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House of the Hanged. by Mark Mills

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  566 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
France, 1935: At the poor man's end of the Riviera sits Le Rayol, a haven for artists, expatriates and refugees. Here, a world away from the rumblings of a continent heading towards war, Tom Nash has rebuilt his life after a turbulent career in the Secret Intelligence Service.
Hardcover, 423 pages
Published July 7th 2011 by HarperCollins (first published 2011)
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Patrice Hoffman
Won through a Goodreads Giveaway

House of the Hunted is the first novel I've read by Mark Mills. While sleeping one night Tom's past comes back to haunt him with a vengence. He's tried to put to rest the man he used to be and the constant memories of his one love. The man who's paid to kill him is proof that he can no longer hide as he's sure there will be more looking for him. What he's most concerned with is who in his circle has sold him out.

House of the Hunted takes place in the south of Fran
Nov 04, 2011 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“House of the Hanged” is a book I’ve been anticipating for a while now, and it didn’t disappointment me.

With the exception of a small chapter or two at the beginning of the book, the story takes place in the French Riviera during a summer in 1935. Tom Nash, a former member of the British Secret Intelligence Service, finds that his past has caught up with him and he’s faced with multiple dilemmas, such as which one of his close friends wants to see him dead.

I really enjoyed this book and like the
Jan 04, 2015 Lynne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Some reviewers apparently found this 'masterly' and I wish I could agree, but this is drivel. Previous Mills' novels have been well plotted (especially 'The Savage Garden') and engaging, but this is packed with completely unnecessary back story and lots of exposition. The characterisation is primarily weak and boasts mainly stereotypes. Protagonist Tom Nash (former spy, Oxford educated, blond, handsome, rich travel writer) wakes up one night to find a would-be assassin in his bedroom. Cue a revi ...more
Gordon Paisley
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for and honest review.
The house of the Hunted tells the story of Tom Nash, who is trying to figure out why someone tried to have him killed by a professional assassin. His past comes back as he tries to build a ‘normal’ life in the hectic days just before World War 2 in southern France.
Nash, a former spy in revolutionary Russia, has managed to ‘retire’ from the spy business and is living like a well-funded playboy, enjoying dinner parti
Feb 04, 2013 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read all Mark Mills' previous novels I was looking forward to 'The House of the Hanged'. Although it didn't disappoint me, it hasn't been my favourite of his. Tom Nash seems to have been a very naive and trusting soul for a Secret Services operative. Why did he never question what Dukes told him about Irina's fate, or the arrival of Yvegeny and Fanya in his little patch of France? He seemed to swing wildly from believing one source of information to the next, be it Walter or Leonard who w ...more
Jun 10, 2012 Marleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1919, Petrograd, Russia and young Tom Nash’s attempts to rescue Irina Bibikov, the woman he has come to love while working in Soviet Russia for the British Secret Service come to nothing when he’s told that she has been executed.
By 1935 Tom has resigned from the Secret Service and lives in Le Rayol on the French Riviera where he makes his living as a writer. While he enjoys his new life and is happy to be away from his former job, the past and especially Irina, are never far from his mind.
It is
Everyday eBook
Sep 10, 2012 Everyday eBook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Everyday by: Juliet Simon
It is 1935 on the glittering French Riviera and Tom Nash is living the high life, summering with a circle of international friends, sipping cocktails, sailing, flirting. All is grand -- until an assassin creeps into Nash's room one night, determined to kill him. Flash back to 1919 and we learn why. Nash has a secret past as a British intelligence operative in Russia, doing atrocious things in the name of the Crown. Now, someone in his social set is not to be trusted, and Nash finds that the self ...more
Alison Kennedy
Aug 14, 2011 Alison Kennedy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No-one
Having enjoyed The Information Officer I was looking forward to this novel but I must admit I was really disappointed. I even contemplated giving it a 2 star 'it was ok' but I think I may have enjoyed it more and genuinely liked it if I wasn't second guessing how things would turn out. I think the best strategy to enjoy this book is to just sit back and absorb it as it happens.

