Friday 28 November 2014

Review ~ The Blood-Dimmed Tide by Anthony Quinn.

Title: The Blood-Dimmed Tide.
Author: Anthony Quinn.
Publisher: No Exit Press.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Publication Date: October 23, 2014.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

London at the dawn of 1918 and Ireland's most famous literary figure, WB Yeats, is immersed in supernatural investigations at his Bloomsbury rooms.

Haunted by the restless spirit of an Irish girl whose body is mysteriously washed ashore in a coffin, Yeats undertakes a perilous journey back to Ireland with his apprentice ghost-catcher Charles Adams to piece together the killer's identity.

Surrounded by spies, occultists and Irish rebels, the two are led on a gripping journey along Ireland's wild Atlantic coast, through the ruins of its abandoned estates, and into its darkest, most haunted corners. Falling under the spell of dark forces, Yeats and his novice ghost-catcher come dangerously close to crossing the invisible line that divides the living from the dead.

The Blood-Dimmed Tide is one of the most fascinating novels I’ve read in a long time. It has quite an unusual plot and I love it when an author is so unafraid to mix up genres and really make a novel stand out. We meet Charles Adams, who is an apprentice ghost catcher investigating the death of an Irish girl whose body was found in a coffin that had been washed ashore. This in itself is surely captivating enough to make a novel but where Anthony Quinn excels is that he combined so much more into this book that there’s pretty much something for everyone. We learn about some Irish politics and history, we read parts supernatural, parts espionage, parts everything. I’m not sure how the author even managed to put it all together but I was impressed.

The cover and the synopsis had me sold and I was very excited to start reading. So I was then a little disappointed at how long it took me to really get into the book. I can’t really even understand why I did struggle, because the book instantly brings us to the washed ashore coffin, and the mystery behind it. I was intrigued, right from the first page to the very last, but I still found it a little slow going to begin with. I wanted to be blown away from the beginning and I wasn’t, but I was pleased to find that The Blood-Dimmed Tide got stronger and stronger as the novel went on.

The mixing of themes in the book is unlike anything I’ve read before and I thought the author’s writing was impressive, the way he put so much into this novel and the way everything linked together. There were plenty of sub-plots and occasionally I felt disconnected from the novel when it switched, but then most of the time I was just hooked and so interested. The author wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries and his writing felt skilful and mesmerising.

What I loved the most about The Blood-Dimmed Tide was the beautiful prose. Quinn’s descriptive writing was so enchanting and really wonderful to read. I find that a lot of descriptive writing can either enhance the plot and bring it to life, or distract from the story. Quinn’s use of descriptive writing was perfect. Every word was striking and in my mind, I could build up a strong, vivid picture of the setting which then helped me imagine the events that were taking place there. Honestly, I never expected to completely love this book because some of the themes aren’t really for me but for the entire book, the sublime writing captured my interest. It’s hard to detail the plot without spoiling it but I will say that it was very enthralling and I’m looking forward to reading more. The Blood-Dimmed Tide was something a little different and a completely worthwhile read. It’s worth a read just for the bold and beautiful writing style the author possesses.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

Anthony Quinn is an Irish writer and journalist whose first novel Disappeared was acclaimed by the Daily Mail as 'unquestionably one of the crime novels of the year, written in peerless prose.’ It was shortlisted for a Strand Literary Award by the book critics of the Guardian, LA Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and other US newspapers. It was also listed by Kirkus Reviews as one of the top ten thrillers of 2012.

His short stories have twice been shortlisted for a Hennessy/New Irish Writing award.

The Blood-Dimmed Tide is the first in a series of three historical novels set in Ireland during WWI and the War of Independence. He lives in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.


  1. Not a book I would choose but a great review again.

    1. Thank you - it's such a unique novel but obviously not for everyone :)


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