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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Charles Todd takes readers into Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge's past - to his perplexing final case before the outbreak of World War I.
On a fine summer's day in June, 1914, Ian Rutledge pays little notice to the assassination of an archduke in Sarajevo. An Inspector at Scotland Yard, he is planning to propose to the woman whom he deeply loves, despite intimations from friends and family that she may not be the wisest choice.
To the north on this warm and gentle day, another man in love - a Scottish Highlander - shows his own dear girl the house he will build for her in September. While back in England, a son awaits the undertaker in the wake of his widowed mother's death. This death will set off a series of murders across England, seemingly unconnected, that Rutledge will race to solve in the weeks before the fateful declaration in August that will forever transform his world.
As the clouds of war gather on the horizon, all of Britain wonders and waits. With every moment at stake, Rutledge sets out to right a wrong - an odyssey that will eventually force him to choose between the Yard and his country, between love and duty, and between honor and truth.
©2015 Charles Todd (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Christy on 01-11-15

Bravo! Prequel Success!

As I began to listen, I had forgotten that this is a "prequel" and takes place in 1914, beginning on the day that the assassination in the Balkans takes place, "a fine summer's day" in England.

My first thought was "All those readers who keep saying they want to see the last of Hamish will get their wish, at least temporarily," while also thinking - will I like Ian Rutledge from before the war?

I have to admit that for the first couple of hours I was puzzled and confused because Rutledge has to go from case to case to case (Old Bowles on the rampage), and the cases are all over the country as well as involving different characters and local policemen. Consequently, the setup for this one is, like some of the recent books in the series, quite complex and may try your patience. But hang in there. There is a method to the madness, and once this first bit is out of the way, I thought this entry was superb. I had trouble stopping once it got going and will say no more about the mystery.

It is fun to meet some of the characters that you have previously been introduced to only as a look at the past, and I think it helped flesh out Ian Rutledge as a real person. We meet his Jean and her family and see much more of his relationship with sister Frances and family friend Melinda Crawford.

The narrator, Steven Crossley, is one of my favorites (he reads the Shardlake series), and does a creditable job of distinguishing most of the myriad of characters.

Kept me thoroughly engaged and I loved it!

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By JoAnn on 01-12-15

The best so far in this series

I've read all of this series and I think this one was the best. It filled a void I didn't even know I'd missed. We see a young Rutledge before the war that permanently changes him. An intriguing mystery and a glimpse of how Ian's life could have been without the horror or war.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Rogayah on 03-14-16

Beginning of the End

The story was convoluted and seemed to start with a series of tales then the threads began to come together showing a bigger canvas as with the backdrop of the beginnings of the Great War; mutterings about the Arch Duke's assassination turning into a flood of men all over the country wanting to enlist.

It was strange to see the end of an era of footmen, parties and an innocence that seemed to belong to the 19th century. The birth of the 20th Century, as seen here, was messy and very painful.

The trail of destruction left by the murderer, horrible as it was, was small beer compared to the slaughter and horrors of the Somme.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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