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10 thoughts on “The Chessmen

  1. Andrew Smith Andrew Smith says:

    So after reading well listening to actually this trio of books back to back I’ve reached the end After The Blackhouse and Lewis Man introduced us to Fin MacLeod this story completes a perfectly formed trilogy The descriptions of the wild and remote Hebridean islands is ever present as is the all pervading influence of the church but it’s the individual characters that rightly take centre stage here We are introduced to uite a cast from Fin’s early years and learn a good deal about how his life developed between leaving school and the beginning of his police career Lifelong male friendships were forged and girlfriends came and wentAs before there’s a crime to be solved this time a body is discovered in a ‘plane after a loch is strangely emptied by a phenomenon known as a ‘bog burst’ – but this is never allowed to dominate proceedings Just as interesting are the anecdotes from Fin’s early years and his catch up with old friends and acuaintances And there’s history here too I was fascinated by the tale of the tragic fate of nearly 200 islanders who perished when the Lolaire hit rocks close to Stornaway Harbour As the boat went down they were drowned or dashed against rocks It was the early hours of New Year’s Day 1919 and the men were soldiers returning home from fighting in the war I found the account of this real event to be heartbreaking These books are brooding and sad in places but uplifting too The bond between people on these islands feels different to anything I’ve experienced in my lifetime somehow the linkage is stronger the alliances deeply held But this can cause problems of its own in this place where everyone knows everyone and secrets are hard to keep It’s been a joy to be in the company of these people for the past few weeks and I will miss them and the islands desperately I shall though be seeking out work from the author – he knows how to spin a yarn this man

  2. Jaline Jaline says:

    The Lewis Chessmen are real artifacts discovered near Uig Lewis in 1831 There is some speculation as to their origin but they appear to have been crafted in the 12th century and most historians believe they were originally created in NorwayIn this book the last of the Lewis Trilogy replicas of the chessmen play a pivotal role in solving a murder There is another murder that is discovered – one that occurred 16 years ago Again Peter May’s masterful weaving of the stories of his characters’ pasts with events that are currently underway is completely spellbindingThe period in Fin Macleod’s life that is highlighted through this last book is just prior to his university years through to shortly after those years It is a time I could relate to well as he became the road manager during those years for a popular band named Solas and my own music career would have been occurring during the same ages At times the shenanigans and accidents and other weirdness of the lifestyle became very uncomfortable for me to read about Someone peeked into my own past and wrote about it Through it all I could relate most closely to Fin because even though he was part of it he wasn’t “in it” to the same degree the others were That is to say his mission was to remain as authentic as possible in a wild land of illusion smoke and mirrorsSo to say this book struck close to my heart would be an understatement The years described are a somewhat angst ridden and uncertain time in young people’s lives anyway Fresh out of high school and into a new school that is supposed to prepare one for the rest of their lives when they don’t really have a clue what they want to commit to for the rest of their lives Not to mention the relationships and attempts to get those commitments sorted out and on track – all while making a multitude of mistakes and errors that either get carried for life as baggage or learned from and added to the wisdom pile There is much of this sorting out going on in the book It makes it both endearing to read and painful at timesThere were tie ins to the first two books of the Trilogy in this third outing as well and I am so glad that I read them one after the other as some of the threads are subtle and ones that appeared to have been resolved or were non resolvable in previous books If asked I could not honestly say which book of the three is my favorite They are all of a piece – completely congruent with each other and inter dependent on each otherI loved this series and it is going to take some doing to find another that can impress me as much as this saga I’m already feeling lonely for these people and this Island

  3. Paula Paula says:

    The Chessmen is the last of the Lewis trilogy by Peter May Written in beautiful and brutal prose May takes us again to the harsh Isle of Lewis a remote island in the outer Hebrides of Scotland steeped in Gaelic culture The trilogy is centered around the life of Fin Macleod formerly a detective inspector in The Edinburgh police force After the death of his son and a failed marriage Fin decides to return to his bleak menacing birthplace Now working security for an estate overwhelmed with poachers Fin and his friend Whistler come upon an old plane crash containing the body of a famous musician and friend who disappeared 17 years ago With excellent storytelling the novel weaves back and forth in Fin’s life connecting old band friends with today’s discovery The trilogy is a dark crime mystery thriller full of surprises The Blackhouse #1 of the 3 is brilliant Definitely not a series I wish to see end The author has other series and stand alone books which I look forward to reading Highly recommend the trilogy4 out of 5 stars

