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by Anne Perry
Ballantine, April 2004
336 pages
ISBN: 0345440099

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

THE SHIFTING TIDE by Anne Perry is a continuation of the William Monk series and masterfully demonstrates the expertise of a truly gifted and memorable writer.

Every character in THE SHIFTING TIDE is thoroughly developed with their own personal voice and character qualities, both good and bad, that make each one believable and lovable in their own way. Every character has their own unique input into the development of this mystery.

The book begins when William Monk is hired to find the stolen ivory tusks from a ship that has recently docked on the Thames. The time period is the late 1800s. The reader has a sense of the smells, the unpleasant sites around the docks, the problems of the times, the weather, and the harshness of the area and the time period.

While Mr Monk agrees to accept this position, he does so with the condition that once the ivory is recovered, then the killing of one of the men upon the ship at the time of the theft will be investigated. Unfortunately for Monk, he is not to allow the River Police any knowledge of the crime until the ivory is discovered.

Things are not as simple as they seem as Monk investigates. There is more deception and unfortunately, a much larger threat to the entire London population. As Monk solves one problem, many more appear. From dealing with smuggling, to illegal trade, to prostitution, to disease, to murder, to the roughness of the time and the place, the pacing of this book is exhausting for Monk, but not for the reader.

The occurrence of certain literary characters such as Soames, probably from THE FORSYTHE SAGA, also makes this almost humorous at times. I do not know if this was coincidental but how many auburn-haired Soames exist?

For many authors, the more books they write using the same characters, the affection for the characters seem to dim. This is not true of THE SHIFTING TIDE. Anne Perry obviously has deep affection for her fictional characters. Although this is the next installment of a long-established series, this book can stand alone without anyone having read the other books. The references to previous events are updated as the reader needs this information. THE SHIFTING TIDE is an excellent and thrilling journey to another place and time.

Reviewed by Teri Davis, March 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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