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The Great Stink


The Great Stink

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    Available in PDF Format | The Great Stink.pdf | English
    Clare Clark(Author)
William May returns to London after the horrors of the Crimean War. Scarred and fragile though he is, he lands a job at the heart of Bazalgette's transformation of the London sewers. There, in the darkness of the stinking tunnels beneath the rising towers of Victorian London, May discovers another side of the city and remembers a disturbing, violent past. And then the corruption of the growing city soon begins to overwhelm him and a violent murder is committed. Will the sewers reveal all and show that the world above ground is even darker and more threatening than the tunnels beneath? Beautifully written, evocative and compelling, with a fantastically vivid cast of characters, Clare Clarke's first book is a rich and suspenseful novel that draws the reader right into Victorian London and into the worlds of its characters desperately attempting to swim the tides of change.

'A tale that literally reeks with atmosphere' -- Guardian‘All the elements of a brisk Gothic thriller’ -- Observer‘Gripping... to read The Great Stink is to experience that most exquisite of bookish pleasures: total immersion' -- Time Out‘Harrowing’ -- Literary Review‘Reminiscent of late Dickens at his most brooding. One of the best British novels of 2005’ -- Literary Review

2.5 (4426)
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Book details

  • PDF | 368 pages
  • Clare Clark(Author)
  • Penguin (6 April 2006)
  • English
  • 6
  • Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Read online or download a free book: The Great Stink

Review Text

  • By Emma Louise on 13 June 2005

    Clare Clark's The Great Stink is set during a pivotal point in the history of Victorian London, as plans are being finalised for a complete overhaul of the city's sewage system. It is this that forms the backdrop to the action. The plot works brilliantly on several levels - above ground, the machinery of this vast scheme of public works is vividly conveyed, with all its optimism and corruption. Below ground are the sewers themselves, dark foetid remnants of the city's medieval past, which are evoked in marvellously descriptive passages. Straddling the two is the hero of the book, William May, who works as an engineer under Joseph Bazalgette, and whose compulsive relationship with the dark, labyrinthine sewers will have disastrous consequences.This is an intelligent and gripping historical murder mystery with some fantastic twists and a truly page-turning denoument. The story is moving and involving, and manages brilliantly to transport the reader back in time to the Victorian age, and down beneath the foggy streets of London. Highly recommended.

  • By ljcn on 24 February 2005

    Written in the style of a Victorian novel, and arranged in alternating chapters dealing with the two main characters as their two very different worlds collide with each other, this is a remarkable book. It grips you from the first page and won't let you go, grabbing you with wonderful descriptions of Victorian London that really make you feel the mud beneath your boots and smell the stench of the crumbling sewers that form the backdrop to much of the drama.This is a really intelligent historical novel with a strong plot, sympathetic and believable characters, and an atmosphere that will stay in your head long after you put the book down. I strongly recommend it.

  • By B. K. M. Ac on 7 October 2007

    Sir Joseph Bazalgette has long been one of my greatest historical heroes. Indeed, he always will be, and his achievement regarding the sewers of London must rank as one of the greatest engineering successes of Victorian London. It certainly ended the cholera plagues in a way that no medical knowledge did. I knew that the project must have been a logistical nightmare, but the author picks away at the fabric of social pride, allowing the reader to glimpse the underlying politics and suffering beneath, in a minutely detailed, fascinating way. To me, history is the sociology of the past,and this view of the foundations of Victorian society is a sombre lesson that we would do well to remember- "it's the rich wot gets the money, and the poor wot gets the blame." Ain't it all a bleeding shame?

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