Originally published in the Canberra Weekly on 28 July 2022.
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Publisher: Vintage Books Australia (Trade Paperback – 5 July 2022)
Length: 360 pages
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
One of Australia’s premier authors presents another compelling and powerful historical drama with The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth.
Kate Forsyth is a very talented Australian author whose work I have long been a fan of. While Forsyth is best known these days for her intense historical dramas, I personally am a big fan of her The Witches of Eileanan series, which I read when I was younger. The Witches of Eileanan books, which were Forsyth’s debut series, follows a group of powerful magical users in a troubled fantasy realm filled with dragons, mages and monsters, as they attempt to overthrow a dark anti-magic tyrant and save the world from multiple impending threats. Filled with great characters, impressive magic, a complex setting and some brilliant and occasionally dark storylines, this was a particularly awesome and epic series, and it was among the earliest fantasy books that I ever checked out. I deeply enjoyed The Witches of Eileanan books and the sequel Rhiannon’s Ride series, and I have been meaning to reread them all for a while. In the meantime, I decided it would be good to check out one of her more recent works with The Crimson Thread. This intriguing and captivating historical drama is a lot more consistent with Forsyth’s current writing focus and I was very interested in seeing something from this genre.
By May 1941, the Nazis have conquered Greece and the island of Crete lies before them as the next land to control. As the island prepares for invasion, young Cretan woman, Alenka, attempts to find some semblance of normality amongst the chaos, but chance meetings with two Australian soldiers stationed on the island will change her life forever. When the Germans finally invade Crete in a massive and long-running battle, Alenka finds herself stuck in the middle of the fighting and eventually chooses to hide the Australians when the Germans win.
These two soldiers are Jack and Teddy. Lifelong best friends, the rambunctious Teddy and the shy, scholarly Jack, joined the army together to see the world, only to get caught up in the chaos of the war. Separated during the retreat to Crete, Jack and Teddy manage to reunite on the island, with both falling for the alluring Alenka upon meeting her. When the Germans invade and they are trapped behind enemy lines with no hope of escape, both go to ground, seeking out help from Alenka and her allies in Crete’s resistance movement.
As the Germans tighten their hold on the island, Alenka, Jack and Teddy find themselves in constant danger as they attempt to find some way for the Australians to escape. However, their attempts to evade the Nazis are not their only trouble, as Jack and Teddy’s once close friendship starts to deteriorate through jealously and anger. Worse, Alenka’s brother, Axel, is a dangerous Nazi collaborator, whose long simmering anger and resentment threatens everything Alenka holds dear. As Axel searches for a way to destroy his sister and her friends, all will be forced to make some hard choices, both on the battlefield and in love.
This was a deeply moving and highly detailed historical drama from Forsyth that I had a wonderful time reading. Balancing a captivating historical tale of invasion in a unique World War II setting with a powerful tale of romance, broken friendships and family betrayals, The Crimson Thread is an outstanding novel which really highlights Forsyth’s impressive skill as an author.
The Crimson Thread has an excellent and fast-paced narrative that quickly drags readers in with the wartime action and keeps them there with the subsequent drama and tragedy. Told from various intriguing perspectives, The Crimson Thread does a great job of quickly introducing you to the key characters and settings before bringing the terror in the form of a sudden and devastating Nazi invasion. What follows is captivating tale of survival, endurance and resistance, as the three central protagonists attempt to evade and outwit the occupiers while also dealing with their own simmering feelings of love, betrayal and jealousy. Forsyth weaves together some hauntingly tense and moving scenes throughout this narrative, as you see the characters thrust into all manner of dangerous and tragic circumstances amid the horrors of war. The entire narrative has an excellent blend of action, high-stakes espionage and deep personal drama that I found myself really drawn to, all of which fits together perfectly with the distinctive setting and period. The entire narrative takes place over the course of several years, and I deeply appreciate the long-term storylines that Forsyth utilised as you got to see the various characters grow and change throughout the war, often for the worst. I loved the focus on camaraderie, identity and historical pride that was worked into the story, and all the unique plot points come full circle by the end. Forsyth ends the entire excellent story of survival and war on a tragic, but hopeful note, and while you may end up with some conflicting feelings about the fates of some of the focal characters, readers are going to come away from The Crimson Thread both moved and satisfied with the story conclusion.
