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Publisher's Summary

Northumberland, 1804: Matthew Pryde, a young engineer, is sent to the small coastal village of Onswick to survey an offshore island, known locally as the Black Corbie. He must persuade the local landowner that a lighthouse needs to be built to prevent the high number of fatal shipwrecks that occur there. However, after suffering violence and intimidation, Matthew realises that the locals are deeply against the project. Finding himself suddenly on a personal search to discover more about his own mysterious childhood, Matthew is determined to succeed in both the professional and personal tasks set before him.
©2007 Malcolm Archibald; (P)2007 Soundings
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By W on 10-03-07


Orphan Matthew Pryde grew up unhappy and abused in a boarding school in London. His school and expenses are paid for by a mysterious benefactor. Subjected to gruesome treatment at the hands of the other students, Matthew endures to realize his dream of becoming an engineer. Later, he travels to a remote English town to build a lighthouse. Strangely, the villagers are against the lighthouse's construction- mostly because they profit from salvage caused by a large, partially submerged rock called the Black Corbie. As Matthew struggles with his difficult commission he meets a mysterious girl whom he develops a bond. Will Matthew succeed in discovering his truth about his origins and build the lighthouse? Or will he be broken by the cruelty and the conspiracy in the village?

I really enjoyed this novel and the narration was excellent! The story was gripping, and Matthew was a hero you could root for. I really felt bad for him at the boarding school. His treatment (and that inflicted on the other boys was terrible), the characters of Lady Fenthick and her Daughter Grace were also quite interesting.

I enjoyed this book at start to finish... Although the big 'reveal' wasn't that surprising, I could've hoped it had been a bit more positive. I kind of wished Matthew had a bit more vindication and that those who tormented him suffered a bit more....They were cruel and deserved it. The antagonists in this novel were so remorseless. I also thought the arrival of the shopkeeper's daughter towards the end was a bit too cutesy, but it worked out well.

I really hope their is a sequel. I'd like to find out what happens to Matt, Lady Fenthick and her Daughter. If not a sequel...An epilogue would be greatly appreciated.

5 stars.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Teresa on 10-04-08

Not the best story I've read

The story is well written but the story itself loses some momentum towards the predictable end. I usually feel a satisfaction at the end of a story but this time I just felt that it was a waste of my time. The narrator was excellant.

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