King Solomons Carpet

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9780140156911: King Solomons Carpet

Eccentric Jarvis lives in a crumbling schoolhouse overlooking the tube line, compiling his obsessive history of the Underground. A group of misfits are also drawn towards his strange house: Alice, who has run away from her husband and baby; Tom, the busker who rescues her; truant Jasper who finds his terrifying thrills on the tube; and enigmatic Axel, whose deadly secret casts a shadow over all their lives. Damaged, dispossessed, outcasts, they are brought together in violent and unforeseen ways by London's dark and dangerous underground system.

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About the Author:

'Simply put, Vine is one of the greatest writers ever' Scott Turow. ... Barbara Vine is the pen-name of Ruth Rendell. Viking have published all her previous novels, including A Dark Adapted Eye, which won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award. Ruth Rendell sits in the House of Lords as a Labour peer. She lives in Maida Vale, London.

From Kirkus Reviews:

King Solomon's magic carpet is the London Underground, running past the disused old school building that houses the most ill- assorted covey that Vine (Ruth Rendell) has brought together since A Fatal Inversion for this updating of Conrad's novel of terrorist conspiracy, The Secret Agent. Tom Murray is a promising musician reduced to illegal busking in Underground stations and a sad little love affair with his accompanist Alice, who left her husband and newborn baby, taking only her violin. Together with Jasper Darne, another dropout from his family who likes to ride on the tops of Underground carriages, and Jed Lowrie, a Safeguard volunteer who's left behind his own family to live for his hunting hawk Abelard, they live in a failed schoolhouse--whose bell tolled for the only time in memory when the headmaster hanged himself from its rope. The school's owned by the old man's grandson, Jarv Stringer, who now passes the time by writing a book on the Underground and taking in waifs and strays while his aunt Cecilia Darne, Jasper's grandmother, quietly declines around the corner under the variously watchful eyes of her relatives and her longtime companion Daphne Bleech-Palmer. The apple of discord in this extended, dysfunctional family is sinister Axel Jonas, who rides the trains with a dancing bear, actually a man named Ivan, until Jasper one day leads him to Jarvis's, where he takes up residence, seduces Alice, and begins to gather details about the operation of the Underground in preparation for a cataclysmic bombing. It's no shame for Vine/Rendell to fall short of her peerless model: the air of foreboding is as expertly invoked as ever, but the story, following one misfit after another but never bringing them very much closer together even at the inevitable tolling of the schoolhouse bell, lacks the momentum of Conrad, or of such earlier triumphs as A Judgment in Stone. Richly textured but slow-moving: a thriller for readers who think it's better to travel hopelessly than to arrive. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Barbara Vine
Published by Penguin Canada (2006)
ISBN 10: 0140156917 ISBN 13: 9780140156911
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Irish Booksellers
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