Summary

On a mild autumn afternoon in 1882, William Trenchard sits smoking his pipe in the garden of his comfortable family home. When the creak of the garden gate heralds the arrival of an unexpected stranger, he is puzzled but not alarmed. He cannot know the destruction this man will wreak on all he holds most dear.
©1989 Robert and Vaunda Goddard (P)2012 Audible Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Kirstine on 26-03-13

Goddard at his best

I have read or listened to all Robert Goddard's book and rate this one the finest. I read it many years ago and it is one of the most memorable books I've encountered for the sheer roller-coaster of twists and turns. I had forgotten many of the details so greatly enjoyed re-visiting this amazing story. It's one of those books that entice one to keep listening, eager to find out what happens next. Michael Kitchen, as always, does an admirable job of narration. Highly recommended.

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22 of 22 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Sue from France on 23-12-12

Robert Goddard at his best. HIS VERY BEST

Robert Goddard is a very underestimated writer, this book was gripping, full of Roberts usual threads (the main character always follows a series of actions), the story delightfully long, as it needed to be with the plot unfolding through a first person and third person nattative. It was brought to life by Michael Kitchens reading. At first I was unsure of the reading style, but it proved to be perfect for the story. Without giving anything away, you will be kept guessing up to the end. Typical Robert Goddard. Listen to this book and I will eat my hat if you don't want to order another Robert Goddard book.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Janice on 29-04-13

Skeletons in every closet

I detest spoilers, so I have been wracking my brain trying to decide how to write a useful review of this book without giving away crucial information. Clearly the central mystery is to determine whether James Norton is really Sir James Davenall returned from the dead. The multitude of characters take sides for or against, with several being uncertain. I took all three positions at different times. This long and densely plotted mystery gives up its clues sparsely and cunningly, requiring you to pay close attention and remember what you’ve heard especially regarding names and dates. The Davenall family has more skeletons in their closets than a whole host of haunted houses. Different interested parties are tracking down different skeletons, resulting in the puzzle pieces being distributed among a variety of characters acting on their own agendas, and not necessarily sharing with the others. Sometimes I thought I had a thread untangled only to be confounded by new information from another direction. I really did have to wait to the end to get all the puzzle pieces in place, and there were still surprises once I got there, with a hint of menace left in the final scene.

This is my first Goddard book, but not the last. The writing is wonderful, and the reading by Michael Kitchen puts this on my list of best narrated books. He is by turns smooth, intense, emotional, cruel and bewildered. He handles male and female, young and old voices believably, adding drama and atmosphere without calling distracting attention to himself. A tour de force performance that has me looking for more of his readings.

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40 of 42 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By linda albergo on 21-11-12

Mesmerizing

Would you listen to Painting the Darkness again? Why?

I would listen again for two reasons. Primarily for Michael Kitchen's compelling voice. I felt like the snakes in Ireland when they heard the Pied Piper's music. I could hardly shut it off.
The story had me feeling as if I were on a literary tilt-a-whirl. I didn't want it to end.

What other book might you compare Painting the Darkness to and why?

Robert Goddards novels are similar in style and something I definitely enjoy.

What about Michael Kitchen’s performance did you like?

Everything. His voice is incredible. I was so taken by it that ,as I said I couldn't shut off the book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

Any additional comments?

This book is so complex, and intricate, that I am amazed how the author could keep the story line in his head. Truly a genius.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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