August 2011 / ISBN 978006206060747
Suspense / British
by Barbara Buhrer
Wilfred (Wolf, so called
because of his wild youth) Hadda, a lowly woodcutter, fell in love
with Imogen, the daughter of Sir Leon.
Fred, was head forester for Sir Leon. The two young people had a
very physical relationship, which ended abruptly when Wolf suggested
they marry. Imogene laughed at him, saying it had been great fun,
but surely he could see how impossible it would be for her to marry
someone who couldn't speak properly, had neither manners nor education,
and was likely to remain on a working man's wage all his life. Rejected
and furious, he left Cambria for parts unknown.
He returned five years
later a wealthy reinvented man. Having accomplished the three impossible
tasks, he claims his “princess.” They marry against
the objections of both his father and Sir Leon.
For 15 years he lived
the life of "happily ever after.” He has acquired a fortune
of several millions, a private jet, five residences, a lovely daughter
and a beautiful wife, and a knighthood. All comes crashing down
when he is accused of trafficking in pornography and of committing
financial fraud. He pleads his innocence. In a flight to resist
arrest, he is seriously injured. He loses one eye, a few fingers
and the use of one leg, He remains in a coma for five years, during
which time he loses his wife and daughter, his fortune and his good
When he recovers from
his coma, he is found guilty and placed in prison. He still proclaims
his innocence but refuses to speak. A psychiatrist, Dr Alva Ozible,
attempts to break his wall of silence. Eventually Wolf confesses
his guilt, but it is only a ruse that enables Alva to engineer his
release to a hermit's life in Cumbria. She is afraid that he will
seek revenge on the faithless friends who framed him. When his faithless
friends and enemies begin to die in peculiar circumstances, he only
says, “Everything they get will be less than they deserve.”
Alva struggles to intervene before he loses his way to peace.
In this stand-alone
from his Dalziel and Pascoe series, Reginald Hill has created a
masterpiece. This is a story of love and hate, trust and betrayal,
greed, loyalty and friendship, a gamut of emotions. The characters
are well developed, some strong, others with too-human frailties
Hill has deftly combined
the present and past events in a smooth flowing narrative. His style
of writing is always a pleasure to read, not only for the plot and
characters but also for enjoyment and education. His writing is
excellent and elegant. Hill has great command of the English language.
He may well be one of the most erudite writers of his time.