- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 13 hours and 33 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: August 30, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01GF2SHP6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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A Great Reckoning: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Several reviewers have noted that this is a stand alone book, and it is in the sense that there is a contained story, but I would argue that reading this book without having read at least some of the previous books is a mistake. Without the background, the echoes of meaning in this book are lost and the reading experience has to suffer. Louise Penny spends almost no time giving background material in her novels - she assumes you know.
I've found Penny's later books to have a strong undercurrent of sadness. In this book, where so much of the story is about memory and memories, the sadness is like a veil through which the whole narrative is seen. One of the lessons of the novel is that life hands us situations, many of which are painful but we decide how they impact our future. Much of the book explores how choices compel other choices, but also how each character has the opportunity to make a new choice, a better choice and change their lives, overcome failure and bitterness and find forgiveness. In the end this is a deeply hopeful book.
Louise Penny is usually considered in the class of traditional mystery writers like P.D. James and Dorothy Sayers. This is only partly true. Her books began as traditional mysteries. Still Life, her first, is a good mystery novel with interesting characters. As time went on however and her power as a novelist grew her books changed. Though they remained in the mystery genre her books have really become studies of character in a crime setting. As a writer of character and mood there is no one to touch her in the mystery field today. It didn't happen overnight, but today she is a superb novelist who happens to write about a policeman, Armand Gamache. I've read many wonderful mysteries in my life, many fine novels, but I have never read anyone in contemporary fiction with the depth and power Louise Penny brings to her best stories. Her books are luminous. Read book one: Still Life, and then read all of her other books - she will take you on a wonderful journey.
I loved this book and believe it is one of Penny's best. The heart and soul of this story matches the mystery. I couldn't put it down.
For those of you new to Louise Penny's Gamache mysteries, I would highly recommend you start at the beginning with Still Life. You could read this book as a stand alone, but it will truly mean so much more to you if you are familiar with Gamache's history.
For Penny fans, you will find this book spends time with old friends in Three Pines, as well introducing some wonderful new characters.
I highly recommend this novel.
Once again the fictional Three Pines where Inspector Gamache has retired with his wife Reine Marie and charming dog Henri offers a mystery for the Inspector. He uses this as a training exercise for four cadets, two new and two senior cadets. An old map is found, a connection to the stained glass window in the church is seen and the cadets must find out who drew this map? What is it for? What type of map is this? Why was it hidden?
The Inspector makes several decisions which change the way things are done at the academy but some people, including himself, question his decisions. One of which is accepting a most unlikely new recruit, Amelia Choquet. Who is she? What, if anything has she to do with the Inspector? The former Commander of the academy is kept on as a professor, and what happens to him is the main mystery of the story. Interesting is that another professor talks a lot about misdirection and Ms Penny uses this herself to make you question who is really doing what.
The main characters from Three Pines; Clara, Oliver, Gabi, Myrna, Ruth ( and her duck ) contribute to the story but are more in the background in this novel. The setting alternate between Three Pines and the academy. Once again the reader is exposed to the depth of maturity, compassion and intellect of Inspector Gamache and how all these qualities are hard won.
It's hard to write a review without reveal too many details which may spoil the discovery for others. Don't miss out on this wonderful read! Louise Penny is one of my favorite authors. I can't imagine the talent of writing 12 amazing novels.