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Talent runs in the blood as the granddaughter of John Le Carre makes her debut with this sprawling and fascinating historical thriller, the first in a planned trilogy. Her uncle is of course Nick Harkaway and she displays the same sense of wide screen baroque and wild imagination in a winding tale that unfolds over two separate periods in Barcelona. With echoes of both Dan Brown and Carlos Ruiz Zafon, we find gory murders, mysteries galore, conspiracies, cryptic alphabets and volumes, and bibliomania crowding the pages as book hunter extraordinaire Anna Verco chases down a famous unsolved murder in parallel with the enquiries of Inspector Fabregat, eleven years earlier. Complex, assured, this is a masterful page turner and a great read.
An ancient manuscript, an unsolved murder, a burnt chapel and, caught in the middle, a clever young woman unready for the mysteries that await her are all the hallmarks of a great conspiracy thriller but this is no easy-read Dan Brown. Complex and intriguing, the story travels to different times and places weaving a dense web of mystery. It is the first in a trilogy so we can expect more complicated and exciting situations to come. Not for the faint-hearted or those seeking a quick thrill, this is properly a grown-up literary mystery and nicely enthralling to boot. Good stuff.
Barcelona, Summer 2003. Three women are sacrificed to an unknown purpose, skin carved with a cryptic alphabet, tongues cut from their mouths. Sent beautiful, sinister letters - clues, or confessions? - Inspector Fabregat cannot decipher the warnings within. As Barcelona explodes in revelry on the Festival of St Joan, Natalia Hernandez, flower of the National Theatre and Catalan idol, lies broken on the steps of the Cathedral. The city bays for blood, Fabregat chases a shadow-like suspect and signs that whisper of secrets beyond his grasp. Barcelona, Winter 2014. Anna Verco - academic, book thief, savant - unearths letters hidden for centuries from a lightning-struck chapel in Mallorca. What they reveal compels her and Fabregat to reignite the Hernandez investigation. Every page she turns conceals a coded message; every street she treads leads her deeper into the labyrinth. As Fabregat baits her with suspects, and threats darken her steps, Anna hunts her own prey - the book that began it all, a medieval revelation written in the language of witches and alchemists: The Serpent Papers. Anna believes this book will unlock the mystery. She does not yet know she is the key.
'Combines the intrigue of The Da Vinci Code with the mysticism of a Carlos Ruiz Zafon novel ... This is a gripping tale in which every detail counts'
. 'Erudite alchemical thriller ... Here we have an enigmatic heroine, a wonderful European city, plenty of cultural detail, a string of gruesome murders and a conspiracy that spans centuries ... everything is relevant - so pay attention - and everything is enticing, for readers who enjoy this sort of game ... she's an original, entertaining writer. I finished this episode wanting more
. 'The kind of rich, multi-layered story that demands and rewards commitment ... A triumphant debut, by a young writer with an incredible imagination
Publication date: 29/01/2015
Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc
|Publication date:||29th January 2015|
|Publisher:||Quercus Publishing Plc|
|Genres:||Action Adventure / Spy, eBook Favourites, Thriller / Suspense,|
|Categories:||Thriller / suspense,|
Jessica Cornwell was raised in Southern California as the eldest of eight children. Graduating in English from Stanford with Distinction and Honors in the Major, she completed her Masters in Directing and Dramaturgy at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, participated in research and grant projects in Oxford, India and Spain, and trained in Barcelona with Catalan theatre company La Fura dels Baus. In 2010 she moved to London to work in film, where she is now living and writing. The Serpent Papers is her first novel. Author photo © Diana PatientMore About Jessica Cornwell