Wednesday 21 August 2013

The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

It was only when Hannah Wilde reached the farmhouse shortly after midnight that she discovered how much blood her husband had lost.
They had spoken little during the drive to Llyn Gwyr. Hannah concentrated on the road ahead, her vision blurred through rain and tears. Beside her, Nate slumped in the Discovery’s passenger seat, a crooked shadow. She tried to glance over at him as the distance to what they’d left behind increased, but it was impossible to comprehend the full horror of his injuries while they were on the road. Each time she suggested they pull over Nate shook his head and urged her on.
Get to the farmhouse, Hannah. I’ll be OK. I promise.
Published by Headline in July 2013
673 pages in paperback
Summary from Headline
A jumble of entries, written in different hands, different languages, and different times. They tell of a rumour. A shadow. A killer.
The only interest that Oxford Professor Charles Meredith has in the diaries is as a record of Hungarian folklore ... until he comes face to face with a myth.
For Hannah Wilde, the diaries are a survival guide that taught her the three rules she lives by: verify everyone, trust no one, and if in any doubt, run. 
But Hannah knows that if her daughter is ever going to be safe, she will have to stop running and face the terror that has hunted her family for five generations.
And nothing in the diaries can prepare her for that.
Reviewed by K. M. Lockwood
The String Diaries is a contemporary supernatural thriller for adults. It opens with two plotlines: one set in the Snowdonia of today and one in 1979 Oxford. More come in as you read along – such as 1873 Hungary – and you wonder how it can all make sense. Each one strand ends with a cliff-hanger- there’s plenty of mystery to keep you going until a violent and dramatic conclusion.
Stephen Lloyd Jones uses a concoction of Hungarian folklore, fast-paced action and gruesome events to make a strong commercial thriller. It’s not unlike faster, more streamlined version of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. There are no vampires involved, I’m happy to report.
It will suit you if you like a mix of high family drama with a strong female lead character, academic mystery and ancient evil stalking the innocent. The ideal reader will enjoy precise details such as the time taken to travel between Pozsony and Kesthely by steam train and carriage, and will enjoy being immersed in a great claw-footed bath of a book. You will also need a strong stomach at times.
For those who enjoy the macabre blended with action, this is great value at nearly seven hundred pages. Definitely not for children, though.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. Have been wondering about this book for ages but have now put it on my wish list - thank you!


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