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Author Topic: "The Promised Land" by David Hewson  (Read 9186 times)
Jo K
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Has anybody seen the plot?


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« on: September 05, 2008 »

*goes 'oh boy,' and takes deep breath*

Author of the acclaimed ‘Nic Costa’ series set in Rome, David Hewson took a break from his serial character in 2006/07 to write the standalone novel ‘The Promised Land’.  In a complete departure from his ‘usual’ style and preferred setting, The Promised Land is a first person tale set in modern day America that is more akin to going over Niagara Falls in a barrel than meandering slowly down the Tiber. 

In The Promised Land, ex-cop Bierce has been on Death Row for over twenty years, after being convicted of the brutal murders of his wife and son. With no memory of the event, he has never been able to say with any certainty that he didn’t do it.  When he is unexpectedly released just moments before his execution, he sets out, through the now strange new word of the twenty-first century, with every intention of finding out what really happened on that fateful day.

I hope you all enjoy it, and will tentatively say discussions to start on the 27th October.
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oh and while I'm at it - READ THIS NOW! Grin - http://jokawasaki.com

heavyd
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2008 »

Ooh, nice choice Jo!  Sounds intriguing.
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ravenscross
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2008 »

I'll be hunting this out as soon as I can!
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Linda L
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2008 »

Good choice Jo, David is one of the authors I have been meaning to read, now I have the push I need.
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Rock chick
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2008 »

Oooh goody, another new writer for me!

Derail (sorry Jo)...

One of the things I love about the BTZBC is the way we've all started to introduce our choices - Mark is (obviously) the virtuoso, but everyone else's intro's have been fantastic - bit of background, bit of personal info, a little something to tempt us -  every single one of them has absolutely made me want to read the book as soon as possible! Very few reviews in the papers have that effect on me!
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smudge
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2008 »

Looking forward to reading this un. You`ve sold it well, Jo
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tzara
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2008 »

Excellent choice Jo. You convinced me how good David H's books are at Harrogate.

 I just bought David's latest 'The Garden of Evil' last week. Heading to waterstones tomorrow...
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Jo K
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Has anybody seen the plot?


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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2008 »

Just a reminder to anyone planning on participating this month, discussions are due to begin on Monday...
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God doesn't deduct from our alloted life span the time spent drinking.

oh and while I'm at it - READ THIS NOW! Grin - http://jokawasaki.com

smudge
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2008 »

I`ll be a little late with my feedback. I`ll try and finish by tomorrow, if poss. Brilliant opening salvo, H. Brave as always.x
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AlisonB
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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2008 »

Dingoes ate my homework... I'll be late too, sorry.
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smudge
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2008 »

I was hoping that would be a late twist. Bugger. Denied.
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Linda L
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2008 »

Very brave going first Helena  I am like you, I don't like to post after some of the splendid discussions.  Wink In fact I think maybe I read the books all wrong.  I certainly don't take as much out of them as others do.

The Promised land had an interesting start, with Bierce (is that a real name?) minutes from death...a good way to start a book, sure to hook you in.  I had a few issues with the time frame of events.  To me an awful lot happened in each day, and as with Simon Kernicks "Relentless", I found this and that they didn't need to sleep, a bit far fetched (yes, I know, it is just a story).
The fact that Alice was waiting in Bierce's home, immediately made me suspicious of her, and I had the feeling through the whole book....she wasn't on his side.
Interesting choice telling the story in the first person as it gives more insight into Bierce and his quandary as to what did happen on that night.  Also through his eyes we see a very different world to what we see, as he looks on it after 25 years in jail...but did he not have newspapers and tv inside?  Did I miss something there?

I did enjoy The Promised Land but from fans of Davids I have learned that this book isn't a patch on his Nic Costa series, so I am certainly going to give that series a try.

Thanks Jo, another good book club choice.
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Jayne
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2008 »

A thoroughly entertaining read, Jo. It was my first David Hewson book, so big thanks for introducing me to a new author. As others have already said, I loved the beginning - it's great when authors hook the reader in right from the start.

I have four more of David's books waiting to be read; a mixtures of standalones and series reads. I'm really looking forward to meeting Nic Costa, as I've heard so many great things about these books.

Thanks to Jo, and also to David, for a highly entertaining read.
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Rock chick
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2008 »

The first chapters of ‘The Promised Land’ is probably one of the most gripping and certainly one of the most chilling I’ve ever read – his descriptions of the ice-cold chemicals being injected into his veins by that odious nurse literally made me shudder.

Possibly for the first time, I find it hard to have a strong opinion here. I like Hewson’s writing a lot, and have purchased a couple of his Nic Costa’s on the strength of it, but I found my attention wandering through this book, and found myself skipping bits of it. The beginning was excellent, the premise of Bierce being unexpectedly and mysteriously released was promising, but for me, the plot wavered and wandered a bit in the central part of the book, strange nekkid women in his suspiciously well-preserved house, the motorcycle chases, the dodgy grandmother, the Triad gangs, te Italian gangsters all felt a little far-fetched and Hewson seemed to be throwing everything in but the kitchen sink. I do like a complex plot, but sometimes, less is more. I also think that more could have been made of the changes in society and technology over the last 20 years – there were token nods in the direction of the interweb and mobile phones, but not much else.

The book picked up a bit towards the end, and the role of Bierce’s wife was interesting and unexpected. I hadn’t read Hewson before, but I had the feeling that this action hero stuff is perhaps not his usual fare, and although it was a very interesting premise, it wasn’t entirely successful.

(I always feel slightly guilty giving feedback on a book I didn’t entirely enjoy – bearing in mind I couldn’t write ‘bum’ on  a wall, I’m not sure I’m best placed to criticise!)
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Jez
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2008 »

A really enjoyable book and I'm sure I'll get round to his Costa series at some point. I was delighted to see that Linda felt there was a similarity between this and "Relentless". I was thinking exactly the same thing about a third of the way in and was starting to worry (I didn't think much of Relentless). Fortunately Bierce is a much more satisfying central character and I felt more comfortable as the book wore on.
I share many of Carol and Linda's reservations but these didn't detract from a highly entertaining read.
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