Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Golden Orphans, a literary thriller by Gary Raymond. I must offer my apologies as my ‘official’ blog tour date was yesterday, so I apologies to Gary, to Emma (who organised the tour), and to you, readers, for making you wait an additional twenty-four hours to hear about this fantastic book!
Within the dark heart of an abandoned city, on an island once torn by betrayal and war, lies a terrible secret…
Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…
The Golden Orphans offers a new twist on the literary thriller.
At 155 pages, The Golden Orphans is a short novel, it’s dark, it’s fast-paced, it’s thrilling, it has this almost mystical quality to it that really lured me in! This novel opens with a funeral, and that was absolutely the right choice for this shorter novel, because it means the plot begins right away, there’s no wasted scene-setting. The scene-setting was achieved as the story was told – this novel is set in Cyprus, and Raymond used this location to create an atmospheric read, as the plot moves through Paralimni, Ayia Napa and Famagusta, this novel is clouded in dark, moody tones.
The Golden Orphans creates this sense of unease within the reader, the writing is stunning, and this first-person narration style had me hooked. It’s only when I began writing this review that I realised the main protagonist was never named, and this explains why I felt such a sense of mysteriousness while reading this novel. All we know is that he is a British artist. This mysteriousness is further strengthened by the Russian benefactor, Prostakov, who believes having his dream painted will unlock his past! Our unnamed narrator meets many interesting characters from an array of backgrounds, and as he details his time in this country, you cannot help but be completely drawn in to this mystery.
One of the things I really loved about this novel was the revelation of the ‘Golden Orphans’ – who they are and how they came to be. This, again, added to the mysteriousness of this novel, creating a short, but impactful read! As a literary thriller, The Golden Orphans ticks all the boxes. I did predict the ending, so it was somewhat anti-climactic, however I like the way it was done, I’m a fan of Raymond’s writing style so the delivery of the ‘reveal’ was very good.
One of the fantastic things about blogging is the opportunity to read books you might not have otherwise known about, and I just know The Golden Orphans will be a book I reread in the future because I really enjoyed it. While it wasn’t perfect, it was engaging, thrilling, mysterious and incredibly atmospheric, and if you’re a fan of dark, yet beautiful writing, you may just want to give this novel a read!
*My thanks to Gary Raymond for providing me a copy of this book & Emma (Damppebbles Blog Tours) for inviting me to participate in the blog tour*
Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’, The Review Show, and is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review. He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator.
Publishing Information: Published by Parthian Books on 30th June 2018
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