Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: The Master of Seacliff
AUTHOR: Max Pierce
PUBLISHER: Lethe Press
LENGTH: 201 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 16, 2012
It is 1899, and young Andrew Wyndham has accepted a position tutoring the unruly son of wealthy industrialist Duncan Stewart in the hopes that the work will be brief yet provide an avenue to pay for his passage to France to study art. But Seacliff is a dark mansion enshrouded in near-eternal fog, dark mystery and suspicion—perhaps a reflection of the house’s brooding master. An imposing Blackbeard of a man, Duncan Stewart is both feared and admired by his business associates as well as the people he calls friends, for Stewart may have murdered his own father to gain control of his business. And his home, in which Andrew Wyndham must now reside, holds terrible secrets—secrets that could destroy everyone within its walls. For pure gothic escapism with a decidedly masculine point of view, The Master of Seacliff is an enthralling and satisfying read.
Oh man, SO MUCH happened in this book and every bit of it was fantastic! When I started reading, I knew I’d be dealing with a mystery taking place in a darker setting but what I wasn’t prepared for was how many twists and turns in the story there would be on the way towards the ending. At the beginning of the book you have Andrew who has taken the position as tutor to Duncan Stewart’s son only to learn of the murder that took place eight years ago AFTER he’s arrived. It seems that while the entire place is rife with speculation about what actually happened, no one actually has the entire picture or truth. The mystery surrounding the events of years past is only confounded by rumors, know it all neighbors, and the enigma that is Duncan Stewart himself.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: this book was fantastic! I spent the entire novel trying to figure out what really happened and by the end I’d had so many different theories that I was losing track of them all. As Andrew moved through the various tales and accusations while trying to find the truth out for himself, I was right there with him and every surprise to him was a surprise to me, too. I just loved this! I NEVER saw the truth coming and just when I thought the book had no more surprises in store, I was proved wrong yet again. This was an intricately put together historical mystery that kept me interested and engaged the entire way through and I will happily read it over and over again. Even if you aren’t a fan of historical fiction, I recommend this one for the mystery alone; it was totally worth it and the final reveal was one of the more satisfying I’ve had.