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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton, read by Julian Rhind-Tutt.

Selected for the BBC Two Book Club Between the Covers and the Radio 2 Jo Whiley Book Club.

Shortlisted for The Books Are My Bag Fiction Award.

An impossible murder

A remarkable detective duo

A demon who may or may not exist

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he is facing trial and execution for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent, while also on board are Sara Wessel, a noble woman with a secret, and her husband, the governor general of Batavia.

But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock are slaughtered in the night. And then the passengers hear a terrible voice whispering to them in the darkness, promising them three unholy miracles. First: an impossible pursuit. Second: an impossible theft. Third: an impossible murder. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent and Sara can solve a mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board....

From the author of the dazzling The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, winner of the Costa Best First Novel Award, comes an audacious and original new high concept murder mystery.

©2020 Stuart Turton (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic Reviews

"If you read one book this year, make sure it’s this one." (Daily Mail)

"A superb historical mystery: inventive, twisty, addictive and utterly beguiling.... A TRIUMPH." (Will Dean) 

"A glorious mash-up of William Golding and Arthur Conan Doyle." (Val McDermid)

What listeners say about The Devil and the Dark Water

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  • Theodora Clark
  • 12-11-2020

Disappointing

I loved seven deaths! It's honestly one of my favourite books, I loved the mix of Agatha Christie style murders and groundhog day! So when I heard Mr Turton has written another book I was so excited. After a few hours of listening I was a bit disappointed, Nothing had gripped me, It was a Sherlock Holmes book set on a boat where Watson does the detecting, But I persevered. The narrator is good but the story is dull and to my horror after waiting for 15 hours for the denouement of the story the ending was awful! I love mystery books and films because I love trying to work out the puzzle, but as things were being explained as to how to murders were committed, it became clear to me that there was no way for a reader to have guessed the outcome, it was just a "haha don't you feel stupid for not thinking of this" and I was like "not really as I didn't get the whole view of the story" key details of the murders were missed out so the audience would have no grasp on what or how things were being done. I also found moments quite unnecessarily brutal. Not to give too much away but I found it quite sickening when all of a sudden the main character is convinced by a man who is clearly "the bad guy" to enforce prostitution and gang rape of the female passengers. The character suggesting it is clearly "the bad guy" so if this scene was introduced to convince the audience that we shouldn't root for this man it was already obvious. There was no need for this scene, It was grotesques and unnecessary. After reading the authors notes at the end of the book I find out that the story is loosely based on a ship from Australia where some of the events from the book had happened. However not the vast majority of the events from the book, Literally the similarities are three events in a book over 10 hours long, So to include that scene was, I thought, unnecessary, Not to mention it is using the "women being threatened with rape" cliche to show how honourable the main character is for not wanting to do that. Which frankly is outmoded and should not be welcome in modern society storytelling. I really think Mr Turton should revaluate using the rape of women as a plot devise. FURTHERMORE, IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PLOT! It was literally mentioned in a chapter and then not mentioned again! It was so unnecessary! It has really stuck with me and made me feel quite uncomfortable. I would not recommend this book. I guess if you like sherlock holmes and being kept in the dark for over 10 hours of storytelling it would be good for you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • paul sparks
  • 21-10-2020

Dark water and dark tale

If you have ever read a Warhammer book you will know that the term grim dark future is used this wonderfully intriguing and entertaining book is the grim dark past and it is very grim and dark indeed, the twists and plots that turn and change are a joy, and without doubt they chose the right narrator for this book, outstanding performance Mr JTR

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bob Scratchitt
  • 03-12-2020

Not that special

Well narrated. Sadly I just didn’t find this story that special. As the author intended it is a Holmes like mystery and on that level it hits the mark. It’s just not a story I could fall in love with.

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  • David Burns
  • 27-11-2020

I was gripped until the last chapter

It was an anticlimax ending, to a gripping yarn, don’t let that put you off this title, it is one of the best fiction books I’ve listened too.

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  • Mrs Ingrid J Belsnes
  • 26-11-2020

Brilliant!

This has everything. History, suspense, detective story, supernatural, religion with strong flawed characters and all beautifully narrated. Have bought it for 2 people for Christmas this year!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-11-2020

Disappointing, I’m afraid

I was really looking forward to this book after the authors first, which I found absolutely gripping. I had read multiple positive reviews and was excited for his next mystery. Unfortunately, for me, this book was a test of endurance. I found it plodding, the plot tedious and the characters didn’t grab me at all. I seem to be an anomaly when I read other reviews, including professional critics, so maybe it was just me. But this just didn’t have the magic or the finesse that ‘Seven Deaths...’ had.

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  • Lorna
  • 19-11-2020

I LIKED the ending!

Loved the atmosphere, and the claustrophobic horror of this; and I understand why people were irritated by the ending - it feels like musical comedy after Grand Guignol. But I really enjoyed it. I love the possibility of redemption.

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  • David
  • 18-11-2020

Disappointing

Massive plot holes, howling lack research on 17th century conditions, anachronistic characters all over the shop, and the silliest and most redundant 'locked room' murder mystery solution I can remember. Turton can do much, much better than this!

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  • Ask
  • 17-11-2020

go on give it a try!

I only read this because I have been watching BBC2 Between the covers. It is the type of book I would normally avoid but it turned out to be fun. It is Sherlock meets the Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes I could see it becoming a movie!

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  • TS
  • 16-11-2020

An average Sherlock

Reads like an early Sherlock. Narration is very good but the journey the author takes you on is a little confused and seems to drift. The ending is pulled from nowhere and doesn't tie well with the rest of the narrative.

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