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Ben Starling

I'm passionate about books, marine conservation and boxing. I love anything book, but especially contemporary, adventure, mystery, thriller and of course, a good love story.

Blood Rock

Blood Rock - James Jackson Most of the novels I start lie abandoned - such pointless felling of trees. So, in a time of poor scholarship, loose editing and meandering plot it's an inspiration to discover an author who can lift the colours, smells and heroics of an ancient time into the reader's imagination; who can do with sentences what others struggle to achieve with paragraphs.

Jackson's style is never heavy or show-offy as again and again I went back to savour a phrase, to marvel at how many ways Christian Hardy could dismember an Ottoman. Like all good authors, Jackson provides only the canvas, leaving the reader to fill in the detail. He achieves more: the characters repel and mesh convincingly, the love story/ies is/are sensitively and unsentimentally handled; the subplots compelling; the whole works as an insight into human nature in its rawest state.

But Jackson's allegorical trump card didn't reveal itself until the completed novel had replaced some drivel about Christ's bloodline and albino monks on my bookcase: as we stress and complain over our mundane problems, Blood Rock adds a sense of perspective. More importantly, it inspires. Even the trees say thank you.