The Chessmen (Lewis Trilogy 3) by Peter May

The ChessmenShadows of the past…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

This third part of Peter May’s Lewis trilogy is stunningly good. As a long-standing enthusiast for May’s work, I believe these three books are by far his best work, and this last one may even be the best of the three.

May’s descriptive prose and sense of place are, as always, wonderful. The bleakness and yet beauty of this harsh weather-beaten landscape, the way of life and traditions of the islanders, the still strong grip of the ultra-conservative Church – all of these are woven seamlessly through the story. And the story once again is focused on shadows of the past coming back to haunt the present.

Lewis Chessmen
(Source:Wikipedia)
Roddy Mackenzie, an old friend of Fin’s, has been presumed dead since his plane went missing 17 years ago but his body was never recovered. Until now, that is…and with the discovery, old memories are dragged up, old friendships and enmities re-evaluated and old crimes lead to new ones. From the start, the landscape and weather of Lewis play a vital role in a story that feels as if it couldn’t be set anywhere else. The story then cuts from past to present as Fin remembers his school and student days when he worked as a roadie for Roddy’s band. Despite the different timelines and the fact that the book changes from first to third person and back, the story never loses momentum on its way to a climax that is as shocking as it is unexpected.

For anyone who is new to the series, I would urge you to read them in order starting with The Blackhouse, then The Lewis Man, since there are aspects of this book that could give away the plots of the previous ones. My only disappointment is that this is billed as the last of the Lewis books. I hope Peter May can be convinced to reconsider – I believe there’s more mileage in these characters and this setting yet. But if not, then this is a thrilling ending to what has been a truly great series – highly recommended.

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