One of the things that I have always appreciated about books set during World War II are the sheer number of unique stories that can be written, as there were so many different battlefields, conflicts and personal dramas that resulted from them. While I am fairly knowledgeable about history and World War II, I honestly knew very little about the occupation of Crete during the war, nor did I realise that Australian and New Zealand soldiers were stationed there when the Germans invaded. As such I was pretty in the dark when it came to the historical context of the novel, but Forsyth was well on hand here and spent substantial time exploring the entire Nazi conquest and occupation of Crete during the war. Everything is covered here, including the initial 11-day battle to take control of the island, the subsequent disorganised evacuation of Allied forces, the harsh occupation of the Cretans, which included several massacres, the resistance movements, and everything else that occurred from first day to the end of the war. I was particularly intrigued by the role that Australian troops played during this conflict, and Forsyth made sure to really highlight why they were there and the various hurdles they faced during this war, including being trapped behind enemy lines with few options to escape. All of this is worked into the story in a clever and impressive way, and the various characters find themselves involved in many of the key events, either as witnesses or participants. You really find yourself getting drawn into the midst of these compelling historical events, and I personally found it incredibly fascinating to see them, especially as Forsyth did some substantial research for this book.
I also really appreciated Forsyth’s dive into the culture, history and iconic landscape of the main setting of Crete. Most of this book takes place on this beautiful island, and I felt that Forsyth really captured the heart and soul of Crete and its people throughout the story. There are some compelling dives into the identity and culture of the Cretan people, including the importance of their dress, their customs, their speech, and their defiant nature. Due to most of this explanation being done to show the undercover Australian citizens how to blend, it proves to be very informative, and readers without much pre-knowledge of Crete come away with a lot of detail and appreciation for its people. There are also some fun dives into the history of the island, particularly its ancient association with legend of the Minotaur and palace of Knossos. Due to my background in archaeology, I found this to be extremely interesting, especially as there are also some compelling depictions and discussions about the famous excavations that took place on Crete during this period. Throw in some breathtaking and highly detailed descriptions of the various environments and settlements on Crete, including its treacherous and massive mountains, which serve as a great setting for some particularly intense scenes, and you get an outstanding appreciation for this island. All of this is utilised in The Crimson Thread’s story really well, as the characters, like the reader, really get to know the island and how it impacts many of their decisions and actions.
Forsyth also came up with some excellent and distinctive characters for The Crimson Thread, and their unique and emotionally rich storylines are a powerful part of this great book’s story. This includes Alenka, who finds herself caught between her culture, her troubled family past, and her attraction to the two Australian soldiers she grows close to. Despite primarily being shown as a strong and clever woman, Alenka goes through some real tragedies and trauma in this book that slowly wear away at her psyche. I found it fascinating to see her growth throughout the book, as well as her attempts to overcome the various obstacles and indignities that come her way. Alenka was really well counterbalanced by her brother, Axel, a dark and dangerous youth who serves as the book’s central antagonist. Initially shown as a youth who grows into a dangerous teenager throughout the narrative, Axel is a complex figure. A half-Cretan boy who is the result of an extramarital affair with a German archaeologist, Axel has borne the shame of his heritage for most of his life and endured the ridicule and disdain of everyone on the island. Focusing on his German heritage, Axel becomes obsessed with Hitler and the Nazis and quickly grows to be a valuable collaborator for the occupiers, helping them root out the resistance and hidden Allied soldiers. While he is an extremely repulsive and evil figure, you fully understand while he idolises the Nazis and tries to join them because of how well Forsyth explored Axel’s motivations and past. Forsyth writes a very dark storyline around Axel, and it was fascinating to see him corrupted by both his own unfair past and the invading Nazis.
