, inflection or diction and I had trouble telling who was talking sometimes. And he contributed to the annoying qualities of a few of the female and younger male characters by the shrillness of his voice sometimes.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 12-16-10

World War One?

This is a so-so, slow mystery with not much history to recommend it - and the history that is there makes me want to ask: Does Perry know anything about WWI?

I did not think I would ever recommend Follet's "Fall of Giants" as a good listen (awkward dialogue and campy sex scences), but after listening to "No Graves", I'd recommend, even if you like Anne Perry Victorian mysteries as I do -- to pass on her WWI series and download Follet.

However, if you think WWI was "the good fight" and want a really slow mystery, this might be for you. I gave it two stars for evoking the atmosphere of pre WWI Cambridge and avoiding campy sex scenes. Perhaps over the course of the other novels in the series she makes more historical sense, but I don't think it's worth the credits or listening time to find out.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not so good

The early part of this novel consists of people gathering in slightly different clusters to rehash the same information over and over. There is very little story. There are a lot of "bruised" looks and "hurt" eyes.

Anybody hoping to learn some of the historical setting will be in the wrong place. At one point there is dialogue discussing how the Russians had been beaten by the Chinese fleet in 1905. Check a history book if you don't know what is wrong with that statement.

In the end the crimes themselves make little sense and can leave the reader scratching their head about motivations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • BOERNE, TX, United States
  • 03-03-15

Some good historical background

A pretty good book except there was a lot of whining and complaining from some of the minor characters - to the point it became tedious. There was a bit too much analysis of people's reactions for my taste.

I like novels relating to WW I and was hoping this would be a series I would enjoy but I'm not sure I will go on with these. The main characters, who are in the subsequent novels, are not that interesting so far. A rector/teacher and a government agent who are brothers, determined to do their duty as Britain is drawn into the war.

I did like the way the steps from the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand to war were woven into the story.

Michael Page did an excellent narration of the book. There was quite a bit of emotional content as various characters reacted to death and the onset of war and he did a fine job of conveying their emotional states.

I never really got caught up in the story and by the end didn't really care who was guilty. I was tempted to return this audiobook and still might.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carroll
  • Hilo, HI, United States
  • 09-17-11

The first of a tremendous series!

I have truly loved all five "listens" of this very intruiging series! Very worthwhile!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Just too plodding...

The story gets lost in the weeds with long philosophical discussions of people deep thoughts. The suspect makes no sense to have done the crime - either crime, honestly. Feels like the author suddenly thought "well someone had to murder all these folks, shy not a PEACEMAKER?" Sorry just not very interesting.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

historically accurate and compelling

If u live historical novels and great writing and compelling characters and if I have a penchant for re listening to recorded books then this is your lucky day. Anne Perry spins a wonderful tale of pain and courage and love. I recommend without reservation.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Judith
  • Chesapeake, VA, United States
  • 06-08-12

Not a good book!

Very dull and Ann Perry doesn't know much about WWI. I was hoping for basic WWI history. But Instead I got a murder mystery.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful