- File Size: 5377 KB
- Print Length: 374 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1499669763
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: June 25, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00LB0PGGQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,574 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Red Hill (Thomas Berrington Historical Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 374 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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By David Penny
Set in 1492 in Moorish Spain, Red Hill features Englishman physician Thomas Berrington. As physician to the Sultan, Berrington is given the additional task of solving murders committed within the palace. How's that for ingredients for a great adventurous novel...harem beauties, dashing fighting men, court intrigue, and the sights and sounds of 15th century Spain. Add to the mix, violent murders of women in the Sultans's harem and an exotic puzzle to be solved by the brilliant surgeon-physician. Although he is billed as brilliant he des not prove it in trying to solve the mystery of the murders. Here the plot suffers. Berrington makes one wrong assumption after another and breaks in the case come by chance and have little to do with crafty sleuthing. The writing style is serving the story well but isn't very inventive. I was bothered with too many typos and grammar errors as well. Where was the editor? All this to say the the novel was interesting as to the setting but the plot was rather mundane. Berrington is an interesting character with a backstory only partially revealed and will surely be expanded in the next two novels in an advertised trilogy. With Red Hill's flaws, I will try the sequels.
In some ways, this book deserves 5 stars. The writing itself is excellent, the location/time period a welcome addition to the genre, and the relationship dynamics (with his wife, the Sultan, etc.) are top notch. The personalities, politics, and glimpses into daily life are also quite well done. I had to give it 4 stars though because the last part of the book was a let down for me. One, the main character didn't solve the mystery. In fact, it felt like most of the deductions through out the book were done by others. Two, a few vital clues the characters simply didn't figure out until far later than they should have. (The one with the fabric had me yelling at the book in frustration). Three, some of the actions of the murderer didn't make sense even when they were explained. (I can't explain without spoiling the book.) Four, the after-mystery wrap up was quite harsh (again, explanation = spoiler). It may be a case of the mindset of that time period vs. current sensibilities, but it felt off.
Overall it's a very well-written book but I personally didn't enjoy it, though I really wanted to. I would recommend buying it as it does so many things right, but with the caveat that it's biggest strength - being different from the typical historical mystery - may also be it's biggest detraction for some readers.
novel about just how this surgeon came to establish himself in Grenada, starting as a 14 year old English orphan stranded in France.