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Genes Book Club - The Strangler Vine reviews

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GenesBookClub Advisor Report 22 Oct 2014 12:53

Hi everyone,

To those of you who were selected to receive a free copy of The Strangler Vine, we hope you enjoy reading it and would love to hear what you think of the book.

Happy reading!

Book Club


Winifred Report 7 Nov 2014 07:21

Mine arrived today. Should be completed by next weekend.


Emma Report 7 Nov 2014 18:43

Mine arrived, will post once completed :)


Dorothy Report 15 Nov 2014 12:06

Mine arrived will post when complete


Jan Report 17 Nov 2014 19:30

Have just started mine.


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 18 Nov 2014 12:15

This book is different to past offerings from Penguin and the GR Book Club. There is virtually no ‘Romance’.

Set in 1837 India at the time when it was ruled and exploited by the East India Company, it follows the journey of naïve Ensign William Avery. He is instructed to accompany Jeremiah Blake to find the whereabouts of poet and novelist Xavier Mountstuart who has written a ‘scandalous’ story based in Calcutta.

Blake and, as it turns out, Mountstuart are or have been Agents for the company and able to pass themselves off as Natives.

The book explores the relationship between the indigenous population and the British East Indians. Through Avery’s eyes, we learn how the British have lost respect for the Indian culture believing that they need to be ‘civilised’.
The major theme of the book explores the political machinations of The Company who promoted the idea that an organised Thugee network, followers of the goddess Kali, were responsible for numerous murders of the population both Native and British. Although the East India Company believed they were Civilising the Indians and bring stability their main objective was Profit. They needed an excuse to invade the independent principalities.

The Historical Afterword confirms that certain characters did in fact exist.

I enjoyed this book – although it’s a number of years since I read Kipling’s ‘Kim’ it does have some similarities.


Patricia Report 18 Nov 2014 20:53

I found this book easy to read and a page- turner. It is not my usual sort of book but I would be happy to read a further adventure of Blake and Avery.
This one is set in India at the time of the East India Company and is a fast moving tale
narrated by William Blake, a young officer employed as a soldier by the Company.
He is sent with Jeremiah Blake-an old India hand-to find Xavier Mountstuart who has disappeared in the interior. There are many twists to the plot and the developing friendship and respect between the two main characters is convincingly described.
This is not a demanding book but it is well written and researched. The story is told against a background which is historically accurate.
A rewarding read. Thank you for the opportunity.


Whizz Report 25 Nov 2014 15:54

I really enjoyed this book and was quite surprised by the content in terms of previous Genes books!! The picture painted of 19th century India is vibrant and I found I could almost smell the bazaars and market places. The research undertaken to write a book like this is impressive and I learnt a lot as well as being entertained. It was also unsurprising, I suppose, to learn of such deep corruption within merchant companies such as the East India Company. It was a pleasure to read, though, well written, well constructed plot and a lively writing pace to keep you interested and keen to read on. I am grateful to Genes Reunited for the opportunity to read this as I;m not sure I would have chosen it off a shelf otherwise, I look forward to the next Blake and Avery novel. :-)


Pammy51 Report 26 Nov 2014 10:55

It has been so enjoyable to read the range of books we have received so far from GR and Penguin. Most of them I would not have chosen by myself but they have taken us to such a variety of times and places and I have learned something new from each one. This book told us so much about 19th century India and the East India Company all wrapped in an intriguing story. I thought William Avery was a bit of a prig to start with (perhaps typical of the young officer of the day?) but he grew on me as the story progressed.
Definitely a keeper.


GenesBookClub Advisor Report 4 Dec 2014 10:15

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your reviews. On the whole The Strangler Vine was well received, it was certainly enjoyed by the Genes Reunited team!

Keep an eye out for the next title, which will be announced today.

The Book Club


SpanishEyes Report 5 Dec 2014 12:38

I am waiting for the Title. Hope it arrives soon!


SpanishEyes Report 6 Dec 2014 12:41

I have not recived,any news about theb( Next Book )

Please send it to me



+++DetEcTive+++ Report 6 Dec 2014 14:21

Bridget -this is the link to the December offer. If you want to apply you must click on the bookclub name to send a message



Dorothy Report 7 Dec 2014 19:36

I enjoyed this book and found it most interesting. The story was so well written and easy to follow. I also found the Glossary most helpful. Thank you GR and Penguin for the oppertunity to read this book.



Winifred Report 11 Dec 2014 21:46

What a wonderful picture this book painted of India. It was absorbing and so full of detail. I learnt a lot about India and it's culture. I loved how the friendship between the two characters developed. A most enjoyable book that I wouldn't have thought about reading. Thank you Penguin and Genes Reunited for the opportunity to increase my knowledge.