Fin Macleod is settled on island of Lewis. Working as security head of an estate, he is forced to confront his childhood friend Whistler for poaching. When Fin and Whistler discover a plane buried for 17 years the story takes a different turn. That plane belonged to their college friend Roddy, who was part of a now famous Celtic band. Roddy disappeared 17 years ago and discovery of his dead body opens old wounds. It transpires that many people including Whistler have something to hide.
I have talked so much about the Lewis Trilogy in my earlier reviews, so I will keep this review short. The Chessmen picks up Fin’s past from where The Blckhouse ended. It has all the hallmarks of Peter May’s earlier books. The past is told by Fin where he tells us about his college years after he left Marsaili. We are introduced to Whistler, Roddy, Mairead and other band members. The characters are fully drawn and I especially liked Whistler. Whistler is an intelligent man, fiercely independent and a real friend to Fin. The present events revolve around the mystery of dead body found in the plane. The discovery of plane sets into motion a chain of events that culminate into a tragedy.
Peter May once again breathes life into the remote islands of Hebrides with his pen. His rendering of these remote, inhabitable islands with their harsh, windy climate is succinct. The geography and atmosphere of the island shapes their residents with their desolate, bleak nature where church plays vital part in every aspect of life and all the religious bigotry that comes with it. This is highlighted with the parallel story of Fin’s another friend Donald Murray.
I have a few qualms about the plot. Whistler is too important a character to be left out in The Blackhouse. On the other hand, Marsaili and Fin’s son have no role to play in The Chessmen. I understand that this could have been in order to make all the books readable as standalone. This does not affect the plot of The Chessmen, but can be little irritating if you are reading the books in order. The end of Donald Murray though inevitable was somewhat difficult to take in. Peter may has left Fin with an unsure future so perhaps there is chance for more books in future. I hope they will be as good as the predecessors.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.
My other reviews of The Lewis Trilogy –
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