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Robert Goddard was our Guest Editor in March 2011 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.
Robert Goddard was born in Hampshire. He read History at Cambridge and worked as an educational administrator in Devon before becoming a full-time novelist. His bestselling novels are: Past Caring, In Pale Battalions, Painting the Darkness, Into the Blue (winner of the first WH Smith Thumping Good Read Award and dramatized for TV in 1997, starring John Thaw), Take No Farewell, Hand in Glove, Closed Circle, Borrowed Time, Out of the Sun (a sequel to Into the Blue), Beyond Recall, Caught in the Light, Set in Stone, Sea Change, Dying to Tell, Days Without Number and Play to the End, Sight Unseen, Name to a Face, Found Wanting, Long Time Coming and Blood Count.
Spring, 1919. James 'Max' Maxted, former Great War flying ace, returns to the trail of murder and treachery he set out on in The Ways of the World. He left Paris after avenging the murder of his father, Sir Henry Maxted, convinced the only man who knows about the mysterious events leading up to Sir Henry's death is elusive German spymaster, Fritz Lemmer. To find out more, he enlists in Lemmer's network under false colours and is despatched to the Orkney Isles, where the German High Seas Fleet has been interned in Scapa Flow. His mission: to recover a document secreted aboard one of the German battleships. But the information it contains is so explosive Max is forced to break cover and embark on a desperate and dangerous race south, pursued by men happy to kill him to recover the document. The breathless chase will take Max from the far north of Scotland to London and on to Paris, where the world's governments are still bartering over the spoils in the aftermath of the Great War. The stakes could not be higher. It is life and death for all concerned.
1919. The eyes of the world are on Paris, where statesmen, diplomats and politicians have gathered to discuss the fate of half the world's nations in the aftermath of the cataclysm that was the Great War. A horde of journalists, spies and opportunists have also gathered in the city and the last thing the British diplomatic community needs at such a time is the mysterious death of a senior member of their delegation. So, when Sir Henry Maxted falls from the roof of his mistress's apartment building in unexplained circumstances, their first instinct is to suppress all suspicious aspects of the event. But Sir Henry's son, ex Royal Flying Corps ace James 'Max' Maxted, has other ideas. He resolves to find out how and why his father died - even if this means disturbing the impression of harmonious calm which the negotiating teams have worked so hard to maintain. In a city where countries are jostling for position at the crossroads of history and the stakes could hardly be higher, it is difficult to tell who is a friend and who a foe. And Max will soon discover just how much he needs friends, as his search for the truth sucks him into the dark heart of a seemingly impenetrable mystery.
One of my favourite authors with one of his best. This man knows how to keep you guessing and then twist you round once you were sure you knew where you were going, but then suddenly you don't. He'll turn a twist on a twist. I love him. Here, in first person narrative, we have a forty year old mystery, a high body-count, a contemporary setting with flashbacks and an ordinary man charged with writing the history of his employer's china clay company. This is Goddard's 23rd novel so you've lots of reading to do if you are new to him. May I recommend you start with his first, Past Caring.
When Tim Harding agrees to do a friend a favour by bidding for an antique ring at an auction on his behalf, he is unaware of the secrets tied up with it that date back three hundred years. But the ring is stolen before it can be sold, and a shocking murder follows. Harding is thrown into a web of conspiracies surrounding the ring's origins. As he Harding draws closer to the heart of the mystery, he comes across a young woman he is certain he recognizes, even though they have never met. But as he goes in search of her identity, his life begins to fall apart.
One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011. One of my favourite authors returns to his classic mystery style where the protagonist’s comfortable life is severely disrupted by his past catching up with him. In this case the Serb-Croat war is at the centre of a thriller which twists and turns in true Goddard fashion. He really is a superb master of suspense. The Lovereading view... The breathtaking new race-against-the-clock thriller from the master of the triple cross and the author that other crime writers believe is the crime writers' crime writer. Utterly and completely absorbing, the plot will have you thinking numerous wrong turns as you gallop through this excellent thriller. What's for sure is that you won't want to put it down until it's finished.
Goddard at his best in this tale about a business cover-up, romantic entanglement and the thespian world. Enjoy it for yourself or give it as a Christmas present. He’s one of our favourites.
One of my very favourite authors with a mystery that twists and turns through a plot that straddles 23 years and has the search for a 17th century book at its centre. You must read this first chapter, it’s stunning. I would then urge you to read the whole book and his others. In true Goddard style you are never really certain which of the many threads you are following is the real crux of the mystery. Is it the suspected murder of a kidnapped child, the old book or a mysterious historian who seems to have disappeared? All the paths leave you furiously turning the pages. He is very special.Comparison: Kate Ellis, Robert Ryan, Nicci French.
