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Rose Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034542252X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345422521
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

For Jonathon Blair, a mining engineer and explorer, the color and rigors of the Dark Continent are far more suitable than the foggy drizzle of his home in Wigan, Lancashire. When he returns from Africa's Gold Coast in 1872, he finds England utterly depressing and turns to drink to ease his melancholy. His patron, a Bishop and mine owner, agrees to send him back if he can clear up the mysterious disappearance of a local curate engaged to marry his daughter. As he sleuths around the cultured homes of Wigan, through ill-cobbled alleys and into the depths of the mines, he meets the alluring Rose Malyneaux. Used to relying on himself, Blair finds that Rose's instincts provide more answers than he could have hoped for. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Though Arkady Renko is absent from Smith's latest novel, the author of Red Square (1992), etc., has created instead a new protagonist, Jonathan Blair, a 19th-century man in the best muscular detective tradition. Until 1872, Blair was an avid explorer of Africa's Gold Coast, but now he has been exiled by his employer, Bishop Hannay, to the Lancashire mining town of Wigan. Blair's ostensible mission is to find John Rowland, the missing curate who was engaged to Hannay's daughter, but he quickly learns that he'll need all his bush survival skills just to stay alive in Wigan, where no one seems to want the curate found. Much of Blair's gritty charm lies in his hatred of all things English, just as he is hated in turn by the aristocratic Hannays, their peer relations, the Rowlands-and the miners. On the first day of his investigation, Blair steps on nearly every toe in a very touchy town, including those of Bill Jaxon, a miner skilled at a blood sport in which naked men fight with brass-studded clogs. Blair ends up on the wrong end of a clog more than once when he intuits that Jaxon's "pit girl" (a woman who sorts coal) may have lured the curate to his doom. Smith molds a spirited, sexy mystery and fires it with his characteristic love of atmosphere. But his real treat for readers is Blair, whose spicy observations imbue even this gray landscape with prismatic color, and whose verbal sparring matches with the Hannays and Rowlands are equal to Waugh in their hilarious, scathing send-up of English upper-class incivility. Smith's extravagant talent runs the spectrum here from sparkling dialogue and tantalizing mystery to grim, graphic depictions of mining life that sear both the conscience and the imagination. Simultaneous Random House Audio and large-print edition; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

A great story, interesting setting, good character development.
Kindle Customer
It is also beautifully developed with colorful characters and vividly gothic atmosphere.
Jan McGreger
The story has many twists and turns that keep the reader off balance until the end.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1997
Format: Paperback
After being blown away by the Akardy Renko trilogy, especially the brilliant final chapter, "Red Square," I had high hopes and anticipation for Smith's next novel. What a huge surprise! Pit girls in a turn of the century English coal mining town? Who would have thought one of the finest and certainly most entertaining novels of 1996 would emerge from this premise? Smith is such a brilliant writer, as I write this, over a year and a half after reading the hardcover, I can still clearly visualize the town of Wigan. His grasp of mise en scene is incredible. A historical novel/mystery like this succeeds or fails on the quality of the world the author creates. I believe Smith more than succeeded. In addition, his characters are sharply drawn and memorable and, as usual, he has created a wonderfully strong and independent female character in Rose. What a movie this could make. Memo to Masterpiece Theatre: A six-hour adaption would be greatly appreciated. As I recall, this book sold about five copies, which is just tragic. Read it, you'll have a great experience!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on May 27, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
In "Rose", Martin Cruz Smith demonstrates that he has versatility and depth beyond Renko and the Communist Soviet Union, taking on an ambitious and complex tale set in the dark and gritty coal mining region of Victorian England. As with all of Smith's novels, "Rose" is meticulously researched and rich in historical and cultural detail. Unike many popular authors of today who crank out hastily written and thinly developed book-upon-book to maximize commercial gain, Smith writes infrequently and carefully, choosing each word of dialogue and each scene for accuracy and maximum impact.
"Rose" is the tale of Jonathan Blair, a British mining engineer who longs to return to Africa and his African wife and daughter. To earn passage, he is sent to Wigan, a dark and destitute English mining town, to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the fiance of the Bishop's daughter. Smith's tale twists through Wigan in a series of turns - chilling in the bleakness and brutality of this 19th Century coal town and its guarded and mistrustful populace. Blair, suffering and often barely alive with malaria, sweats and feints through a series of beatings, discoveries, dangerous liasons, and ultimate triumph. The characters are richly developed, and as dark as the smokestack-blackened skies of Wigan.
This is a highly unusual, intelligent, and satisfying work of fiction. Like all of Smith's novels, you'd be wise not to miss it.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jerry J.McMurry on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
What is a novel? The easy definition is: "a story that takes you somewhere and teaches you something about human experience." A lot of books do this. Travel books and our grammar school history books do. Tom Clancy books do. Even cookbooks can. But to be a really good novel, a book should teach something factual and unique, and do it with a lot of pleasure for the reader. Take you there and pay you for going. Martin Cruz Smith is my choice for master of painless, fun learning, and this book is a perfect example of his art.
Rose is set in the English coal-producing town of Wigan in the 1870's. The intricate mystery of what happened to a young clergyman who suddenly disappeared takes and holds our attention, while the background of the story gives us the sound and grit and blackness of the coal mining life. Being an old engineer myself, I especially appreciate the author's impeccable easy-flowing explanations of how and why things were. (Why do the coal miners have so many blue scars on their forheads? Why should you never run carrying a lit coal-miner's lamp?)
The common man worked very very hard in previous centuries. From sailors on wooden ships to the subsistance farmers and fishermen: life was damned hard. Coal miners were some of the hardest working of people anywhere. It is a puzzle why the enormous gulf between these incredibly tough common people and their imperious rulers, the upper classes, never caused a revolution like that in France or Russia. Feeling myself almost participating in this work made me marvel at my luck for my present condition, as well as feel a little shamed to think I could never have been able to do what those men and women did. We really are such wimps, nowadays. Hooray for us, I guess.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Old Fisherman on October 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jonathan Blair is a mining engineer who wants to return to Africa. However, in order to do so, his wealthy patron insists that he first travel to the English coal-town of Wigan and investigate the disappearance of Reverend John Maypole. Once there he becomes enmeshed with the pit girl, Rose, and the Reverend's fiancee Charlotte as he tries to unravel what really happened to Maypole.
The above description really doesn't do this novel justice. The mystery itself is well done but what really makes this book shine is the suberb writing. I've read many of Mr. Smith's books, and enjoyed them all, but he's really outdone himself in this one. Blair is a wonderful character, richly drawn, full of foibles, but very likeable as the engineer who wants nothing more than to leave Wigan and return to his beloved Africa. Mr. Smith also has a sharp ear for dialog and it truly is realistic. He also paints a wonderful picture of what life was like in a 19th century coal-town. I give this book a 5 star rating, which I don't give out lightly. Don't miss this one.
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More About the Author

Martin Cruz-Smith's novels include Stalin's Ghost, Gorky Park, Rose, December 6, Polar Star and Stallion Gate. A two-time winner of the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers and a recipient of Britain's Golden Dagger Award, he lives in California.

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