The other two main characters are the Australian soldier protagonists, Jack and Teddy. Despite being old friends, these two are very much the opposite of the other, with Teddy being a wild, confident and arrogant figure, while Jack is a kind and shy man with a stutter. While you wouldn’t think that they would be friends, Forsyth does a good job establishing their bond, and you fully understand why they are close to each other. Both characters are interesting in their own right, and I appreciated how Forsyth highlighted their differences and showed how their relationship eventually broke down over their mutual attraction to Alenka. Teddy’s slow crawl from causal larrikin to arrogant jerk is subtle, but well formed, and the author shows some compelling, but damning, change in views in his mind throughout The Crimson Thread. Jack, on the other hand, grows from unconfident scholar to strong-willed fighter, all thanks to his love of Alenka. I loved how Forsyth showed all his artistic skills and passions, such as poetry, as a strength, and it was pretty fun to see him succeed in the specialised spy school both characters end up in. This poetry actually had an interesting role in the wider book, and you can see a great example of it at the start of different chapters. Forsyth really excelled at creating some amazing and captivating character arcs throughout The Crimson Thread, and I had an outstanding time getting close to these figures and experiencing their triumphs and dark pains.
Overall, The Crimson Thread was a wonderful and deeply moving read that ended up being one of the better historical dramas I have read this year. Kate Forsyth continues to shine as an extremely talented Australian author, and I had fun exploring a book from her current genre of choice. Featuring some damaged characters, a powerful story and some exquisite dives into Crete and its wartime history, The Crimson Thread is a captivating and clever novel that I had an outstanding time reading.
I have been having an absolutely fantastic couple of week for books, as I have been lucky enough to receive several incredible and amazing new novels from some of my local publishers. These novels include some truly awesome new releases, several of which I have been eagerly awaiting for some time. I am extremely keen to check out all of the books below and they should make for some amazing reads.
I just received the cool new entry in Steve Cavanagh’s awesome Eddie Flynn legal thriller series, The Accomplice, which sees conman lawyer Eddie Flynn defending the wife of a notorious serial killer. I have already read this book (see review above) and it was extremely good. Highly recommended!
I am pretty happy to have received an advance copy of the new book from fast-rising Australian author, Megan Goldin, Stay Awake. I have been looking forward to Stay Awake for a while, especially after enjoying Goldin’s last two novels, The Escape Room and The Night Swim, and this new book sounds particularly impressive. Featuring a trippy thriller narrative about a woman who wakes up without her memory, Stay Awake has so much potential and it is sure to be an excellent and fantastic read.
I have already started reading the next book in the haul with the powerful historical drama, The Crimson Thread by Australian author Kate Forsyth. Set in Crete during World War II, The Crimson Thread follows two Australian soldiers and a young Cretan woman as they attempt to weather the Nazi invasion while also dealing with their own dangerous love triangle. I am rather enjoying this books so far and I should probably finish it off in the next day or so.
I was particularly excited to receive a copy of Upgrade by the always impressive Blake Crouch, who has produced some outstanding and trippy science fiction novels recently. This latest science fiction thriller looks at illegal genetic engineering and follows a man who has been “upgraded” into something more than human. I already know that this book is going to be pretty damn epic and I will try and read Upgrade as soon as I can.
I also received an advance copy of the new historical drama from Fiona McIntosh, who has another impressive sounding Australian novel coming out soon with The Orphans. I have had a good time with some of McIntosh’s previous historical dramas, including The Champagne Wars, The Diamond Hunter, The Pearl Thief and The Spy’s Wife, and this new book has an interesting and moving narrative to it that will great to check out.
Another awesome book I just received is Dark Rooms, the new Tennison novel from the leading lady of crime fiction, Lynda La Plante. Serving as a prequel to the Prime Suspect television series, the Tennison series has featured some amazing books so far, including Good Friday, Murder Mile, The Dirty Dozen, Blunt Force and Unholy Murder, all of which have made me a pretty major fan. This new novel, Dark Rooms, features another intriguing murder mystery, that will not only see Tennison investigate a wealthy London family over a series of bodies, but will also feature a visit to Australia. I am very excited to check Dark Rooms out and it is sure to be an outstanding read.