Some secrets are best kept hidden...Nick Paleologus is summoned to resolve a dispute that threatens to tear his family apart. His father, Michael, is a retired archaeologist and supposed descendant of the last Emperors of Byzantium. Michael has received a hugely generous offer for the family home in Cornwall, but refuses to sell.
Estranged from his family for most of his adult life, Chris Napier is persuaded to return home for his niece's wedding. At the reception, he is shocked to recognise a dishevelled intruder as his childhood friend Nicky Lanyon, whose presence is a chilling reminder of a murder and subsequent trial that Chris has tried hard to forget.
One fateful summer evening, businessman Robin Timariot meets a strikingly beautiful woman while out walking. They exchange only a few words, but those words prove to be unforgettable.
August 2011 Guest Editor Deborah Lawrenson on Robert Goddard... Caught in the Light was the first Goddard thriller I read, and I simply couldn’t put it down. As with all of his novels, the tale is compelling, twisty and packed full of historical whimsy that may or may be true. In this one, the origins of photography are the backdrop as a man finds the woman he’s chasing becomes ever more mysterious.
Luckily it hasn’t been a long time coming for the next gripping Robert Goddard novel and he is on top form in this new thriller. When Eldritch Swan is released from prison after 36 years he soon finds himself caught up once again in intrigues he thought were buried long ago. With his nephew he sets out to uncover the truth about what happened all those years ago.
This is Goddard back in the area I prefer him in, the contemporary thriller with strong historical undertones. Here the mystery revolves around the authenticity of Anastasia and her possible survival. If that were so then were there descendants? Full of twists and turns, intrigue and suspense, we are taken on a fast-paced ride of duplicity. Great stuff. Comparison: Susanna Kearsley, Charles Todd, Robert Ryan.
From the multiple Sunday Times bestseller,'One of the finest crime writers of any generation, Goddard here exercises all of his elegant, understated style and meticulous eye for detail...Goddard at his impeccable best: do not miss it.' Daily Mail Umiko Wada has recently had quite enough excitement in her life. With her husband recently murdered and a mother who seems to want her married again before his body is cold, she just wants to keep her head down. As a secretary to a private detective, her life is pleasingly uncomplicated, filled with coffee runs, diary management and paperwork. That is, until her boss takes on a new case. A case which turns out to be dangerous enough to get him killed. A case which means Wada will have to leave Japan for the first time and travel to London. Following the only lead she has, Wada quickly realises that being a detective isn't as easy as the television makes out. And that there's a reason why secrets stay buried for a long time. Because people want them to stay secret. And they're prepared to do very bad things to keep them that way... What readers are saying: 'Edge-of-the-seat stuff . . an explosive finale . . . The characters, as always in a Robert Goddard novel, are unforgettable.' 'One of the best authors in the business . . . another intriguing and sophisticated plot, with stylish prose and dialogue.' 'No-one comes close to equalling Robert Goddard's talent at writing this sort of mystery thriller with twist after twist after twist.'
What value can be put on a human mind? How Joe Roberts does what he does is a mystery. He has a brain that seems able to outperform a computer. To a games company like Venstrom that promises big profits if his abilities can be properly exploited. So they send Nicole Nevinson to track him down and make him an offer too good to refuse. But Venstrom aren't the only people interested in Joe. His current boss, a shady businessman, is already making serious money out of Joe's talents and isn't going to let him go without a fight. And then there are other forces, with still darker intentions, who have their own plans for him. Almost before she knows it, Nicole's crossed an invisible line into a world where the game being played has rules she doesn't understand and where no-one can help her win. But win she must. Because the battle now isn't just for Joe's mind, it's for Nicole's life.
'The world's greatest storyteller' Guardian 'Is this his best yet?...Full of sinister menace and propulsive pace with twisty plotting' Lee Child Sometimes the danger is on the inside . . . High on a Cornish cliff sits a vast uninhabited mansion. Uninhabited except for Blake, a young woman of dubious background, secretive and alone, currently acting as housesitter. The house has a panic room. Cunningly concealed, steel lined, impregnable - and apparently closed from within. Even Blake doesn't know it's there. She's too busy being on the run from life, from a story she thinks she's escaped. But her remote existence is going to be invaded when people come looking for the house's owner, missing rogue pharma entrepreneur, Jack Harkness. Suddenly the whole world wants to know where his money has gone. Soon people are going to come knocking on the door, people with motives and secrets of their own, who will be asking Blake the sort of questions she can't - or won't - want to answer. And will the panic room ever give up its secrets? PANIC ROOM is Robert Goddard at his nerve-shredding best. A sliver of a mystery kicks off a juggernaut of a thriller. Layers of secrets, half truths and lies must be peeled back to reveal what really lies within.
