Final Review for the year 2007!
Touchstone by Laurie R King... (release date: Jan 2nd)
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Bantam (December 26, 2007)
When this book arrived, the first thing I noticed was it was heavy! Hmmm, a tpb this heavy? Ah, well I see now.. 560 pages! Still, it felt heavier than it looked.
I stroked my hand over the very smooth cover. I liked the feel of this book. I wonder if this is how all ARC books look and feel?
Then I opened the book. The pages seemed thicker than normal, and the pages were white. I mean REAL white, not a cream color like all the other books I own. The print was super clear.
Before I read the first word about this mystery book, I felt the book itself was a mystery!
There have been a number of books for which I wish I knew how to do a proper review, to do them the justice that they deserve.... this is one of them. Therefore, before I speak of it for myself, this is the editorial review Amazon gave it. At least it's more professional than I can do..
Hailed for her rich and powerful works of psychological suspense as well as her New York Times bestselling mysteries, Laurie R. King now takes us to a remote cottage in Cornwall where a gripping tale of intrigue, terrorism, and explosive passions begins with a visit to a recluse upon whom the fate of an entire nation may rest—a man code-named . . .
It’s eight years after the Great War shattered Bennett Grey’s life, leaving him with an excruciating sensitivity to the potential of human violence, and making social contact all but impossible. Once studied by British intelligence for his unique abilities, Grey has withdrawn from a rapidly changing world—until an American Bureau of Investigation agent comes to investigate for himself Grey’s potential as a weapon in a vicious new kind of warfare. Agent Harris Stuyvesant desperately needs Grey’s help entering a world where the rich and the radical exist side by side—a heady mix of the powerful and the celebrated, among whom lurks an enemy ready to strike a deadly blow at democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.
Here, among a titled family whose servants dress in whimsical costumes and whose daughter conducts an open affair with a man who wants to bring down the government, Stuyvesant finds himself dangerously seduced by one woman and—even more dangerously—falling in love with another. And as he sifts through secrets divulged and kept, he uncovers the target of a horrifying conspiracy, and wonders if he can trust his touchstone, Grey, to reveal the most dangerous player of all ….
Building to an astounding climax on an ancient English estate, Touchstone is both a harrowing thriller by a master of the genre and a thought-provoking exploration of the forces that drive history—and human destinies.
Ok? Good.. now let me say how I felt about it.
First you must know, this is a suspense mystery with much political background. NOT what I would ever pick up and read!
Keeping this in mind I have to say that Laurie R King is such a magnificent writer that she kept me reading this book weather I wanted to or not!
This lady writes the most wonderful and interesting characters, that even if I am not 100% thrilled with the subject matter (politics in no shape or form !) she keeps me reading!
This book in many ways is no different than what she did to me in her Mary Russell books! She made me like it!
Although Harris Stuyvesant is the investigator, and main character, she had my heart go out to Bennet Grey. Not only was he heart-wrenching, he was a living time bomb waiting to explode! (there's a pun in there, but you'll have to read the book to understand it!)
Stuyvesant is an American working for the government, who travels to England to find a man he suspects has set off a number of bombs in America, one of them all but killed his brother, and this was a personal matter. He has come at a turbulent time in England with miners striking and Unions ready to wage war.
He is led to a man named Major Aldous Carstairs.. whom you will dislike immediately! And not without reason!.. With Carstairs "help" he is introduced to Bennet Grey (who will steal your heart in one way or another). With Grey's help Stuyvesant believes he can infiltrate the group of people surrounding a man named Brunson, who he believes is the bomber. Grey introduces him to his sister Sarah, (a noticed beauty to Harris), who in turn introduces him to Laura Hurleigh, daughter of a Duke, mistress to Brunsen, and a very highly intelligent and political person herself.
I can't begin to tell you the twists and turns this story takes! The homework Laurie King must have done to describe every moment in England and every detail of the House of Hurleigh must have been horrendous, because, trust me on this.. you think youare there!
I won't even mention the twists and turns that happen at the end of this book! I highly doubt you will figure it out along the way! If you are even remotely interested in suspense thrillers, this book is for you!
I doubt I ever would have sent for this book on my own, but I am very happy Vicki found me and offered me this ARC copy.. and I'm very happy to have it among my collection of Laurie R King books.
I will leave this review with a small, but significant, piece of Ms King's wonderful work. It's the scene where Carstairs brings Stuyvesant to meet Bennet Grey. To me, it was one of those "hooks" that says... ok, this is going to be interesting! They stand a distance apart facing each other, Grey has an ax resting on his shoulder....
Major Aldous Carstair's lazy smile deepened, and his voice when he spoke was low, almost intimate. "Captain Grey, it is so very good to see you again. May I present Mr. Harris Stuyvesant from America? Mr. Stuyvesant, Captain Bennett Grey."
Stuyvesant looked from the sharpened steel on the man's shoulder to the expressionon his face, and decided not to offer his hand. "hi," he said, his fingers sketching a wave.
Grey still hadn't taken his eyes from the Englishman. "Major."
It wasn't that Carstairs didn't hear that raw threat, Stuyvesant thought: The man's face might be arranged into the fond expression of a parent indulging a child's whim, but Stuyvesant was close enough to feel his tension- the muscles beneath that fancy coat were just waiting for the command to dive for the car. Anyone less cold-blooded than Aldous Carstairs would have been sweating into his well-ironed white shirt.
But give the icy bastard credit: His voice gave away no trace of fear as he said, " I believe, Captain Grey, that your precise words were, 'If I lay eyes on you again, be prepared to die.' However, before you come after me with that archaic weapon, I should hope you might listen to a request. It concerns... your sister."
As for the rest of the day:
Sunday turned into another decent day for watching old movies that I always enjoy!
Treasure Island 1950
Robert Newton as Long John Silver
Bobby Driscoll as Master Hawkins
It's sad to think that Robert Newton died at the age of 50 from a heart attack, and Bobby Driscoll died at age 31 from heart problems!
Well after the movie was made Robert Newton renewed his part as Long John Silver on a tv series for 3 years just before he died. (I had such a crush on Robert Newton when I was a kid lol)
What came on later was:
Gullivers Travels 1996
Ted Danson as Gulliver
Mary Steenburgen as his wife (and his real wife!)
I had forgotten how many stars played smaller parts in this movie!
Ned Beatty ... Farmer Grultrud
Alfre Woodard ... Queen of Brobdingnag
Edward Woodward ... Drunlo
Peter O'Toole ... Emperor of Lilliput
Warwick Davis ... Grildrig
John Gielgud ... Professor of Sunlight
Omar Sharif ... The Sorcerer
just to name a few!
so.. I had Stardust and Dinotopia yesterday and Treasure Island and Gullivers Travels on Sunday! Not too shabby a weekend for movies!