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No Graves As Yet: A Novel (World War I) Paperback – July 26, 2005
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
PRAISE FOR ANNE PERRY AND HER VICTORIAN NOVELS
“Intelligently written and historically fascinating.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“You can count on a Perry tale to be superior.”
—The San Diego Union-Tribune
“[A] master of crime fiction who rarely fails to deliver a strong story and a colorful cast of characters.”
—The Baltimore Sun
The Reavley Chronicles
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
Through Anne Perry's magnificent Victorian novels, millions of readers have enjoyed the pleasures and intrigue of a bygone age. Now, with the debut of an extraordinary new series, this "New York Times bestselling author sweeps us into the golden summer of 1914, a time of brief enchantment when English men and women basked in the security of wealth and power, even as the last weeks of their privileged world were swiftly passing. Theirs was a peace that led to war.
On a sunny afternoon in late June, Cambridge professor Joseph Reavley is summoned from a student cricket match to learn that his parents have died in an automobile crash. Joseph's brother, Matthew, as officer in the Intelligence Service, reveals that their father had been en route to London to turn over to him a mysterious secret document--allegedly with the power to disgrace England forever and destroy the civilized world. A paper so damning that Joseph and Matthew dared mention it only to their restless younger sister. Now it has vanished.
What has happened to this explosive document, if indeed it ever existed? How had it fallen into the hands of their father, a quiet countryman? Not even Matthew, with his Intelligence connections, can answer these questions. And Joseph is soon burdened with a second tragedy: the shocking murder of his most gifted student, beautiful Sebastian Allard, loved and admired by everyone. Or so it appeared.
Meanwhile, England's seamless peace is cracking--as the distance between the murder of an Austrian archduke by a Serbian anarchist and the death of a brilliant university student by a bullet to the head of grows shorter by the day.
Anne Perry is a sublime master of suspense. In"No Graves As Yet, her latest haunting masterpiece, she reminds us that love and hate, cowardice and courage, good and evil are always a part of life, in our own time as well as on the eve of the greatest war the world has ever known.
"From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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The writing is excellent, the vocabulary extensive, the historical bent feels accurate and very immediate, and the action will make your heart want to turn the next page.
And Perry’s prose is lyrical. Her research impeccable. Which means one is transported to that setting . The trenches in ww1 were not where anyone would expect to find beauty but the people that manned those trenches are beautiful.
But in 2002 or so, Ms. Perry started a new series of mysteries that are more of historical novel than a set of ongoing whodunits. Set in and around the events of the First World War, and more specifically, one family's survival in the tragedy, there would be a definite beginning and end to the series.
No Graves As Yet is the first novel of the five. It begins in the rich days of June 1914. Joseph Reavley is a teacher at Cambridge University, watching a match of cricket when news arrives of a terrible accident involving his parents, John and Alys, a prosperous middle-class couple. As his siblings gather for the funeral, Joseph realizes along with his brother Matthew that their parents' death may have actually been a murder -- but with little proof, and even less motive, the family has little go on.
Joseph returns to Cambridge, Matthew to London, both of them searching for something to make the horror of the deaths have some kind of sense. Further tragedy awaits Joseph when a brilliant student of his, Sebastian Allard, is found in his room with a bullet in his head, but without any clues or a weapon nearby to suggest who did it. Matthew has plenty of problems of his own -- for he is an intelligence officer, and tensions in Europe are rising with rumors of impending war everywhere. Indeed, war is on everyone's mind, and curiously enough, the death of the Reavleys occurred on the very same day that an Austrian Archduke was assassinated in a Serbian town.
Both Joseph and Matthew find themselves questioning themselves and the unsettled times that they are living in. A great deal of the story is given over to Joseph's desperate melancholy, watching as those he has loved -- his deceased wife, his parents, Sebastian -- all vanish, and his deep psychological torment in reconciling his religious beliefs with a world that is getting ever more confusing. Over it all hangs the mysterious documents that it appears that their father had with him at the time of his death -- a secret that may prevent or accelerate a future war.
What I liked about this one was that Anne Perry carefully weaves in strands of fact in with her fictional Reavley family. Too, she also gives plenty of little details about daily life in England in that hot summer of 1914, from food, automobiles, telephones, mourning customs, to the larger world of the time. I was also able to learn about some of the history of the time that I wasn't aware of, including the military mutiny at the Curragh, and the ongoing troubles of Ireland, then under British rule; the Suffragette movement to get women the vote, and the subtler tangles of adultery, pride, and the ruthless class structure of the time.
The downside is that the novel is glacially paced through the first half of the story. I know that the author is laying down the groundwork for the next four books, and introducing the reader to the Reavley family, but it was very hard going and I was wondering if I should bother with the rest of the series. However, once I got past that halfway point, the story picked up the pace, and the plot starts to come together, building up to a conclusion that breaks at the start of the war, and Britain declares war on Germany.
There are quite a few plot lines in this to be untangled, but for the careful, persevering reader, the story has a great deal of depth and insight. Red herrings wiggle through here and there, but I also liked that Perry takes the time to let the investigation develop, having it spread out over two months, instead of having it be solved in a matter of days, allowing us to watch the three Reavley siblings questioning themselves and the world around them to great effect.
Recommended, with four stars. I'll be certain to check out the next book in the series, Shoulder the Sky.
Most recent customer reviews
I was both educated and entertained by this audiobook and will read the whole series.