Tuesday 14 April 2020

A Discovering Diamonds Review of The Red Hill by David Penny

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"A killer who can't be stopped. A request that can't be refused. In 1482 the Englishman Thomas Berrington is living in the last remnants of Moorish Spain. A physician, he is an unwilling friend to the most powerful man in the kingdom. When bodies start to turn up, each showing the marks of a savage attack, Thomas is asked to investigate. When one of the Sultan's wives is brutally murdered, what begins as a reluctant task turns into a fight for survival. Together with the eunuch Jorge, Thomas attempts to hunt down the killer before they become his next victims. Except nothing is as it seems-friends turn into enemies and enemies into friends. Thomas's investigation lays bare the secrets of the Red Hill and the people who inhabit it. His discoveries culminate in a battle not only for his own life, but for the lives of those he loves. "

1482. English surgeon, Thomas Berrington, has adopted Islam because it is a more practical faith for himself and his work in Muslim-occupied Spain. He has his own back story which we learn about as we read on, but his life becomes complicated when there is a murder and he gets the task of discovering ‘who did it’.

Berrington’s ‘sidekick’ is Jorge, a eunuch, two very opposite, complex characters which gives them both depth and interest for the reader. There are some cruel, violent and explicit scenes – but this was a violent era when morals greatly differed from those of today, and these scenes are written well and as necessary for the plot and the sense of time and place, not gratuitously.

There were a few sentences and scenes that I found a little ‘clunky’ but these did not really distract from the story and the outcome was slightly predictable so read the novel for the ‘how he solves it’ rather than the ‘guess who did it’.

A nice alternative to actually going to Spain as the descriptions of the Alhambra were well done. A debut novel, first of a series – an author to watch I think! 

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 
© Anne Holt
Kindle Unlimited version reviewed

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