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on October 17, 2008
Having read this book a couple of times, but many years ago, I wasn't sure it would hold up. I had lost my hardback copy way back in the seventies, and could never find another, until this renewed publication.

Christopher writes in a poetic, descriptive style, and this story unfolds slowly at first. A lot of time is taken to set up the characters, and the first part of the novel is frustratingly slow in a few places. But the book is not long, begins to pick up speed in the middle, and it practically races to its heart-pounding finale.

Concerning a group of miniature people discovered living in a remote old house in the southern Irish countryside (which has become a hotel run by the woman to whom the estate was willed), this story reveals itself as something different from what it seems at first. One might think of fairy tales and pixie dust, but this yarn is more sinister, and answers fewer questions than are asked. The story is actually plausible, if one does not look at the science too closely.

My one complaint is that the characters are overdrawn for a slight plot such as this, but I think I understand why Mr. Christopher did it this way. Explaining it would give away the ending, so I'll let it suffice to say that I would have liked a lot more action and just a little less psychoanalysis of the numerous characters. There could have been so much more to this work, I feel, but in its favor, it's an atmospheric chiller with some memorable passages that lingered in my mind for years. Expanded some, and handled the right way, THE LITTLE PEOPLE would make for a fascinating movie.
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on January 17, 2018
Great product
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on April 10, 2007
If you have read Wilkerson's other books, you will want to continue with this one. Read it last. It is good, but of course not as riveting as the Cross & the Switchblade.
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on May 10, 2017
Just when you thought Tom Holt couldn't write an even better book, he did. Different, and very, very good. Read it!
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on February 6, 2015
Bought the book, never read it. But I felt like a book about a Nazi leprechaun that has a whip would be better than 50 Shades of Grey. I am just waiting for the movie adaptation so I don't have to spend the time reading this book though.
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on July 9, 2015
This book could be seen as "boring" and full of mundane backstories and psychological profiles of the characters in it when the promise was a book about Nazi elves. Throughout my reading of this, I kept wanting the story to go back to the action of the "Little People" (Nazi elves!). The story barely touched on this at times. At the end of the book, I realized the author's intent was to write about "The Little People"-not the Nazi elves, but rather the horror of the characters being so entrenched in their thinking, mundanity, and so wrapped up in their own worlds that they could be nothing except "little people". Despite having such a crazy discovery of Nazi elves, they were all so wrapped up in their small concerns and how everything relates to them, they could see nothing else. At the end of the novel, everyone goes home, frustrated and lost, leaving their discovery of these awesome Nazi Elves alone and untouched. "The Little People" is about people's inability to get pass their own psychological perils.
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on July 23, 2013
This is one of the most difficult books I've ever had to finish. David Wilkerson was witness to many children's deaths (usually the children of drug addicts) or empty, neglected lives and seeing those things impacted his faith and actions in a great way. This was an important read for me though. In the USA we picture children's lives like this only being possible in the poorest parts of the world but there are countless kids going through these giant struggles right here and right now!

My only criticism of this book is that it ends saying that his ministry was about to do big things for the "little people". I have tried to read up on the history of that and find what programs were formed and how they proceeded and I can't find anything. I do hope that Teen Challenge's/World Challenge's ministries followed up regarding these forgotten children with the great urgency that this book said they would.
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on December 5, 2004
When it's a story about a little boy who sees an elf at the bottom of the garden, who grows up into a larger sized little kid, still intimidated by his menacing step-dad, and daunted by his own uselessness and general futility of life, we know we are in for another Tom Holt variety show..

With a Darth Vader step-dad and a loony mother, poor Michael doesn't have a great deal of back bone. But that's ok, beacuse his best friend at the mostly-boys-only school is Cruella, and she has attitude in spades.

It seems that Daddy George (the Darth Vader step-dad) has enslaved a whole lot of elves to work in his shoe factory. Altough it takes a lot to get Michael to the point of seeing himself as their saviour, he eventually (and with a lot of prodding from various plot contrivances, and baleful girls, not to mention saccharine elves) makes an attempt to find out and fix whatever his relatives have been up to.

Being who and what he is (a monumental screw up of the kind only teenage and gormless boys seem to acheive), the operation is doomed to failure, a fact he recognizes from the outset.

Slow in places, and at times a little too carried away with describing the interminable boredom in interminable detail, this book is nontheless very enjoyable.

Through reading, I've been moved to push quotes from the book upon people.

Michael is very reminiscent of Prachett's Rincewind, only done in Holt fashion. The spineless acceptance of fate & realization of his place on the food chain make them very similar.

Holt imbues a waft of romance to the book via Cruella, and it's refreshing (The Portable Door has been his other major excursion into "happily ever afters") only I felt at the end of the book he has somewhat betrayed his characters the ending they deserved.

It's as if Holt was happy writing the middle and just before the ending experienced a disappointment that forced him to conclude the book on bitter note, instead of the humorous twist which he usually leaves the reader with.

A poignant paragraph:

"..difference between romance and real life. I think they probably have tupperware hearts in Elfland, thin and bendy and impossible to break, and thus not worth having. This side, we have the real thing; we have all the real things, good and bad, and it's the fact that they can be lost and bruised and broken that makes them valuable. They have all the looks and the style and the flowering cherry trees, we have grotty streets and lousy weather and love that can't be Araldited back together again if you're cack-handed enough to drop it. They have elves who can edit out the bad and boring bits and live for ever; we've just got little people, living short lives, living every second of them, whether we like it or not."

The little people of the title is multi-layered, and not just the obvious reference to elves /gnomes it seems to be at first.

Enjoyable and humorous although a little meandering.

Kotori December 2004 -
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on February 27, 2005
Tom Holt stories are typically more than a bit eccentric and fantastic, with a hefty dash of humor - word play and situations that might be at home in Terry Pratchett (Guards,Guards or Witches Abroad period more than the more-recent novels) or Douglas Adams book - almost always in the displaced-fish-out-of-water mold. Like Pratchett, Holt stories often have a large dose of supernatural or magic in them, but many of them take place in England. Great ingredients for light hearted fun.

This book has some of the best individual lines and a great premise, but the characters aren't as engaging as usual or even likable, and even worse, the ending is flat-out depressing. I found it the least re-readable of his books.

For an introduction to his funner, lighter-escapism with great humor, try Snow White and the Seven Samauri, or Who's Afraid of Beowolf.
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on November 23, 2010
Michael Higgins sees elves. At the age of eight he saw his first one smoking in his family's garden. When he told his step-father about it, the reaction he received was so surprisingly abrupt and alarming that he knew what he had seen was real and that his step-father (the owner of a shoe-making factory - can you say "miniature slave labor force"?) was aware of them.

Tom Holt is a British fantasy author that I feel has way too small of a readership on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. He's written thirty-something humorous fantasy novels yet is still widely unknown here in the States. His books are inventive, smart, and oftentimes, the literary equivalent of a Monty Python sketch.
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