Internationally bestselling author Robert Goddard has been called "e;a master of the sly double- and triple-cross"e; (Seattle Times). In the third installment of the James Maxted thriller series, starring a dashing Royal Flying Corps veteran turned secret service operative, the truth about allegiances has never been less certain. The Treaty of Versailles has finally been signed, officially ending the World War I peace negotiations, and the action shifts east, to Tokyo, where a team assembled at Max's behest anxiously awaits his arrival on the docks. Max had arrived in Paris soon after the end of the Great War to investigate the suspicious death of his father, a British diplomat named Sir Henry, and soon plunged into a treacherous game of cat-and-mouse with the people behind his father's death: German spymaster Fritz Lemmer and the dark horse of the Japanese diplomatic contingent, Count Tomura. It is in Japanwhere Sir Henry worked as a young government agentthat Max hopes to finally uncover the whole truth behind his father's murder and take down Lemmer's spy network once and for all. But what Max's cohort doesn't know is that his own storyline seems to have come to an end in a villa outside Marseilles. Stuck in limbo, the team decides to pursue their only leadright into Lemmer's den. Loaded with death threats, knife fights, a kidnapping or two, and a coded list that has the power to dismantle whole governmental hierarchies, The Ends of the Earth is a masterful work of historical cut-and-thrust that tests the bonds of family and country to their very limit.
LIES. SECRETS. REVELATIONS. 1919 - The truth has never been in such short supply Ex-flying ace James 'Max' Maxted's attempt to uncover the secret behind the death of his father, Sir Henry Maxted, has seemingly ended in failure - and his own death. Unaware of Max's fate, the team continue to pursue their only lead, travelling to Japan in search of a mysterious prisoner held by Sir Henry's old enemy, Count Tomura. Once there, they encounter former German spymaster, Fritz Lemmer, now rebuilding his spy network in the service of a new, more sinister cause. The quest Max embarked on in Paris will reach its dizzying end at Tomura's castle in the mountains of Honshu - and the full truth of what occurred thirty years before will finally be laid bare...
Rockets, in the primitive form of fireworks, have existed since the Chinese invented them around the thirteenth century. But it was the work of American Robert Hutchings Goddard (1882-1945) and his development of liquid-fueled rockets that first produced a controlled rocket flight. Fascinated by rocketry since boyhood, Goddard designed, built, and launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket in 1926. Ridiculed by the press for suggesting that rockets could be flown to the moon, he continued his experiments, supported partly by the Smithsonian Institution and defended by Charles Lindbergh. This book is comprised of two papers he wrote for the Smithsonian. Among the most significant publications in the history of rockets and jet propulsion, these Smithsonian articles ― the first published in 1919 and the second in 1936 ― were issued at a time when little was known about these subjects. Goddard's first paper, "e;A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes,"e; addressed the theoretical possibility of achieving great ranges by means of well-designed rockets. It also demonstrated that fairly high jet velocities were attainable and described advances in the construction of a solid cartridge magazine-type rocket. The second paper served as a progress report and indicated what had been accomplished through experimentation.Goddard went to to lay the foundations for the development of long-range rockets, missiles, satellites, and spaceflight. In fact, a liquid-fueled rocket constructed on principles he developed landed humans on the moon in 1969. Today, Goddard is widely recognized as the "e;Father of American Rocketry."e; According to The New York Times, "e;This . . . is certainly a book that the historian of rockets cannot ignore."e;
1882. When the creak of the garden gate one autumn afternoon sounds the arrival of an unexpected stranger, William Trenchard is puzzled, but not alarmed. He cannot possibly know the destruction this visitor will wreak on all he holds dear. The stranger is James Norton, who claims to be the man William's wife Constance was once engaged to, and who was reported to have committed suicide eleven years ago. Trenchard fears the loss of his wife's affections, but he is forced to plumb the depths of his own despair before the dark secrets of the Davenall family can finally - shockingly - be revealed...
January, 1721. London is reeling from the effects of the greatest financial scandal of the age - the collapse of the South Sea Bubble. William Spandrel, a penniless mapmaker, is offered a discharge of his debts by Sir Theodore Janssen, a director of the South Sea Company, on one condition: he must secretly convey an important package to Amsterdam. The package safely delivered, Spandrel barely survives an attempt on his life, only to discover the recipient has been murdered, and Spandrel is the prime suspect. Spandrel quickly realises that he has become a pawn in several people's games - British Government agents, and others, are on his trail, believing that the mysterious package contains secrets that could spark a revolution in England. Spandrel's only chance of survival is to recover the package and place its contents in the right hands. But what are the contents and whose exactly are the right hands?
