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A Christmas Odyssey: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 26, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Book Club edition (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345518586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345518583
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #846,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the Christmas novels of Anne Perry
 

A Christmas Promise
 
“Poignant . . . should be on the Christmas stocking list of anyone who likes a sniffle of nostalgia.”—The Washington Times
 

A Christmas Grace
 
“[A] heartwarming, if crime-tinged, complement to the holiday season.”—Booklist
 

A Christmas Beginning
 
“Intriguing . . . Perry’s use of period detail is, as always, strong and evocative.”—The Seattle Times
 


A Christmas Secret
 
“A delightful little book . . . Perry’s gift is that she can evoke a sense of place and time while still producing the thrills and chills expected of a modern-day mystery writer.”—The Orlando Sentinel

 
A Christmas Guest

 
“[A] satisfying tale.”—The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

 
Anne Perry is the bestselling author of seven earlier holiday novels—A Christmas Promise, A Christmas Grace, A Christmas Journey, A Christmas Visitor, A Christmas Guest, A Christmas Secret, and A Christmas Beginning—as well as the William Monk series and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series set in Victorian England, five World War I novels, and a work of historical fiction, The Sheen on the Silk. Anne Perry lives in Scotland.

More About the Author

Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels, including Dark Assassin and The Shifting Tide, and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including The Cater Street Hangman, Calandar Square, Buckingham Palace Gardens and Long Spoon Lane. She is also the author of the World War I novels No Graves As Yet, Shoulder the Sky, Angels in the Gloom, At Some Disputed Barricade, and We Shall Not Sleep, as well as six holiday novels, most recently A Christmas Grace. Anne Perry lives in Scotland.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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If I could give it zero stars I would.
NLL
She truly demonstrates that it's not one's social or economic status that defines them, but what kind of person they are and the philosophies that define them.
L. J. Roberts
The characters are well drawn and so real.
Sophia Rose

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Perry takes an odd assortment of characters through the twisted alleys of London's underworld, where class distinctions are blurred by the smoke of opium pipes and the sale of every kind of depravity known to man. When James Wentworth requests the assistance of his friend, Harry Rathbone, in locating his dissolute son, Lucien, from the sure self-destruction of his vices, it is but ten days until Christmas. A gentleman of some refinement, Rathbone turns to Hester Monk's medical clinic for suggestions on how best to conduct his search. The clinic visit yields the scrappy Squeaky Robinson, a former brothel-keeper, and an enigmatic slum doctor, Crow. The unlikely trio descends into the London's warren of tunnels, a cornucopia of perversions and drugs for anyone with the price of admission.

Perry's Victorian London shimmers with Christmas cheer in streets bedecked with sparkling lights, below a bleak network of alleys and tunnels where Lucien is lost among the bodies of those who seek oblivion. Bessie, a teenager familiar with this underground maze, joins the entourage searching for a man who doesn't want to be found. They hear talk of Sadie, a beautiful woman who sparkles with manic energy, captivating the distracted Lucien; and the Shadow Man, a dark figure who rules a kingdom of vice and addiction, who decides who will enter and who will leave, who is useful and who must die. In this brutal place, Lucien is the quarry, but Rathbone, Squeaky, Crow and Bessie are the prey of a monster who feeds on the confusion of innocents.

This is certainly an unusual Christmas mystery, but one that contrasts the two worlds of London society, the fancy homes and joyful celebrations of the wealthy and the damp, hopeless streets where poverty and crime coexist and depravity thrives unchecked.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: Henry Rathbone leaned a little farther forward in his armchair and regarded his visitor gravely.

Henry Rathbone is asked by a good friend to find his son, Lucian. Lucian has been lost in the world of gambling, drugs and dangerous sex. Although Henry gives his word to find Lucian, this is a world about which Henry has no knowledge. With the help of Squeaky Robinson, former brother-keeper; Crow, an unlicensed doctor who works in the slums, and Bessie, a brave teen who lives on the edges of that dark world, the four set out to fulfill Henry's promise.

Anne Perry's Christmas novellas are my annual gift to myself. They allow me to re-visit Victorian England, as she so accurately displays it, visit the secondary characters in her Monk and Pitt series and read a book with a subtle Christmas message that doesn't preach or push. While this year's book may not have ended up being my favorite so far, as it is very dark, it once again demonstrates just what a fine writer is Perry.

Perry creates characters about whom you really care and she creates them from all walks of life. She truly demonstrates that it's not one's social or economic status that defines them, but what kind of person they are and the philosophies that define them. Henry talks about friendship and Perry quantifies it in a way we each can understand. She talks, though her characters, about the ingratitude of those who have, and how relevant is that to today, and shares her observations on homeliness, again without preaching.

This is not at all a sweet, light Christmas story. Perry takes us from the home of wealth to places no one should ever have to go amongst people no one would ever want to meet. Parts are dark, gritty and vile.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Holly TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Anne Perry is an author that I can depend upon for an interesting story and I have truly enjoyed her Christmas offerings in the past. While I haven't read all of them, the ones I have, have been good. This time out, we meet James Wentworth as he is talking with his friend Henry Rathbone in the days leading up to Christmas. Wentworth's adult son (Lucien) has disappeared into the streets of London to pursue drugs and passion. Having become so caught up in his body's desires, he is lost to his father and the affluent/comfortable life he should be living. Henry Rathbone agrees to try to find Lucien and return him to his family. The story that unfolds involves this search and Mr. Rathbone enlists a few other characters along the way to help him in the search. Once dead bodies are reported and massive amounts of blood found, the group's inquiries take a darker turn as they try to unravel the mysteries of who has been killed and by whom. Is Lucien among the dead or is he still alive?

This is a hard review to write since I have very conflicted feelings about it. The writing that reflects the experiences in the London underworld is excellent. The author definitely has the ability to draw the picture in the reader's eye and allowed me to "see" what was happening. I have to politely disagree with the other reviewers that the novel does a good job of contrasting the upper-crust experience and the underclass/criminal element of the time. I would estimate that ninety percent of the novel is dedicated to the underclass theme and searching for Lucien in desolate, horrible places. Only about ten percent is spent setting up the narrative with a few brief mentions (really only a few sentences) dedicated to describing the contrasting world of the well-to-do.
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