The hardback edition of The Blood Covenant appeared in the UK almost a month weeks ago, and the reviews are arriving.
I’ve been lucky enough to have some outstanding reviews of my books in the past, and I’m grateful for every word written about what I do. But those seem to pale in comparison to the opinions on this one, to the point that it’s hard to believe they’re writing about my work (not about me; that’s entirely different).
The Fully Booked blog has been a supporter of my novels, but this…well, read for yourself: “There is, of course, a noble tradition of writers who exposed social injustice nearer to their own times – Charles Dickens, Charles Kingsley, Robert Tressell and John Steinbeck, to name but a few, but we shouldn’t dismiss Nickson’s anger because of the distance between his books and the events he describes. As he walks the streets of modern Leeds, he clearly feels every pang of hunger, every indignity, every broken bone and every hopeless dawn experienced by the people whose blood and sweat made the city what it is today. That he can express this while also writing a bloody good crime novel is the reason why he is, in my opinion, one of our finest contemporary writers.”
How can I live up to that? I don’t know; all I can do is try. Read the whole review here.
On: Yorkshire isn’t quite as effusive, but even so… “Nickson has a rare talent for historical reproduction, and the filth and horror of the time he writes about is conveyed loud and clear… Nickson is a fine writer”
Yorkshire Bylines has good, practical praise: “The Blood Covenant would be a good book to take on a train or plane ride; the plot is easy to follow, and the story is fast-paced. I read it from cover to cover in one three-hour sitting. Those who like fast-moving action adventure with a hint of mystery and some graphic descriptions of violence will enjoy this book.”
Read the entire review.
The ebook will appear everywhere at the beginning of February, and publication of the hardback in the rest of the world is at the beginning of March. But two of the US trade magazines, aimed at librarians and bookshops, have ready put out their reviews.
Kirkus Reviews says it’s a “gritty tale of perseverance, cruelty, rage, and redemption not for the faint of heart.”
That’s quite true, and here is the rest of what they said.
Publishers Weekly has given it a starred review (it’s here). That in itself can make a writer’s heart jump with joy. But on top of that, what they have to say!
“Nickson’s stellar fourth mystery featuring thief-taker Simon Westlow [sic]… Nickson does a superb job using the grim living and working conditions for the city’s poor as a backdrop for a memorable and affecting plot. James Ellroy fans will be enthralled.”
Honestly, I’m still buzzing from that (I’m trying to figure out the Ellroy comparison), and everything that all the reviewers have written. I’m grateful to them all for wanting to read and write about it. People on Goodreads have been incredibly generous with their praise, too (“Nickson is a master when it comes to historical crime fiction, and together with his phenomenal research, he continually provides a cracking read!”… “Chris Nickson has outdone himself in The Blood Covenant. There’s truly a different tone in this one.”)
And then there’s this from the Morning Star. On the right side of history…
I have no idea how I can ever top these reviews. I shall try.
Meanwhile, I hope they’ll make you read the book. Buy it, borrow it from the library – if they don’t have it, ask them to get a copy; that will let others read it, too.
Thank you all. Truly.