The Thief of Time by John Boyne — book review

The Thief of Time by John Boyne. Black Swan ‘7.99

Reviewed by Selina Lock

It’s 1999 and Matthieu Zela is 256 years old. For some reason he doesn’t die, he just ages very slowly. After the murder of his Mother in 1758, Matthieu flees Paris with his younger brother Thomas and starts a journey that will take him to many places, and to meet many people, including Charlie Chaplin and the Pope.

Matthieu is not like the angst ridden immortals we are used to in genre fiction, in fact he takes his long life extremely calmly, and that might be the main problem I have with the book. It is Matthieu’s story, but I found it difficult to warm to a character that seems to take everything in his stride. Perhaps that’s what living that long would do to you? The only time he seems animated is during the telling of his early life on the run, when he meets Dominique, the love that will dominate his thoughts forever.

There are interesting things happening with that early storyline and the one set in 1999, but the rest is just interludes in the past. I found myself only reading those parts to see what famous person or event might pop up next, rather than from any desire to hear about his succession of lovers/wives, or the long line of Thomases that are descended from his half-brother.

Overall, well written but dull. Only for those that like a meander through history.

The Thief of Time by John Boyne. Black Swan ‘7.99

Reviewed by Selina Lock

It’s 1999 and Matthieu Zela is 256 years old. For some reason he doesn’t die, he just ages very slowly. After the murder of his Mother in 1758, Matthieu flees Paris with his younger brother Thomas and starts a journey that will take him to many places, and to meet many people, including Charlie Chaplin and the Pope.

Matthieu is not like the angst ridden immortals we are used to in genre fiction, in fact he takes his long life extremely calmly, and that might be the main problem I have with the book. It is Matthieu’s story, but I found it difficult to warm to a character that seems to take everything in his stride. Perhaps that’s what living that long would do to you? The only time he seems animated is during the telling of his early life on the run, when he meets Dominique, the love that will dominate his thoughts forever.

There are interesting things happening with that early storyline and the one set in 1999, but the rest is just interludes in the past. I found myself only reading those parts to see what famous person or event might pop up next, rather than from any desire to hear about his succession of lovers/wives, or the long line of Thomases that are descended from his half-brother.

Overall, well written but dull. Only for those that like a meander through history.