  4. Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* says:

    EXCERPT Whistler stood silhouetted against the light beyond the collection of broken shelters they called beehives on a ridge that looked out over the valley and Fin stumbled over sodden ground with shaking legs to join him Whistler neither turned nor acknowledged him He just stood like a statue frozen in space and time Fin was shocked by his face drained as it was of all colour His beard looked like black and silver paint scraped onto white canvas His eyes dark and impenetrable lost in shadow 'What is it Whistler?'But Whistler said nothing and Fin turned to see what he was staring at At first the sight that greeted him in the valley simply filled him with confusion He understood all that he saw and yet it made no sense He turned and looked back beyond the beehives to the jumble of rock above them and the scree slope that rose up to the shoulder of the mountain where he had stood the night before and seen lightning reflected on the loch below Then he turned back to the valley But there was no loch Just a big empty hole ABOUT THIS BOOK Living again of the Isle of Lewis the ex Detective Inspector Fin McLeod is working as a security officer for a local landowner While investigating illegal activity on the estate Fin encounters the elusive poacher and former childhood friend Whistler MacaskillBut while Fin catches up with Whistler the two witness a freak natural phenomenon a 'Bog Burst' which spontaneously drains a loch of its water revealing a mud encased light aircraft with a sickeningly familiar moniker on its sideBoth men immediately know hat they will find inside the body of Roddy Mackenzie a friend whose flight disappeared than seventeen years before But when Whistler's face appears to register something other than shock an icy chill of apprehension overtakes Fin What secret has Whistler been hiding from him and everyone else on the island? Fin is unprepared for how the truth about the past will alter the course of the future MY THOUGHTS I love Peter May's writing and I have loved this trilogy It oozes atmosphere The plotting is taut and while not always fast paced is gripping to the point where I was digging my nails into my palms as I readMay has the ability to take the reader on a roller coaster ride both with emotions and expectations I may have thought I knew where this was heading but I didn't I really didn't He draws together the atmosphere of the rugged island with it's peat bogs and windswept crags the pervasive strong religious beliefs of the islanders their dourness and innate distrust of outsiders the torn loyalties of a group of people who were once inseparable to produce a finale to a superb trilogy that is both heart wrenching and hopeful I finished with tears in my eyes and an increased respect for this wonderful writerAlthough you could theoretically read these novels as stand alones I urge you not to You would miss out on so much backstory that enriches the series overall “The drive down to Uig passed in a painful blur Great fat raindrops spat on his windscreen like tears spilled for the dead” THE AUTHOR Peter May is a Scottish television screenwriter novelist and crime writer At age twenty one he was named Scottish Young Journalist of the Year He was a prolific television scriptwriter in the UK for nearly twenty years and has won several literary awards for his novels He now lives in France with his wife DISCLOSURE I listened to the audiobook of The Chess Men written by Peter May narrated by Peter Forbes and published by uercus via Overdrive All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreadscom profile page or the about page on sandysbookadaywordpresscom This review and others are also published on Twitter Instagram and my webpage

  5. Tracy Harper Tracy Harper says:

    I hate to say this but the concluding book in the trilogy left me somewhat disappointed if you had removed the epilogue and this wasn't the concluding chapter in the trilogy I might have felt differently Ie if this was a series of books like the David Hewson Nic Costa series I wouldn't have felt that the entire story was compromised My main issues would beI do not understand why the new character of Whistler was introduced He had never been mentioned prior to this and given the relationship that was described it seemed inconceivable that a he wouldn't have been mentioned as part of Fin's childhood in the first book and b that Fin wouldn't have visited him before this point Ie upon his return to LewisThe character of Marsaili wasn't even a secondary character in the plot Given that this was the concluding book of the trilogy I had anticipated that the characters we had come to know would be part of the plot structure Fins relationship with Marsaili and his son were key to the previous books and both individuals were conspicuous by their absence A lot of complex issues were introduced in the first two books which were not even touched upon I understand the need for each book to be stand alone but for the readers who had followed this story from the beginning I couldn't help but feel a little short changedThe death of Fins son was a theme throughout the first two books and I had anticipated that this would form a large part of the concluding book Therefore the epilogue felt and read very much like an after thoughtHated the conclusion of the Donald Murray story Seemed incredibly rushed and not at all well considered

