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The Deadly Playground 1914: The Barrington Quintet Volume I Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
The author has an easy style that puts readers in the middle of action whether it is garden parties for the upper elite of British society (including a man named Churchill) or in the barracks that house the earliest combat pilots.
Carter obviously spent many hours researching the history of the times and smoothly brings us in to them. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the sequels.
Longer Take: What sold me on purchasing this book was certainly not the cover. In fact, when opening the file on my Nook to read I regretted the purchase when I saw it in my library. But we press on. The story starts slow and while I did not want to stop reading, for the first quarter of the book I was thinking this would be a two star review, the second star because of the research and knowledge into this time period. Unfortunatly the author seemed to care more about this history than developing the character conflicts. However, if you can get past that point the story opens into a rich environment where the character grow, their internal conflicts develop, and become more engaging to the reader.
The Deadly Playground also did an excellent job of building up the tension. It started out feeling very Great Gatsby. You knew the world was on the edge of something big. The tension ebbed and flowed throughout, keeping me hooked right up until the end.
CAN'T WAIT FOR MORE!
The first section, an introduction to the various members of Barrington family, is told through the eyes of Stanley Walker, a former classmate of the youngest Barrington, Jimmy. Stanley comes from a working class family, and managed to scrape by to attend university, has a knack with motors, and stays connected with Jimmy as he works on Jimmy's motorcars.
When the war effort begins, Jimmy coerces Stanley to join the nascent air corps as pilots the fact that neither had ever even been in an airplane, let alone flown one, notwithstanding. With Jimmy's connections, he is able to get them a certificate, which gets them into classes.
The remainder of the book is the story of how the piloting effort goes, and the different directions and interconnections in the European war zone the lives of the two main characters take, Stanley as an ace pilot, and Jimmy in 'Intelligence'.
I believe this is the first of a planned series about the Barringtons, although this one is primarily about the war in 1914, and is completely a stand-alone book.
This book is obviously extremely well researched, and the historical period is integral to the story, not just window dressing for it. I am looking forward to further volumes.
As I got to the middle, I felt - I was immersed. Historical fiction especially ones related to war and relationships are personal. Look at it from left or right, top or bottom, it is that emotional bond between the characters that will pull you in. I was gone by now. I had cried, I had smiled and I had sighed. I wanted the best for the family and I wanted to know how it all ended.
As I neared the end, I thought - Robert Carter's writing struck a chord with me. Some readers might say he has too much attention to detail but I like this in books because it takes me back and places me right in the centre of the scene.
My final impression and recommendations - I loved it and now I can't believe I have to wait for the next in the series. Highly recommended. If you liked Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles, this book will be your new favourite.
Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.