I also received a copy of the powerful and intense debut thriller from Vikki Petraitis, The Unbelieved. This intriguing book will follow a female detective who transfers to a small Australian town, only to discover that a dark and shocking secret waits for her there. The Unbelieved is probably going to be the grimmest novel on this list and I am very certain it is going to be a gripping and moving read.
The final book on this list is the latest thriller from bestselling author Peter James, Picture You Dead. The latest book in his Ray Grace series, Picture You Dead will see the protagonist dive into the world of fine art when a couple find a rare masterpiece and are subsequently targeted by a dangerous criminal. I haven’t had much chance to read many of James’ novels before (except his standalone book Absolute Proof), but I might try and check out Picture You Dead as it has a fascinating story to it.
Well that’s the end of this latest Book Haul post. As you can see I have quite a bit of reading to do at the moment thanks to all these awesome books that have come in. Let me know which of the above you are most interested in and make sure to check back in a few weeks to see my reviews of them.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday participants are tasked with listing their top books that have covers with a specific design element chosen by the blogger, for example books with certain colours, items or animals on their cover. I thought that this was a pretty clever idea for a topic and I decided to go big with it and choose book covers that have the ultimate animal for my list, dragons.
Let’s face it, we all love dragons! They are some of the coolest creatures in mythology, with multiple cultures having their own version or alteration of the dragon in their storytelling traditions. Due to how iconic there are, the use of dragons in storytelling naturally transferred itself across to the world of fantasy fiction, becoming one of the most classic and well utilised monsters or companion creatures in books and movies, such as The Hobbit and the A Song of Ice and Fire series. As such there are multiple book covers out there that feature dragons to some degree and I was curious to see which ones amongst them were my favourite.
To pull this list together, I had a think about all the best books that featured cool dragon-related cover art. There were quite a few of these awesome, dragon-covered novels so I decided to limit myself to only using books that I have actually read. In addition, because dragon-centric series tend to use images of the creatures across multiple entries, I will limit myself to one novel from each franchise, just to create a bit of variety. This still leaves me with a pretty impressive collection of novels to choose from and I had to do some severe cutting to get it down to a top ten list with my typical honourable mentions section. I think the list turned out pretty well as there are some great novels below with awesome dragon imagery on their covers.
I will quickly note that I did have a couple of issues finding good quality pictures of some of the relevant covers I wanted to feature here, particularly for some of the older novels, but I have still tried to feature them as best I can. Apologies in advance if some of them don’t turn out perfect.
I love the cover but chose to only feature this as an honourable mention as the book hasn’t come out yet.
A Darkness at Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist
A couple of the alternate covers for this great book feature dragons on them, but this was the best looking one of them.
A great use of a dragon in the cover, even if the dragon in the title is more of a metaphor for firearms.
An incredible novel with an incredible cover. Easily one of the best uses of dragons in cover art that you are likely to ever see.
This fantastic Warhammer tie-in novel is spoiled for choice when it comes to dragons on its various covers.
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
One of the best Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, I love how well the dragon is used, both in this original cover, and in the novel’s exceedingly clever mystery.
An extremely epic and distinctive cover for a fun action fantasy novel. Black Leviathan, which is the English edition of Perplies’s original, German novel, The Dragon Hunter, actually has two fantastic cover variants with dragons on them, although I think the one the English version shown above is a lot more visually impressive.
All three books in Barker’s The Tide Child trilogy featured iconography of the series’ water-dragons, but I think the first entry, The Bone Ships, looks the best.
You can’t have a dragon-based list without featuring an entry from Paoloini’s Inheritance Cycle. All four novels in this series featured dragons on their cover, although I think that this cover from Eldest was the most striking.
A very beautiful cover for this complex and intricate fantasy novel.
Warcraft: Day of the Dragons by Richard A. Knaak
Several great Warcraft and World of Warcraft tie-in novels feature dragons on their covers, but my favourite of these is Day of the Dragons by Richard A. Knaak, which was an awesome story.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Was there ever a chance I wasn’t going to feature this classic cover on this list? Of course not.
Dragonclaw by Kate Forsyth
The original cover of the first entry in Australian author Kate Forsyth’s The Witches of Eileanan series, Dragonclaw, had a great dragon picture on it, and it serves as an excellent first impression of an amazing fantasy book.
Well, that’s my list. As you can see there are some incredible books out there that make great uses of dragons on their covers. All the above novels are really good, and you will have an incredible time reading them, while also appreciating their stunning, dragon-filled covers. I had a lot of fun coming up with this list, and I will have to think about replicating it with another creature, item or colour in the future. In the meantime, let me know what your favourite books with dragons on the cover are in the comments below.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday participants are tasked with listing the top books that they have enjoyed, but which they have never mentioned on their blog. I thought this was a pretty interesting topic to undertake and I had to dive deep into my book collection to find several great reads that I have so far failed to talk about before on my blog.
To appear on my list, the books in question had to be ones that I haven’t talked about to any real degree before during my blogging career. That means that I am featuring a bunch of older novels I read before I started my blog which I have been unable to re-read and review for an appearance here. I have also decided to exclude any books or series that I have mentioned in other Top Ten Tuesday posts, especially as there are a few awesome series I have really praised without doing any reviews for them (The Kingkiller Chronicles and The Gentleman Bastards series come to mind). I must admit that I struggled a little here with finding enough awesome books, so I ended up featuring some comic series as well. The result is a pretty varied and interesting list that I feel fully conveys the best series that I have really enjoyed and which I need to do some extra reviewing for.
Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
A brilliant and clever pirate novel by legendary author Michael Crichton, that was released after his death.
Batman: Detective Comics (2016) by James Tynion IV
I deeply enjoyed this new series of the iconic Batman: Detective Comic series that started in 2016 as part of the DC Rebirth line. This series follows Batman as he forms a new team to face off against a deadly army threatening Gotham. Featuring some of the best and most complex Batman supporting characters, this is an excellent run I really need to review.
World of Warcraft: War Crimes by Christie Golden
One of my absolute favourite World of Warcraft tie-in novels must be War Crimes by Christie Golden. Set between the Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor expansions, this novel featured the trial of major antagonist Garrosh Hellscream after he drags the entire world into war. A surprisingly deep and emotional read that recaps key parts of Warcraft history and make the iconic characters relive their worst decisions, this is an epic, must-read for all Warcraft fans.
Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
In 2011 DC rebooted their entire comic line in an event known as the New 52. Despite having some initial promise, the New 52 was a massive mess, especially as it ended several awesome series and brought in sub-par replacements. Despite my dislike of this reboot, there were some good titles released here, with my personal favourite being the impressive Wonder Woman series written by Brian Azzarello. A dark and gritty reimagining of the iconic character that proved to be highly addictive and impactful, especially as several ideas introduced here were eventually featured in the Wonder Woman films. If only the rest of the New 52 could have measured up.
The Athenian Mysteries by Gary Corby
An excellent historical murder mystery series set in ancient Greece that has a brilliant mixture of intrigue, investigation and outrageous humour.
The Cleric Quintet by R. A. Salvatore
I often mention Salvatore’s excellent Drizzt Do’Urden fantasy novels on this blog but I barely ever talk about his amazing Cleric Quintet. Set in the same world as the Drizzt Do’Urden novels, the Cleric Quintet is a compelling and tight five-novel series that follows a young priest and his unusual friends as they defeat the various evils surrounding their temple.
Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer
I honestly can’t believe that I haven’t talked about this amazing comic on my blog before, especially as it is one of my favourite limited series. Written by acclaimed author Brad Meltzer, Identity Crisis is an exquisite and powerful read that sees the families of the various DC superheroes being targeted by a serial killer. Featuring all the best DC characters at their very worst and revealing some damning secrets, Identity Crisis is an epic read and it is easily one of my favourite comics of all time.
Empire of the Moghul by Alex Rutherford
A brilliant series that details the rise and fall of the Moghul empire in India. Filled with innumerable betrayals, deadly war sequences and an impressive depiction of one of history’s most dysfunctional dynasties, the Empire of the Moghul books are a brilliant historical fiction series that I had a lot of fun reading.
The Witches of Eileanan by Kate Forsyth
One the first fantasy series I ever really got into were The Witches of Eileanan books by Australian author Kate Forsyth. While Forsyth is mostly known for her historical dramas, I prefer this exceptional fantasy series that followed a young witch as she battled through a land where magic is outlawed. Filled with an excellent cast of characters and containing a dark and elaborate narrative, this is a great fantasy series, and it is one that I really need to reread at some point.
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
One of the best historical fiction novels ever written, Gates of Fire is an excellent novel that provides one of the most accurate and moving depictions of the Battle of Thermopylae. Told from the perspective of a Spartan slave, this amazing novel really dives into the Spartan warrior culture and shows the nation’s darkest hour in all its bitter and brutal glory.
Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z by Akira Toriyama
Despite my love of anime, I have honestly never read that much manga in my life, which is one of my many literary regrets. The big exception to this is the impressive Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z manga by Akira Toriyama. Bought because of my childhood love of the Dragon Ball Z anime, this manga is really good and tells an elaborate and wildly entertaining story, which is a lot of fun to check out. While considered one of the more basic manga to check out, I still deeply enjoyed it and I have done multiple re-reads of it over the years.
An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
An impressive historical fiction novel that perfectly recreates the infamous Dreyfus Affair from French history.
The Serpent War Saga by Raymond E. Feist
Part of Feist’s amazing Riftwar Cycle, this sub-series of books is one that I haven’t talked about before, but it contains some of Feist’s strongest writing. Bringing in several great new characters and setting them lose in his established world, The Serpent War Saga novels were extremely intense and saw several established favourites meet their end.
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
The final book on this list is the impressive historical drama The Paris Architect. Set during World War II, this book followed a young French architect who risked everything to create elaborate hiding places for Jews in Paris. Very moving and extremely good, this was an excellent novel that hit you right in the heart with its amazing story.
Well, that is the end of this list. As you can see there are several awesome books out there that I have so far neglected to include on this blog. All the above are really worth checking out and I must make an effort to review some of the above in the future.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, participants need to list the authors who they have read the most books by.
This proved to be a rather intriguing list to pull together, and it required a bit of research on my behalf to work out. It turns out that I have a somewhat scattershot approach when it comes to authors and I tend to only read a few books from each, rather than sticking with some authors with larger series and reading every single one of their novels. Still, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and there are several authors who I have read many books from. Thanks to some digging through my bookshelves and some examination of online bibliographies, I was able to work out how many of their books I have read and then translate that to a top ten list. I liked how this list turned out and there are some interesting overlaps between this and other lists I have previously done, such as my Top Ten Auto-buy Authors list. So let us see which authors I have read the most books by.
John Marsden – Eight books
The total includes the seven books in Marsden’s Tomorrow series and his standalone novel South of Darkness.
Lindsey Davis – Eight books
Terry Pratchett – 42 books
The total includes 37 Discworld novels (including Moving Pictures), the three novels in The Nome trilogy, and the standalone novels Strata and The Carpet People.
Stan Sakai – 36 books
The total includes all 35 volumes of the main Usagi Yojimbo series (including The Ronin, Samurai, The Wanderer’s Road, The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy, Lone Goat and Kid, Circles, Gen’s Story, Shades of Death, Daisho, Mysteries, The Hidden and Bunraku and Other Stories) and the associated graphic novel, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso.
R. A. Salvatore – 31 books
The total includes 27 novels set in the Forgotten Realms universe (including Timeless and Boundless), The Coven trilogy (Child of a Mad God, Reckoning of Fallen Gods and Song of the Risen God) and The Highwayman.
Raymond E. Feist – 26 books
Simon Scarrow – 22 books
Bernard Cornwell – 19 books
Brian Jacques – 17 books
All 17 books were entries in Jacques’s Redwall series.
Jonathan Maberry – 10 books
The total includes eight books from the Joe Ledger series (including Patient Zero, The Dragon Factory, The King of Plagues, Assassin’s Code, Extinction Machine, Code Zero, Predator One and Deep Silence), Rage and Nights of the Living Dead.
Kate Forsyth – Nine books
The total includes all six books in The Witches of Eileanan series and all three books in the Rhiannon’s Ride series.
Robert Fabbri – Nine books
It turned out to be a rather fun and insightful list to pull together, and I liked figuring out which authors I have read the most books from. I think I will come back to this one in the future, perhaps when I have read more from certain authors. Until then, let me know which of the above authors are your favourites or let me know which authors you have read the most books by in the comments below.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For Tuesday the 5th of November 2019 participants in Top Ten Tuesday are supposed to list the Top Ten Books That Give Off Autumn Vibes. However, I am going to be posting up a Top Ten list I put together last week but couldn’t post due to my internet being down (the ultimate horror in this day and age). For last week’s Top Ten Tuesday, participants got a Halloween freebie, meaning that I can make a Top Ten List on any topic of my choosing. While this list should probably have been Halloween themed, I am honestly not a massive fan of the horror genre, so I would struggle to produce any sort of list that would require at least 10 horror books. That being said, I would strongly recommend a few horror books such as Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant, or some of the Joe Ledger books by Jonathan Maberry such as Patient Zero, Code Zero or Assassin’s Code if you want a scary read. Instead, I decided to list the longest novels I have ever read (if you are desperate for a Halloween theme you could say that they are scary long). This is a bit of a continuation of the Top Ten Longest Audiobooks list that I did back in March of this year (and which I might do a follow-up list of in a few months).
In order to work out what was the longest book I ever read, I decided to go off the total number of pages contained within a book. I went through the longest books in my personal collection and took down the number of pages. I also went online to Goodreads to work out the page count of some books I borrowed from the library or previously owned. That means that in most cases, I am going of the versions that I have at home or using an online word count for the version I think I read, and hopefully this accurately reflects most printings of that book. I realise that this is not the most scientific method for working out which is the longest book I have ever read, especially as a number of factors such as formatting, font and print size could all come into play here, but I am personally happy that this is a mostly accurate way of working this out.
This list will only feature books that I have physically read and completed (so none that I have only listened to on audiobook), and hopefully it produces an interesting and varied list. Before I even started collecting the data for this, I had a few predictions about which books will be at the top (I assumed a few of the Ken Follett books I have read are going to make an appearance). There is also likely to be some crossover with this list and my Top Ten Longest Audiobook list, as I would have read the physical copies of several books the first time, and then relistened to them on audiobook. Let’s have a look and see which book tops this list:
1. Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan – 1011 pages
2. Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett and The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan – 1007 pages
3. The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan – 989 pages
7. Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb – 838 pages
10. Winter of the World by Ken Follet – 819 pages
This turned out to be a pretty intriguing result for me. I am a little surprised that the Robert Jordan books took two of the top three spots on the list. It has been a very long time since I read Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, but I honestly do not remember them being that long. The rest of the books on the list are not a massive surprise, though. Follett has created some amazingly long historical fiction novels over the years which, despite their length, are all incredible reads that always find a way to hook the reader. The same could be said of C. J. Samson, and there is a reason that both he and Follet made my Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors List. I am also not too surprised that some books by Raymond E. Feist (another autobuy author of mine) and Janny Wurst’s Empire books made it in, same with Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle books. While they seemed like smaller reads when I was younger (possibly because I wanted to power through them as soon as I got them), they all scored fairly highly on my Top Ten Longest Audiobook list, so I figured they would have a high page count. Assassin’s Fate and The Priory of the Orange Tree were books I reviewed in the Canberra Weekly, and I am glad they made the cut. Not only were they pretty epic reads, but it was good to see some more recent books I have read make the list.