I was really put off at the start with a lengthy description of sailing, complete with sailing terminology that I wasn'
Apr 19, 2013 Mr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This espionage novel set in 1935 is satisfying in its every aspect--well-written, with bold characterizations, gritty action, plus a well-grounded setting in geo-politics and locale. Englishman Tom Nash is living an idyllic existence in “an imposing Art Deco villa verging on the ostentatious” (p38) in Côte d’Azur. He is comfortably supporting himself as a writer, surrounded by interesting friends and preoccupied with his twenty-year-old goddaughter. One balmy night, a total stranger creeps into ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Aug 07, 2011 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
To be fair, the Kafkaesque opening chapter, Petrograd 1919, holds promising menace - though "no one paid her a blind bit of notice" as early as page ten is a warning that meticulous avoidance of cliché was unlikely. Then, for the remainder of the book, the scene moves to France in July 1935 with inherent pitfalls, not all avoided (see below).

Tom Sharp, an Intelligence officer when first met in Russia, has opted out and is making a good living as a travel writer. He has a god-daughter, Lucy, one
I received this book as a promotional copy from the publisher through the Good Reads First Reads program.

I enjoyed this book; the somewhat nonlinear arrangement and Mills' talent for compelling storytelling worked well. I found it to be a generally entertaining read.

The characters ranged from complex, compelling, and well-developed to completely one dimensional. Luckily, the majority of them (including the protagonist) fall into the former category and it did not negatively impact the story by
While this wasn't my very favorite of Mark Mills's books, it was very enjoyable. As I surfed through other Goodreads comments, I came across many complaints of the story being too slow, which lowered its overall ratings. But the fact is that Mark Mills is not a pure action adventure writer, although there is both action and adventure in his stories; he is a creator of character, of personal growth, of mood, of texture and history, and that is why I will read one of his books anywhere, any time. ...more
Hannah Iannetta-Muirhead
I (appropriately, and not by accident) read this book on the long train ride from Scotland to the French Riviera. And while it was an enjoyable holiday read that adequately filled in all those hours that would otherwise have been spent trying to end conversations with Frenchmen who figured we now shared a special bond of friendship because they had chivalrously 'helped' me (a poor foreign damsel no doubt distressingly unfamiliar with the intricate workings of train facilities) open the toilet do ...more
Sep 06, 2016 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Not a bad book...just not a try good book:

Tom Nash, the reluctant hero of this genial historical thriller set in France in 1935, is haunted by his past, particularly an experience as an operative of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service in 1919 in post-revolutionary Russia. But Mills, in his fourth novel, is in no hurry to reveal what happened between Nash and his lover Irina Bibikov--indeed, the entire novel feels sluggishly paced. Now a writer, Nash is enjoying a well-heeled expatriate life on
Tony Mac
Mills' three previous novels have all been good-quality mystery thrillers set against very distinct periods and locations. He's on the move again with this one, set in the 1930s French Riviera and featuring an intruiging hero: a kind of inter-war James Bond trying to escape his murky espionage past.

The book begins and ends well, its disparate elements satisfactorily coming together, but it flags badly in an extended middle, its central Country House Mystery plot being unable to sustain 400+ page
Jun 12, 2012 Adrienne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got this recommendation off of CNN, actually.
I did enjoy this book. I thought the dialogue was pretty good, and the story itself was pretty well constructed... but... I actually guessed the ending and the "twist". It was kind of one of those thoughts where you think "OMG, that HAS to be it.. except.. no, that would be too obvious, wouldn't it? The author wouldn't go there, would he?" And then, you get to the end, and you're like.. "Wait.. I guessed it right?"
I mean, it was kind of a cross betwee
Sep 28, 2011 JackieB rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Initially I wasn't sure if I was going to like this. It started in Russia and then skipped 16 years, to France in 1935. It took me a little while to really get into the French part, but once it got going it was a real page turner. The main character, Tom, has retired to France after a career in the intelligence service. Due to his background, he is well informed about the political machinations in the lead up to WW2 and Mark Mills used that to create a tense background to his plot. The main plot ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I normally enjoy spy novels, but for some reason I had a very difficult time getting into this book. I kept picking it up and putting it down again. Too much exposition, or a hard-to-relate-to setting (rich folk in France between the wars), or something. I thought the pace would get better after the initial assassination attempt, but really it took until about chapter 11 before I was able to lose myself in the story. Also I found it a bit jarring that the story was mostly told from the perspecti ...more
Jun 29, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Mills' House of the Hunted is a spy novel/ mystery set in Southern France between WWI and WWII could be one of the best books you could read to pass lazy beach vacation time (or as I did during lazy back porch vacation time)- it takes place during the annual summer holiday of Tom Nash and his friends, all of whom have something else going on but it takes the entire novel to figure it all out. Mills is a great writer - the story is filled with twists and excitement from start to finish but t ...more
Patrick SG
Feb 10, 2013 Patrick SG rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reading this book about the same time as I was reading another one - Forgetfulness by Ward Just. Both are set in France and both tell the story of two single men who have an intelligence background that comes back to haunt them. So I was having a bit of trouble bouncing back and forth in keeping everything straight.

