Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Labyrinth Makers by Anthony Price

I should have taken the copy of "I Claudius" by Robert Graves that I was half-way through with me to Chiang Mai, but I forgot it. That was the main reason for my visit to Gecko Books in Chiang Mai on Saturday. Staying overnight up a mountain hotel it was either TV or reading. At the shop I picked up two paperbacks, The Labyrinth Makers by Anthony Price and a Strip Jack by Ian Rankin.

The Labyrinth Makers was Price's first book, published in 1970. I thought I had read all his books but I didn't remember the story from the back cover blurb. Either I never had read this or that is some of the memory I have lost. (There do seem to be whole periods covering years that have gone.)

I do rate Price up there with Graham Greene and John le Carré as one of the best English writers and story-tellers. This book didn't change my mind and I finished it yesterday in 3 days. If you like the Smiley stories from le Carré then I suspect you would like the David Audley ones from Price. The funny thing is that I have nothing in common with either of these characters so that can't be why I like reading their authors.

A break from the Graves book isn't such a bad thing as you do have to concentrate to follow the Augustan family relationships. I started the Rankin book with the knowledge that if I liked it as much as the Price book I would have enough reading to last me to the grave;-) Rankin is a prolific author and his Inspector Rebus series has done very well, both as novels and as TV. The much more modest background of this leading character should allow me to identify more closely with his rather than Price's character, yet it isn't working. Maybe it's a Scottish thing or just Rankin being a much younger writer than the others, and me of course. I won't give up on it though as it might grow on me.

No comments: