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The Redemption of Alexander Seaton par [MacLean, Shona]
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Longueur : 416 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
Page Flip: Activé Langue : Anglais

Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Banff, Scotland in the 1620s. A young man walks unsteadily through the streets. Is he just drunk or is there something more sinister happening? When he collapses in front of two sisters on that dark, wet night, the women guess that he's been poisoned.

His body is discovered in the house of Alexander Seaton - a fallen minister, the discovery of whose clandestine love affair has left him disgraced.

Why was the body in Seaton's house? And why would anyone want to murder this likeable young man? Seaton sets out to find answers, embarking on a journey not only through the darkest part of other men's souls, but also his own.

Back Cover copy

Mary turned away from the form slumped in the overflowing gutter. Janet was right: there was nothing to be gained here tonight.
A quarter hour would see them out of this tempest. She took her sister's arm, ready to make for home, and then she froze.
A hand had come from the ground and held her ankle.
The words came in a ghostly rasp.
"Help me," he said.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1430 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 416 pages
  • Editeur : Quercus (7 mai 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5 6 commentaires
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 3.5 Really Enjoyable To Read But the Aftertaste Was Not As Sweet 21 mai 2011
Par Barbarino - Publié sur
Format: Poche
There was much to enjoy about this mystery, I especially liked the main character. Alexander Seaton is a man ashamed of his misdeeds and still harshly judged by his disgrace. In the tight knit Scottish community where he is a school master he has very few friends. The one person he counts closest to him, Charles Thom, has been arrested and charged with murder. The corpse of the apothecary's apprentice, Patrick Davidson, was found in a classroom in Alexander's house. Thom's romantic feelings for the apothecary's daughter and her interest in Davidson are thought to be the motivation for the crime. Alexander and his friend Dr James Jaffray vow to prove Charles Thom's innocence.

I enjoyed the details of the tight-knit community of Banff, Scotland, the relationships that connect the people, the politics and religious views that shape those relationships and the harsh system of justice that is employed.

MacLean did an excellent job of creating interesting and realistic characters I particularly liked the growth and change that Alexander experiences during and after his search to uncover the truth about Patrick Davidson's murder. I also liked the way the author slowly revealed the cause of Seaton's fall from grace.

There is a spiritual thread woven into this story, I did not find it not overly religious or offensive, rather it was logical and fit within the context of the story. I would give the religious thread the atheist stamp of approval and wager that not many readers would be offended by it.

The reason I found the reading experience more enjoyable than my reflection on it after I was done is that the mystery itself had two elements that I didn't find realistic or convincing and both of them were integral to the murder. One is revealed in the beginning of the story and the other at the end. I continued to wonder about the first as I was reading; it nagged at me but didn't spoil my enjoyment of all the wonderful things the author threaded through her story. The element that occurred at the end of the story was revealed during the dénouement not the climax so again it didn't detract from the unveiling of the guilty party or even of the motivation for the murder itself. However, the more I thought about that second element the more disappointed I was by it.

Overall I found this to be an enjoyable and entertaining story with compelling characters and interesting period details. I think fans of historical fiction would enjoy this novel and not be bothered at all or maybe even notice the issues that I had a problem with.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of my 2008 Top Reads - Wonderful! 8 novembre 2008
Par L. J. Roberts - Publié sur
Format: Broché
First Sentence: The younger of the two shires rifled the man's pockets with expert fingers.

Young Alexander Seaton, disallowed from becoming a minister, is now a teacher in his town of Banff, Scotland. He sees a man who staggers and falls on the street during a dark, wet night, but doesn't stop to help.

With morning comes the revelation that the man was the apprentice to the town apothecary and nephew to the town proctor. He had also been poisoned and found dead in Alexander's classroom. Alexander's friend, Charles Thom, who has also been living with the apothecary, is arrested for the murder. It falls to Alexander to prove his friend's innocence.

There was so much to this book, it's hard to know where to begin. Though it's not necessary indicative of excellent writing, I thought it interesting that Ms. MacLean is the niece to author Alistair MacLean (Guns of Navarone). Both MacLeans excel at bringing the reader into the story. From there, they are vastly different.

Ms. McLean makes real life in 1626 Scotland; the time of Charles I, after the dissolution and separation from Rome, but during a time of Knox and Melville Presbyterianism, religious prejudice and the rise of witch hunts. It's a story of murder, ambition, fear and bigotry, but also of strength, goodness and that we never truly know how we are perceived by others.

Alexander is a wonderful protagonist who becomes very real as his story unfolds throughout the story. A cast of characters would have been helpful, in the beginning, but all the characters are fully dimensional so it quickly became a non-issue. I did appreciate the short glossary at the end.

The story is dense and rich with detail and emotion, compassion and suspense. There was never a point where I wasn't compelled to turn the page and read more. It's a powerfully evocative book with wonderful historic detail that never overshadows an engrossing story.

I should love for this to be the first of a series. Even if it's not, I shall definitely read whatever Ms. MacLean writes next.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 No Kiltfest here. 13 février 2012
Par jerelyn - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by Shona Maclean takes place thetime is 1626, the place Banff Scotland, no this isn't a kiltfest. There is not one `verra or d'ye ken." What you have here is a very well written mystery, set in a time which to me is the bleakest of all periods in western civilization. The Stuarts were not a popular dynasty, the protestant reformation was only a couple of generations old and Europe was in turmoil. A time of plague and witches and whispers of foreign plots.