  6. Michael Michael says:

    This completes the trilogy of murder mysteries set on Lewis Island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland Fin left this rural backwater 18 years before when he went to college on the mainland and subseuently became a police detective in Edinburgh But the death of a child and the break up of his marriage has him looking for self repair from his roots in this remote Gaelic speaking community In the prior book we learned he has a special connection in the form of a son he didn’t know about being raised by the high school girlfriend he left behind after an infidelity he regrets This book starts with him working security for an estate manager and sharing the discovery of a body in an old plane crash when a bog suddenly drains The body is believed to be that of an old classmate who had begun to achieve fame and success as the leader of a Gaelic folk pop group for which Fin had served as the roadie At the scene of the discovery is a reclusive poacher nicknamed Whistler who was a former member of the band who dropped out supposedly over jealousy over love for the group’s sexy vocalist This book satisfied my love of books that work as biographies of place and special rural communities It also taps into my fondness for crime procedurals in which the personal life character flaws and moral uandaries to the hero are bound up with the tale For a great overview of the series see this review by fan Harry Roolaart Link

  7. Phrynne Phrynne says:

    The final book in this trilogy and it did its job of wrapping up all the loose ends very wellAs with the previous two books the best part was the whole atmosphere of the island the bogs the mist the rain and the way the people seem to live in a slower old fashioned way I actually liked this book a little less than the first two as it bounced around a bit too much into a past which did not really interest me Nevertheless it was still very good very readable and a great conclusion to an excellent series

  8. Richard Derus Richard Derus says:

    Rating 35 of fiveThe series is complete My relief is genuineI'll find something to say in due courseDUE COURSE HAVING ELAPSEDPeter May cut his storytelling teeth in Scottish television creating two prime time drama series and script editing a third He is very clearly Scottish choosing an unfamiliar and unforgiving setting for this series The Hebrides no less than Ann Cleeves's famous Shetlands TV and book series is globally known for its distilled essence of Scottishness No smart author who wasn't Scottish would dare to do thisBut the problem is that the Hebrides form an atmospheric backdrop for a personal saga of surpassing ordinariness The gross out food gathering antics of the Hebrideans in The Blackhouse aren't integral to the murder they're the handy means for it The Lewis Man came off better than The Blackhouse because it was a universal plot far compelling than the first one but again the Hebrides could as easily have been the Balearics or the CycladesNow at the end of the trail we're confronted with a murder that frankly makes no sense a murder that makes all the sense in the world a death that's explained in as bloodless in the bad sense a way as any in detective fiction and a hit that my shoulders have been hunched in anticipation of since the middle of The Lewis ManI'm not one for book reports so go read the synopsis and some spoilery reviews to glean some insights into which might be what I'm here to tell you that this wasn't a satisfying three book read But the Gotcha Gang is now crouched above their keyboards waiting to snort in derision you read them Yep I did I got the series from uercus and even though it takes me forever to get around to reviews these days I still honor my commitmentsThe end result of my reading isn't the sense of time wasted so much as time misused The author has storytelling chops He deploys the expected tropes in the usual order and does so against the background of a culturally uniue place without as Cleeves does allowing us a deeper than guidebook sense of the ways and means of these isolated folks I would be howling to the stars about these books if I'd felt the crimes had originated organically in Hebridean soil The author's ability to make a story one wants to follow isn't in uestion The main character is a homecoming middle aged ball of grief and rage so that's familiar He isn't anyone we haven't met before but he's well developed enough for that not to be a major concernIn the end I'm not sure what to tell you If Scotland is a fascination of yours and you're a murder mystery addict ie if you're me yeah sure read away Don't expect a peak experience If you're a tartan noir person and why the hell wouldn't you be? these will occupy summer beach hours adeuately Even refreshingly given that there isn't a single warm day in any of the texts

