This was a rather interesting read and definitely not my usual one, but I enjoyed it greatly nevertheless. It’s an interesting story set in 19 century India, in a time when India is ruled by the East India Company. Xavier Mounstuart, famous author, goes missing and William Avery and Jeremiah Blake are called in to find him. William and Jeremiah can’t be any different. William is not fascinated with India and dreams of the day when he’ll be back home. Only thing he does seem to enjoy is the friendship of his Scottish friend and the British girls who’ve been brought to India to find a husband. This all can be very funny to most of us, but arranged marriages are totally acceptable even now in some part of the world, so it was rather interesting reading about this. Jeremiah seems to have blended in, retiring from the company and enjoying India and the way natives live, and of course he’s not very interested in going on this quest to find Xavier Mountstuart.
Is there a point to this quest? Could the famous writer be alive or has fallen in the trap of the Thugs, the murderous sect of Kali-worshippers?
Overall, this was indeed an interesting mix of mystery and historical fiction. It’s well researched and one could tell the author sure did her homework when plotting the story. I don’t know much about India’s history in this period, but I caught myself googling facts because of this book. The story took to a slower start, but picked up very soon and I really enjoyed it till the very end. I think the author did a great job in portraying the characters, especially William Avery and Jeremiah Blake who make an interesting couple. If you’re a fan of historical mysteries on an interesting topic, this is definitely a book for you. It might not be the type of book I’d normally pick up, but I was pleasantly surprised.
My rating: 4/5
About The Author
M. J. Carter is a former journalist and the author of two acclaimed works of non-fiction: Anthony Blunt: His Lives and The Three Emperors: Three Cousins, Three Empires and the Road to World War One. M. J. Carter is married with two sons and lives in London.
About The Book
Calcutta, 1837. Young Ensign William Avery is tasked by his employers - the East India Company - to track down disgraced agent Xavier Mountstuart, lost to the jungle. Forced to take with him dissolute, disillusioned, errant genius ex-officer Jeremiah Blake, Avery is sure their mission is doomed. When their search leads them into Kali-worshipping, Thugee territory, survival depends upon trust. Fighting for their lives, the pair close in to their elusive quarry only to discover the horrifying truth behind their mission. With death and danger on all sides, is it too late to save themselves?
Amazon UK (Paperback): http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Strangler-Vine-Blake-Avery/dp/0241966558/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411722355&sr=8-1&keywords=m+j+carter
Amazon UK (Kindle): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Strangler-Vine-Blake-Avery-ebook/dp/B00FHLBYGQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1411722355