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Rose

Cover of Rose

Rose

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Rose is a wonderfully rich and intricate novel set in nineteenth-century Wigan, a town located in the coal country of Lancashire. Its protagonist, Jonathan Blair, is a mining engineer who has been chased out of Africa for "stealing" from the missionaries' Bible Fund in order to pay off the porter of his expedition into the interior of the Gold Coast; he is now down and out in London.

Blair's employer, Bishop Hannay, promises to send him back to Africa if he can find John Maypole, the curate who was engaged to his daughter, Charlotte Hannay, when he disappeared three months previously without explanation. Charlotte herself is an ill-tempered young woman who takes an instant dislike to Blair when he tries to investigate her fiancé's disappearance. Other characters include assorted townspeople, miners at the Hannay family mine, and Rose Molyneux, a "pit girl" with whom Blair falls in love.

Exceeding even the high expectations of Smith's readers, Rose is richly detailed and compelling--his most accomplished and fascinating novel to date.

From the Hardcover edition.

Rose is a wonderfully rich and intricate novel set in nineteenth-century Wigan, a town located in the coal country of Lancashire. Its protagonist, Jonathan Blair, is a mining engineer who has been chased out of Africa for "stealing" from the missionaries' Bible Fund in order to pay off the porter of his expedition into the interior of the Gold Coast; he is now down and out in London.

Blair's employer, Bishop Hannay, promises to send him back to Africa if he can find John Maypole, the curate who was engaged to his daughter, Charlotte Hannay, when he disappeared three months previously without explanation. Charlotte herself is an ill-tempered young woman who takes an instant dislike to Blair when he tries to investigate her fiancé's disappearance. Other characters include assorted townspeople, miners at the Hannay family mine, and Rose Molyneux, a "pit girl" with whom Blair falls in love.

Exceeding even the high expectations of Smith's readers, Rose is richly detailed and compelling--his most accomplished and fascinating novel to date.

From the Hardcover edition.

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About the Author-
  • Martin Cruz Smith lives in Northern California with his wife and three children.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 1, 1996
    Though Arkady Renko is absent from Smith's latest novel, the author of Red Square (1992), etc., has created instead a new protagonist, Jonathan Blair, a 19th-century man in the best muscular detective tradition. Until 1872, Blair was an avid explorer of Africa's Gold Coast, but now he has been exiled by his employer, Bishop Hannay, to the Lancashire mining town of Wigan. Blair's ostensible mission is to find John Rowland, the missing curate who was engaged to Hannay's daughter, but he quickly learns that he'll need all his bush survival skills just to stay alive in Wigan, where no one seems to want the curate found. Much of Blair's gritty charm lies in his hatred of all things English, just as he is hated in turn by the aristocratic Hannays, their peer relations, the Rowlands-and the miners. On the first day of his investigation, Blair steps on nearly every toe in a very touchy town, including those of Bill Jaxon, a miner skilled at a blood sport in which naked men fight with brass-studded clogs. Blair ends up on the wrong end of a clog more than once when he intuits that Jaxon's "pit girl" (a woman who sorts coal) may have lured the curate to his doom. Smith molds a spirited, sexy mystery and fires it with his characteristic love of atmosphere. But his real treat for readers is Blair, whose spicy observations imbue even this gray landscape with prismatic color, and whose verbal sparring matches with the Hannays and Rowlands are equal to Waugh in their hilarious, scathing send-up of English upper-class incivility. Smith's extravagant talent runs the spectrum here from sparkling dialogue and tantalizing mystery to grim, graphic depictions of mining life that sear both the conscience and the imagination. Simultaneous Random House Audio and large-print edition; author tour.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 2, 1997
    PW called this tale of murder in a 19th-century Lancashire mining town a "spirited, sexy mystery."

  • San Francisco Chronicle

    "A superb thriller that will keep the reader breathless right up to the final page."

  • The New York Times "[SMITH] AT THE TOP OF HIS FORM . . . It is fun, the well-plotted, dense fun of an intelligent, shadowy, literary enigma. . . . Brisk and edifying entertainment."
  • The Washington Post Book World "A JOY TO READ."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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Martin Cruz Smith
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