In the fishing village of Banff in north western Scotland, disgraced minister Alexander Seaton is working as a junior school master. When on a dark and stormy night a young apothecary's assistance is murdered and is found at Alexander Seaton's desk in the morning. Poison is obviously the cause, but who would have killed the likable young man? Alexander feels guilty because he passed the young man by, thinking him only drunk and he was cold and wet and a little drunk himself, and he didn't need any more dealings with the town's bailiff, who already looked at the schoolmaster with suspicion. But how did he get into the school room? Also could his good friend Charles Thom be the murderer. Hoping to help his friend, he and the town doctor begin to look into the death of the apothecary's apprentice...

Now I will say it took me a little time to get into this book, for me the beginning was slow and I had to refer back several times to get the characters straight. But soon I was immersed in the world of Banff and the secrets of the inhabitances in this insulated part of Scotland. I love to learn things, and there was a lot of new information, which sent me to Wikipedia. 3.75 stars. I have the second book in the series A Game of Sorrows... to be continued.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent beginning... 24 août 2015
Par FictionFan - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
A storm is raging in Banff in the north-east of Scotland as Alexander Seaton makes his way home from the inn so, when he sees a man staggering in the street, Alexander assumes he is the worse for drink and hurries on by to get out of the rain. When the man's dead body is found the next day in the schoolroom where Alexander teaches, his feelings of guilt are compounded when his friend Charles Thom is arrested for the murder. Convinced of Charles' innocence, Alexander sets out with his old friend and mentor, Dr Jaffray, to find out who really murdered Patrick Davidson.

The book is set in 1626, a time when an uneasy peace holds sway in Scotland. All those pesky 16th century Queens are dead and the crowns of Scotland and England are united, though not yet their parliaments. The Protestants are in the ascendancy and the Kirk has a stranglehold on religion and morality, but the Catholics are still plotting, and looking to the great Catholic countries of Europe for support. And witch-hunting is still at its peak, led and encouraged by the more rabid members of the hellfire-and-damnation Kirk, often culminating in public burnings. Happy days!

MacLean has caught the feel of this time-period just about perfectly in my opinion. She gives the impression of knowing the history inside-out and her characters ring true as people living in this time. Seaton and Jaffray are on the more enlightened side, though of course the actual Enlightenment is still some way off, but MacLean doesn't fall into the trap of giving them anachronistically modern viewpoints. So, for example, while being horrified at the attitude of the mob to witch-burnings, they're not quite ready to deny the possibility of witchcraft and consorting with the Devil.

Seaton is the first-person, past-tense narrator of the story and he is a great main character. Destined to be a minister in the Kirk, some event happened that led to his disgrace and he is now back in his home town working as an undermaster in the local school. While his one or two true friends have stood by him, many of the rest of the goodly people of the town treat him almost as a social outcast and his own feelings of guilt have brought him close to despair. The reader doesn't find out what the event was until well on into the novel, but as Seaton gets involved in the investigation into Patrick Davidson's death, he begins to feel again that his life may have some purpose beyond his failed calling to the ministry.

The plot is complex but entirely credible, leading the reader merrily up several false trails along the way. The quality of the writing is excellent and the characterisation throughout is very strong, not just of the main players but of the secondary characters too. And the wide-ranging nature of the plot allows MacLean to show something of the politics and religion of the time without ever resorting to information dump. There's almost a feeling of a coming-of-age story to it, as the initially fairly naive Seaton begins to learn about some of the undercurrents in this seemingly so respectable society.

The plot and some of the occurrences make this far too strong to be considered a cosy, but it avoids graphic violence and gore, and is mercifully free of foul language and sex scenes. For the non-Scots out there, it's also free of dialect – standard English throughout but for the very occasional specifically Scottish word, for which a short glossary is included at the back.

An excellent historical crime novel, well up there with the likes of Brother Cadfael, and the joy of it is it's the first in a series. Highly recommended - the second one has already been added to my TBR.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great read 25 juin 2011
Par Bella Rosa - Publié sur
Format: Poche
Alexander Seaton is a very bitter young man. An intelligent scholar and gifted preacher, he was on the verge of achieving his life's goal - ordination as a minister - when he did something that earned him the enmity of the man who had previously been his benefactor. Depressed and humiliated, he managed to compound his sin, then went on a six-month bender that succeeded in alienating the friends he had left. Only a stalwart few stood by him, and it's with these two men we find him drinking in a tavern as the book opens.

Eventually his friends go about their business, but Alexander has a few more tankards before he heads for home. On his way, he sees a man staggering on the other side of the road. With only a moment's hesitation, he reasons that he's gotten himself home in worse condition, that fellow can as well. But the next morning he finds that fellow laid out across his desk in his schoolroom, dead of poison.

The realization that he walked away from a dying man affects Alexander deeply. The fact that one of his friends is charged with the murder just adds to his commitment to find justice for the murdered man. Papist plots, witch hunts, council politics and other details of Scotland in the 1620s make for a wonderful tale as, at the core of it, Alexander slowly realizes that what he's been calling shame is really self-pity and everything is not always about him.

The cover of some versions say "a novel in the style of C.J.Sansom" and there is a similarity of descriptive style, but I found Alexander more immediately engaging and accessible than Shardlake (I really didn't warm to Matthew until book 2). All the clues to the mystery were well laid-out, but I was enjoying the story too much to pay much attention to them so I didn't guess the culprit until very near the end. Maclean lets Alexander's self-loathing get just to the edge of truly annoying but has his friends shake him out of it in the nick of time.

A word about the audio. It's narrated by Crawford Logan, someone I haven't heard before but will definitely look for again. He's a bit too old and confident sounding for the 26 year old, depressed Alexander - I suspect the constant self-deprecation would have gotten on my nerves much more if I were reading. But it's worth that slight quibble for his narration of the witch hunt scene, which is marvelously riveting.
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