No Graves As Yet

A World War One Novel #1
Narrated by: Michael Page
Series: World War One, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
4 out of 5 stars (215 ratings)

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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.

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The first of a tremendous series!

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

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Slow as Death

Had to move on without finishing this overly detailed and painfully slow story - author paints picture by describing every brushstroke

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

World War 1 story super interesting tie in

World war 1 - yes! It’s been made so real to me now....I’m finding myself researching the bits mentioned in the story and I have just found I actually regret not caring more about understanding this in my youth. The author has created a story that caught me up, I wished I could have has some of the same experiences, school life, family life, different experiences from my own, and I can’t wait to continue on to the next story. I also liked the side note the main characters are from her own family names.....would be interested if some of the story comes from her real life, too.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

excellent premise

We are rarely treated to this kind of genuflection. The era just preceding the first world war was, by many accounts, one of steadfast belief that all commonly held truths were eternal. That the foundations of society were immutable and solid, unshifting and contained timeless wisdom and strength. That nothing could erase or challenge the bedrock of this world. And they were wrong.
Where the work falls short is in the depiction of it's characters who share with one and only one voice in outrage and shock as a crime is uncovered. No one is unique in their understanding of it. No one speaks in any voice separate from the author's and so none of it registers as real, or even stands out. Every character feels the exact same amount of betrayal and rage. Everyone expresses it the same way and everyone comes to the same awful conclusion.
With this individual tragedy shaking to the core, each and every member of English society at once, the storm clouds of a world war on the horizon are terrifying, but we are already numb and can feel nothing as they approach. Our senses can't handle the concept of another crime, a worse crime, or in this case millions of crimes about to be sanctioned by governments that do nothing to avert the coming holocaust.

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Brilliant plot

Perry is fine as a mystery writer, but in this series she has the whole world war 1 experience down in an uncannily immediate feeling. The difference in experience of honor as known in that world and in ours (or not known in ours) is wonderfully reproduced.

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  • M
  • 11-26-18

Terrible Narrator

My mom loves Anne Perry and has read this book several times. We got this audiobook for a road trip and she was excited to listen to it together, and I was so happy we were going to be able to listen to one of her favorites together and talk about it on the trip. But the narrator ruined the whole thing. Some of the characters are read as monotone and others are read in a hysterical shrill voice. We were really disappointed.