Well … she said she’d do it and she did.
Today I’m handing over to Mandie who has a review of the first Sam Wyndham book by Abir Mukherjee, A Rising Man. Whilst not stalking the author earlier this year at CrimeFest, Bute Noir and Bloody Scotland, Mandie made a bet that she would read all three of the books in the series by the end of the year. So she did with a whole day to spare. Not bad when you consider she only started on 18th December. We toured A Rising Man all over the city. It went to Hollyrood. It stopped for cake. We almost had A Rising Man up Arthur’s Seat, but thought that might be a bit risqué … A Rising Man rose early and walked to Portobello Beach instead. 😉
Before we see what Mandie thought, here is what the book is all about:
About the Book
India, 1919. Desperate for a fresh start, Captain Sam Wyndham arrives to take up an important post in Calcutta’s police force.
He is soon called to the scene of a horrifying murder. The victim was a senior official, and a note in his mouth warns the British to leave India – or else.
With the stability of the Empire under threat, Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee must solve the case quickly. But there are some who will do anything to stop them…
So this book has been on my reading list for quite some time and after a bit of twitter bravado I announced to all (and the author) that I planned to read all the books in the series by the end of 2018. Given that I didn’t pick this book up until my birthday on 18th December that didn’t give me long to achieve it. But achieve it I did, after making sure I had them in every available format so there was no excuse not to get stuck in. What I will say is that now that I have read all 3 books I am mentally kicking myself as to why I didn’t get to them sooner.. downside is I now have to wait ages for the next book. I absolutely love history and A Rising Man transports you back in time to India just after WW1 when British rule was very much in force.
Captain Sam Wyndham has recently arrived in Calcutta, a former Scotland Yard detective he is haunted by both his experiences during the war and the death of his wife Sarah. He sees this as a possible new start and a way to forget the past. Having barely settled in he finds himself leading an investigation into the murder of Alexander MacAuley, aide to the Lieutenant Governor. Along with fellow British officer Sub Inspector Digby and Sergeant “Surender-not” Banerjee he must find the killer and bring them to justice.
Sam is definitely a flawed character. He has an opium habit that he tells himself he is in total control of, yet his need to visit local opium dens to combat withdrawal symptoms can sometime lead him into dangerous situations. He does however try to make sure that these urges do not impact on the case or how he handles it. You get the sense that sometimes he does not agree with how things are done in India, but has to accept them. He has a great respect for Sergeant Banerjee and at a time when he is considering quitting the force, Sam convinces him to stay even though it means he is cast out by his family. Digby is quite resentful of Sam as he believes he was passed over for the position that Sam now holds. There are times that this resentment jeopardises both Sam and the case.
I have to say that I absolutely loved this book and found it very hard to put down, taking every opportunity available to just read that little bit further until I got to the end. I have had the great pleasure of attending several events where I have heard the author talk about his work, and the thing I have noticed from reading the books is that not only does his sense of humour come across at times in the story, so does his enthusiasm for the era his books are set in. There is just enough detail to give you a real sense of the period and how things were without getting too bogged down with it. Real events are also depicted throughout, maybe timings change a little to fit in with the story but they are still there (and yes saddo history geek that I am, I checked some of them out). For me this should be on everyone’s reading list as it’s a real corker of a book.
If you’d like a copy of the book for yourself, it is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Abir Mukherjee grew up in the west of Scotland. At the age of fifteen, his best friend made him read Gorky Park and he’s been a fan of crime fiction ever since. The child of immigrants from India, A Rising Man, his debut novel, was inspired by a desire to learn more about a crucial period in Anglo-Indian history that seems to have been almost forgotten. A Rising Man won the Harvill Secker/Daily Telegraph crime writing competition and became the first in a series starring Captain Sam Wyndham and ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee. It went on to win the CWA Historical Dagger and was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award. Abir lives in London with his wife and two sons.