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  • Richly peopled, fast-moving, cleverly plotted, written with economy and elegance, this novel has the satisfying density and sweep of a book twice its length

    Sunday Times
  • Unsworth wraps his dark themes around a plot full of adventure and romance. Rifles are fired, locks are broken and necks are kissed in the midnight desert.

    Daily Telegraph
  • Reading this novel is like watching an Olympic athlete about to win the gold: the seamless flow of action, the mastery of technique, seemingly effortless yet demanding attention and eliciting admiration as an end in itself

  • The historical novel should do three things: make tangible the period in question; reflect it in to the modern world; and, like all novels, entertain. Barry Unsworth is a master of all three concerns ...

  • ... Land of Marvels could easily have become a morality tale about greed and imperial ambitions. But Unsworth is too canny a storyteller for that. It is greed that triumphs in the end. And, though empires change, imperial ambitions prevail. Such grim reflections on the past are sobering, too, when considering the current predicament of Iraq

    Financial Times

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