Harry Barnett is shocked to learn that he has a son - David Venning, a brilliant mathematician, now languishing in hospital in a diabetic coma. And this is only the first and smallest of the mysteries he is about to encounter. It is not known whether David's condition is due to an accident or a suicide attempt. But Harry discovers that his mathematical notebooks are missing from the hotel room where he was found. And two other scientists employed by the same American forecasting institute have died in suspicious circumstances. Driven on by the slim hope of saving the son he never knew he had, Harry goes in search of the truth and finds himself entangled in several different kinds of conspiracy - none of which he ought to stand the slightest chance of defeating.
1931. The new, luxurious transatlantic liner Empress of Britain is on her eastward passage. Among the first-class passengers on board are two English confidence tricksters, making a discreet exit from a scam they have left behind them in the United States. A chance meting on deck brings them a tempting new target in the shape of the beautiful and wealthy heiress, Diana Charnwood. It's a trick they've pulled before, with some success. Charm the daughter into an engagement to marry, then get the father to buy you off. So confident are they of success, in fact, that they make a pact: whichever of them wins Diana Charnwood's love will share his fortune with the other. But a violent death is to interrupt their neat little scheme. And they find themselves stumbling into something much darker than either had suspected...
Lance Bradley, idling his life away in Somerset, suddenly receives a call for help from the eccentric sister of his old friend Rupert Alder. Rupe appears to have vanished without trace. Reluctantly, Lance goes to London where he discovers that Rupe's employers want him tried for fraud. A Japanese businessman claims he has stolen a document of huge importance. And Rupe has hired a private detective to try and trace an American called Townley, who was involved in a mysterious death thirty years before. No sooner has Lance decided that whatever Rupe was up to is far too risky to get involved in, than he finds that he already is involved. And the only way out is to get in deeper still. Where is Rupe? What is the document he has stolen? Who is Townley? And could the seemingly unexplainable events of the past hold the key to a secret more shocking than Lance Bradley could ever have imagined?
Geoffrey Staddon turned his back on the best things in his life. He turned his back on the beautiful house Clouds Frome, his finest achievement as an architect. He turned his back on the woman he loved, Consuela Caswell, and who loved him in return. Twelve years later, amidst the tatters of his career and marriage, he is forced to contemplate the remorse and shame of his betrayal. But when he reads that Consuela has been charged with murder, he knows instinctively that she cannot be guilty. And when she sends her own daughter to him, pleading for help, Geoffrey cannot ignore the dangerous lure of the past any longer. He must return to Clouds Frome, and face the dark secret it holds.
Tristram Abberley was an acclaimed English poet of the 1930s whose legendary reputation was sealed when he died fighting for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. Nearly fifty years later, his sister Beatrix is brutally murdered in her seaside cottage. Her family are stunned by the crime - especially Beatrix's niece, Charlotte Ladram. But Charlotte has little time to mourn her aunt as fifty years of secrets begin to unravel. Beatrix is the victim of a dark conspiracy, one that her loved ones are powerless to defeat. A harrowing quest for answers begins, one that uncovers a shocking tale of wartime greed and treachery, and a vendetta seemingly without end...
Harry Barnett thought he had left his military career behind, so he is startled when two figures from his past turn up on his doorstep after fifty years. An old friend has organised the reunion to end all reunions: a weekend in the Scottish castle where the ex-comrades took part in a psychological experiment many years before. They haven't seen each other since. As they set off on their all-expenses-paid jaunt to Aberdeen, the old friends are in high spirits. But the cheerful atmosphere is quickly shattered by the apparent suicide of one of their party. When a second death occurs, a sense of foreboding descends on the group. It appears that the past is coming back to haunt them, a past that none of them have ever spoken about. Their recollections are all frighteningly different. So what really happened? Then when one of them uncovers an extraordinary secret, he becomes convinced that they will never leave the castle alive...
Recovering from the tragic death of his wife, Tony Sheridan goes to stay with his sister-in-law, Lucy, and her husband.Their home is a bizarre moated house deep in the Rutland countryside, known as Otherways. Disturbed by memories of his wife, and a growing attraction to Lucy, Sheridan is also troubled by weird and vivid dreams. Soon he learns that Otherways is a house steeped in a history of murder and wartime treason. And it seems that these crimes hold an eerie influence over the present inhabitants.
Harry Barnett is a middle-aged failure. Leading a shabby existence in the shadow of a past disgrace, he is reduced to caretaking a friend's villa on the island of Rhodes and working in a bar to earn his keep. Then a guest at the villa - a young woman he had instantly and innocently warmed to - disappears on a mountain peak. Under suspicion of her murder, Harry stumbles on a set of photographs taken in the weeks before her disappearance. Obsessed by the mystery that has changed his life and determined to clear his name, he begins to trace back the movements and encounters that led to the moment when she vanished into the blue. The trail leads him back to England, to a world he thought he had left for ever - and a past he has tried desperately to forget.