  9. Carolyn Carolyn says:

    This is the third book in what is an excellent trilogy Centred around Fin Macleod the novels have taken him from an Edinburgh DI grieving the loss of his young son and the breakdown of his marriage back to his childhood home on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides to reconnect with his old friends and lost loves Now resigned from the police and employed to manage security on a large estate he is living with his childhood sweetheart and coming to terms with being a father to a son he didn't know he had but still feeling that something inside him is missingThe novel opens with the discovery of a body another cold case for Fin to solve but one that will drag up memories and people from his past to collide with the present It's a tale of lies jealousy and deception that has repercussions for Fin and his group of friends from his high school days What I love most about these books is the strong sense of place I have never visited the Hebrides but with Peter May's fine writing I can visualise the eerie and windswept landscape of craggy mountains grasses and boggy peat the inland lochs and the cliffs along an often angry sea I can also feel the insular almost stifling feeling of living on an isolated island one where little has changed over time and everyone is linked in some way I also enjoyed learning the story of the Lewis Chessman 78 beautifully carved ivory chess pieces made in the 12th century in either Norway or Iceland and found on a Lewis beach in 1831 for further information see wikipedia is a photo of one of the chess pieces in the British Museum a beserker infantryman seen biting his shield prior to going into battle isn't he gorgeous

  10. Rob Rob says:

    Book 3 and last book of the Lewis Trilogy published 2013A brilliant conclusion to The Lewis TrilogyThe definition of a great writer is when that writer can remove you from the environment you are in and transport you somewhere completely foreign And this Peter May does in spades Sitting in my comfortable lounge I could feel the icy wind tug at my clothes feel the rain as it soaked me to the bone; in short make me feel like I was on Lewis instead of my loungeFin McLeod and his friend Whistler are out in the wilds of upland Lewis where they spend the night camping in a cave In the morning leaving the cave both men see something that is beyond belief Last night there was a loch just outside the caves entrance and this morning it’s gone The entire area is now empty of water and in the middle of what was the loch is the wreck of a small plane After investigating the site both men are completely lost for words The crashed plane belongs to none other that a very close friend that disappeared from the face of the earth some seventeen years agoAfter the discovery of the plane the police start an investigation into the cause of the crash When the truth that has been hidden for the last seventeen years comes to the surface lives will be for ever changed Whilst I would categorise this book as a thriller it’s a thriller that needs to be read and savoured I never felt the need to rush to the end I was all too happy just to be where I was freezing cold and soaking wet and seeing life through Fin McLeod’s eyes A great 5 star experience

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The Chessmen ❮BOOKS❯ ✺ The Chessmen ✰ Author Peter May – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk Fin Macleod numera säkerhetschef på en privatägd egendom på Isle of Lewis får i uppdrag att utreda en våg av illegal jakt på önHans efterforskningar återförenar honom med Whistler Macaskill Fin Macleod numera säkerhetschef på en privatägd egendom på Isle of Lewis får i uppdrag att utreda en våg av illegal jakt på önHans efterforskningar återförenar honom med Whistler Macaskill en lokal tjuvskytt som var Fins bästa kompis under tonåren Whistler bär sedan länge på en stor hemlighet Och när återföreningen tar en mörk våldsam vändning inser Fin att det skulle kunna bli förödande för ön om sanningen kom framPETER MAY f är en flerfaldigt prisbelönt skotsk romanförfattare bosatt i Frankrike Svarthuset första delen i hans »Lewis trilogi« om Edinburgh polisen Fin Macleod hyllades av kritikerna och vann en rad priser bland annat The Cezam Prix Littéraire i Frankrike och The Barry Award för »Årets bästa kriminalroman« i USA Lewispjäserna The Chess Men är den tredje och avslutande boken i trilogin.