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Long Time Coming: A Novel Paperback – March 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Item Weight : 10.9 ounces
- Paperback : 420 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385343612
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385343619
- Dimensions : 5.18 x 0.86 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Bantam Books; 1st edition (March 2, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,425,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The time is 1976. Eldrich Swan is released from a Irish prison after 36 years imprisonment. He returns to England and is recruited to recover the Picasso's, currently the property of an American tycoon and in exhibition at the Royal Academy of London. His nephew Stephen and the granddaughter of a Jewish diamond merchant, his former employer and owner of the art, help in the recovery. The paintings had been stolen from a vault of a London art dealer in the early days of World War II.
At the heart of the novel is another story. It's about the dawn of World War II and the neutrality of Ireland featuring real-life characters. Eamon de Valera, a hero of the Easter Uprising of 1916, is Tsoiseach of the Irish Republic having served as early President of the Irish Free State. One Malcolm MacDonald of the British Legation is in Dublin to persuade de Valera and Ireland to join the war effort. It is June 1940.
Also in Dublin in 1940 is one fictional Eldrich Swan searching for a master forger named Desmond Quilligan.
Goddard cleverly takes his readers back-and-forth from 1940 Dublin to 1976. And finally to Belgium to resolve the matter of the stolen art. It's a rewarding and fascinating tale!
Postscript: How many paintings are in a trove? Goddard's trove is eighteen Picasso's---painted between 1907 and the early 1930's. By the time his fictional protagonist searches for provenance in 1976, the paintings would be priceless!
"Long Time Coming" has a complex plot, great characters (good guys and bad), enough twists and turns to make me dizzy, and a satisfying ending. What more could you want? I enjoyed the "time travel" between 1940 and 1976 and thought Goddard handled the transitions very well.
Some reviewers say this isn't his best work. If that is true, I will definitely look up other books by him because I definitely was entertained by this one and recommend it to anyone who likes British mysteries, suspense, thrillers, or historical novels - it was a mix of all of these.
Goddard's stories are fully engaging on several levels - not least, the suspense necessary for any good mystery.
I've now read two of his books and look forward to reading more. You'll have some difficulty finding another writer of this talent.
Granted, Goddard is as intelligent and literate as ever. His writing is charming, elegant, and . . . simple when it needs to be. Reading him is just a joy.
His plotting is confoundingly clever. His suspense is strong to the end. His characterizations are well done. Yet the book is quite complicated.
Two men, an uncle and a nephew look remarkably alike, and in their time are equally attractive to the ladies. Goddard jumps between presenting one in the 1940s and the other in the 1970s.
A diamond merchant has been ruthless in acquiring his fortune. He leaves Germany to escape what he sees coming from the Germans. His art collections, especially his Picassos, are valuable.
A dealer he entrusted with the Picassos has them copied by a master forger, with the desire to deceive the merchant's family. Early on, the uncle is instrumental in persuading the forger to do the work.
Eventually the Picassos appear on display at the Royal Academy in London. Presently, the nephew works to prove who owns the originals.
Can the merchant's family prove the real Picassos are rightfully theirs and should be returned? With two and three generations involved, proofs are difficult to establish.
Several bad guys meet suitable ends. This is a thriller after all.
An extensive love relationship and a much shorter one keep our interest.
There was a time, not too many years ago, when a Goddard book was hard to find in the U.S. Happily those days are over.
Top reviews from other countries
Murder mysteries that are slightly unusual. The characters are all realistic and slightly flawed personalities. This is a refreshing break from a lot of books where characters are sometimes a bit one dimensional. It does however have you getting cross with them for doing stupid things that you know are going to get them into trouble.
Robert Goddard, unlike many authors today, does not just write a book of events leading from A to B to find a conclusion, but rather, writes a STORY, encompassing the lives, the conflicts, even the history of those involved in the story. I never cease to be amazed at the research this author must have carried out in preparation for his books which not only makes them more authentic, but interesting also.
If you feel you would enjoy a modern day type Agatha Christie 'thriller', with incredibly descriptive dialogue, and of words exceeding more than six letters, these are stories you will enjoy.
I do, however, have one downside to make to make regarding Robert Goddard's books. I am unable -as is my wife - to get a good nights sleep, being reluctant to stop reading !!
It is set in two time frames,1976 and 1940. Stephen Swan is unaware he has an uncle, Eldritch Swan who has just been released from an Irish prison after 36 years. We then follow the story through Stephen who helps his uncle as secrets from his uncle's past keep cropping up. There are quite a few co-incidents which help the story along and a romantic interest for Stephen pops up, Not exactly a thriller or a romance. The plot is quite tight and twisty through. I didn't really feel any emotional attachment to any of the characters and when I was finished I didn't feel any great loss. (A test of a good book to me is whether I feel kind of bereaved when I finished it - I don't like losing or leaving characters I've become fond of or attached to).
His best stories seem to be ones where there are 2 timelines going on where they switch back and forth and dovetail nicely at the end. Also I much prefer his writing of pure fiction where any factual characters or dates don't override the story, with a main character with no special qualifications who is thrown into a situation he or she has to solve, this story involves proving the provenance of a collection of Picasso paintings. The usual RG twists and turns with murder, love and betrayal all rolled in for fun!