Wings of Fire

Ian Rutledge, Book 2
Narrated by: Samuel Gillies
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
4 out of 5 stars (628 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When reclusive war poet Olivia Marlowe and her half-brother, Nicholas Cheney, die together in their ancestral home on the Cornish coast, it looks like suicide. The grieving relatives gather together to discuss the fate of Barcombe Hall, when another shocking death occurs. Inspector Rutledge, who is still shell-shocked from his experiences in the Great War, is sent from Scotland Yard to investigate. Rutledge is soon convinced that the answers to this baffling case lie within the family’s secret history.

©1998 Charles Todd (P)1999 W.F. Howes

What listeners say about Wings of Fire

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

AN ADDICTIVE SERIES!

Somehow I started with just one of the books in the series but soon bought all of them back to back. FYI: This is 2nd in the seriers. Simon Prebble, as always, is a superb narrator - much better than Samuel Gillies, who narrates like he's performing "Hansel and Gretel" to 6 year olds!

No matter how hard you try, you will never guess who will be murdered and by whom. There are so many twists and turns and red herrings that the reader is always kept guessing. The Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is a tortured soul but a great detective. He suffers from World War I "shell shock" which is what we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is manifested by a dead "imaginary friend" named Hamish McCloud. This adds an interesting component into how this detective acts and reacts. Hamish is to Rutledge what cocaine is to Sherlock Holmes - a dangerous nemesis that both helps and hampers. All of the books are pretty much the same plot but just different enough in locations, people, class distinctions, and twists to make each worth reading. My suggestion is to go on Google or Wikipedia to learn the order of the series and start with the first one. Each book fills in the gaps if you start somewhere in the middle but the continuity really helps. It would be nice if Audible.com would assign chronological order to books which contain a series or prequels and sequels. )I will post this same comment on all of the Ian Rutledge books that I've read.)

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Both History and Mystery

Todd writes the tale of a detective, back from the First World War and struggling with his own demons. As a "Who Dun It", this book stands on its own. Without throwing out unnecessary Red Herrings, Todd keeps the question of the perpetrator (if there really is one) up in the air until very close to the end.

Even better, he paints a, presumably, accurate picture of rural English life between the wars. I've spent much time studying that period, but only as a historian. I, more or less, understand the economic forces that drove events. The personalities that dominated the country are part of my every day vocabulary. To read about the lives and attitudes of those who lived there and then, how they looked at those returning from the war, how they lived with a changing world and where they would look for leadership.

14 people found this helpful

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A solid entry

I like the "hero" of this series, Ian Rutledge. He has been damaged by the "Great War" but hasn't lost the ability to see the good in people around him. The plot seemed to be easy to figure out but Todd was a little sneaky and threw in a twist or two. On the whole the story was very satisfying. The narration was quite good, that helped get past the story being a little longer than it needed to be. I'll be getting more books in this series.

6 people found this helpful

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Comfortable whodunit

What did you love best about Wings of Fire?

The people, side situations, and landscapes described are like visiting your great aunt in her small village. You are never touched by the environs, but are content to watch for hours.

Any additional comments?

If you are looking for excitement, keep looking. But, if you are looking for soporific narration and a straightforward plot that tolerates lengthy naps, you have it.

6 people found this helpful

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A Completely Forgettable Book

In fact, I've pretty much forgotten it now. During the reading I found my mind wandering, and had to go back four or five minutes to try to pick up what I'd missed. I don't think it was my problem: I listen to a LOT of audiobooks, I sometimes drift, but never anything like this. I re-read the publisher's summary and it's completely foreign to me.

This is the seventh Inspector Rutledge book I've listened to, including two narrated by Samuel Gillies. It's been a while since my last Gillies, but I'm thinking it's something about his narration that sets my mind adrift. Listen to the sample: that's exactly the way it's going to be for eleven hours.

The other principal narrator, Simon Prebble, has never disappointed me. So my advice to a newcomer to the Inspector Rutledge series is to start with a Prebble narration - it would be unfortunate to form a bad impression of this wonderful series based on a so-so narration.

Reading the series out of sequence is not a big problem. There is one character (sort of) named Hamish, who lives in Rutledge's mind. His back-story is brought out in every novel in greater or lesser detail. One reviewer says that the whole story is brought out in the first of the series, "A Test of Wills". I'll wait a while before trying that one, since it's also narrated by Samuel Gillies (NOT Samuel Giles - that's clearly a typo on Audible's description).

A great series, good solid police procedural, lots of plot twists to keep you thinking, as long as your mind stays moored.

14 people found this helpful

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Compelling mystery, problematic flaws

I wanted to love this one. It’s a great development of Rutledge’s character and he is well constructed as a protagonist. The story is interesting and the geographical and emotional landscapes are masterfully constructed. While I agree with others who complained that Gilles’s narration sounds a bit old fashioned (and his renderings of female voices are a bit shrill and hysterical) he does do an excellent job of gently nuancing the regional accents. It’s unfair to contrast anyone with the genius of Simon Prebble (or Richard Armitage) when it comes to voice acting. Where the story fails is in the huge cast of characters and the crises at the end. Despite rather a lot of dull explication at the beginning, it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around the complex genealogy that is essential to the plot: one woman, three husbands, six children. As for the ending denouement, it’s completely unplausible that Rutledge would put himself in that position, especially as things had been falling into place and the reader is pretty sure s/he knows who the baddie is. It felt like a quick and dirty end to an otherwise carefully crafted novel. What should have been thrilling falls flat because of this. I’d still recommend it, but write down the character’s names and relationships for reference.

1 person found this helpful

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bad seed, indeed.

This really was the most wonderful, fantastic story. You think you know the culprit, but no..another death. Loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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Horrible narrator

The story is good and I know that Audible changed narrators for this series for the later books. I wish the middle-of-the-series books were available and I refuse to listen to anything else that Mr. Gillies recorded so I will have to read the next few in this series until I can catch up to where the Audible recordings begin again.

2 people found this helpful

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Oh the drama!

OMG was this a detective story or a melodrama? I know authors like to write about conflict, but does it have to be every single character against the detective? It was ridiculous. No wonder I hadn’t read another book in the series in years. Hopefully I don’t forget again.

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Jolly good read!

Really captivating couldn’t put it down. The characters were very well developed. The villain well concealed until later in the story but even when you thought you’d cracked the case you still kept reading to see how it could be proved.