While I enjoyed figuring out the top ten, I am still curious to see where some of the other books I read fit in my overall ranking. So as a bit of bonus material, and because I already spent all that time working out how many pages there were, here are the next top 15 books as an Honourable Mention.
11. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan – 814 pages
12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling – 766 pages
Well I am glad at least one Harry Potter book made the cut. These always seemed so massive when I was kid, but in reality, they are not that big compared to some other books that are out there.
14. The Twelve Children of Paris by Tim Willocks – 754 pages
This one is a blast from the past that I haven’t thought about for a while. This was a bloody and gruesome action-packed historical novel that made for a fun, if rather violent, read.
15. Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb – 752 pages
17. Pilgrim by Sara Douglass – 749 pages
I am not too sure how popular the late Sara Douglass was outside of Australia, but this book was part of a great fantasy series I got into when I was younger, mostly because they were one of the few major series available in my school’s library. I think several books in The Wayfarer Redemption series make the top 25 cut, and they excellent and enjoyable series to check out.
18. Starman by Sara Douglass – 733 pages
20. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan – 705 pages
22. Battleaxe by Sara Douglass – 674 pages
23. Enchanter by Sara Douglass – 672 pages
24. The Shining City by Kate Forsyth – 661
The Shining City is a fantastic entry from Australian author Kate Forsyth. Forsyth is probably best known these days for her historical dramas; however, some of her earliest works included two excellent fantasy series, which featured some outstanding novels, such as this book, of which I was a massive fan.
25. Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon – 658
Another exciting historical adventure. Hawk Quest was a wide-ranging epic that followed a small group of adventurers through medieval Europe and the Middle East, as they attempt to capture a rare hawk to help pay a ransom.
Now that added some variety to the list. I am not at all surprised to see more from Feist, Jordan, Paolini and Follet, but the addition of all those Sara Douglass books was a bit of a blast from the past. Some of the other books, such as Sleeping Beauties, Hawk Quest and The Shining City were a nice treat, and I think it is fair to say that I have read a good collection of long novels in my life so far. I would definitely recommend each and every book on this list to anyone who is looking to sink their teeth into a nice, massive book, as all of these books are highly enjoyable. This is probably going to be an ever-evolving list that I will hopefully add to each year, especially as I read more and more long books. For example, just today I received a copy of Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward, which clocks in at a whopping 768 pages, and which, when I read it, will replace Order of the Phoenix’s at number 12 on this list. In the meantime, let me know what you think in the comments below; I am curious to know the longest book that you have ever read.
WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
So, let’s get to it.
Ghosts of the Past by Tony Park (Trade Paperback)
I am about half way through this book at the moment and I am really enjoying this complex and multi-layered tale from history. Make sure to check out my review for Park’s previous book, Scent of Fear.
Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio (Audiobook)
I am only a few hours into Howling Dark, but already it is shaping up to be a pretty epic piece of science fiction. I really loved the previous book in the series, Empire of Silence, and have been looking forward to getting Howling Dark for some time. I did get a physical copy of this book a couple of weeks ago (with my blog mentioned in the acknowledgements!!!), but decided to try out the audiobook version instead, as it was honestly the only way I could read this book any time soon with my current reading schedule.
What did you recently finish reading?
The Lost Ten by Harry Sidebottom (Hardcover)
Star Trek: The Captain’s Oath by Christopher L. Bennett (Audiobook)
Graveyard Shift in Ghost Town by Michael Pryor (Trade Paperback)
Dark Blade by Steve Feasey (Trade Paperback)
Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden by Stan Sakai (Trade Paperback)
What do you think you’ll read next?
The Collaborator by Diane Armstrong (Trade Paperback)
The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth (Trade Paperback)
I am currently planning to pull together a historical fiction column for the Canberra Weekly, featuring the above two novels and Ghosts of the Past. All three books sound really interesting, and they are all from talented Australian authors. This column should published in two weeks and I will post it up when it comes out.
That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.