I had read a previous book of Mills', The Information Officer, which is set on Malta during the way. While this is in the pre-WWII setting, both have similarities that readers o
Jul 25, 2016 Tami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haven't received my copy yet, just received notice I had won. 10/23/13
Received and hope to start soon. I have 7 plus my current read in front. 11/12/13
Started around 12/20/13 and finished around the same time. I was sick and got behind on posting my reviews.

Tom Nash is living a quite life in France. Until one night someone breaks into his home to kill him. Tom was able to fight off the attacker. Now Tom knows someone is aware of his past life as a spy, and this isn't going to be the only attemp
I enjoyed this one a little more than I thought I would, based on the description (though I did like The Information Officer, so I shouldn't be that surprised). The prologue was eventful, and so I expected that the main story would start off slower, but that was definitely not the case. The action was well-paced, and made sense. It is set just prior to WWII, and it had some Alan Furst-like elements, but the plot actually revolved around things that had happened in the past. The twists were belie ...more
Bruce Silverstein
May 10, 2012 Bruce Silverstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An atmospheric espionage thriller set mainly in the South of France in 1935. Tom Nash, a former British intelligence agent and member of the upper crust, is trying to get his life back to normal after some harrowing adventures in Russia. It seems that his past does not want to let him go, and he must deal with the ghosts of his past life. Mills seems to be saying that a spy can never completely escape his past life no matter how hard he tries. While I was some what disappointed in the surprising ...more
Paula R. S.
Sep 02, 2011 Paula R. S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there is a book that makes you hunger for a bygone era (one which you possibly would not really want to live in) then this is it.

The characters are well thought out, the main character, Tom, has a past that comes back to ruin the new life he has set up after leaving the British secret service. As he survives first one and then another attempt on his life he rapidly realises that one of the circle of friends has betrayed him.

If anything my only problem with this book is that some of the charac
May 08, 2012 Randal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's what I'm starting to think about Mark Mills: the further away from a known setting he can get, the better. His books in a known setting absorb some common tropes and types from that setting and wind up feeling sort of familiar, while books set in a random historical time and place give rise to a wider variety of interesting characters. House of the Hunted is set in southern France between the wars--not a wholly unknown setting--but is different in that it sets its clock from the end of WW ...more
Lisa B.
May 01, 2012 Lisa B. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books
This is one of those books I really struggle with. The beginning was excellent. The ending was interesting, and certainly seems to leave an option for another book about Tom Nash. I struggled, because the middle was what I had a difficult time with. There were several times I found myself thinking – what does this part have to do with anything? I just felt there was too much time spent on character exchanges and scenarios that did not do much to build tension or suspense toward the ending.

That b
Jan 25, 2014 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It's 1919 and a young spy is on his first assignment in Russia where he falls in love. Things do not go the way he would like. Eventually he retires (if you can call retiring at 40 'retiring'.)

Then someone comes to calling -- late at night -- to kill him and he begins to wonder about various ghosts form his past.

For me this a 'period piece' - an way of seeing the social life of ex-pats living in france prior to WWII. I thought it was wonderfully done and the story was one that drew me in and kep
Jim Willse
Became a Mills fan with his first two books, The Information Officer and Amagansett, which were well researched and well plotted. I tried Savage Garden and gave up halfway through because it dragged, and now I find this one almost irritating. I’ll finish it but it’s more than a little C&O. All the secondary characters are stock — the wily French inspector, the bombastic but loyal friend, the enchanting feisty kid sister, the mysterious and sexy Soviet spy. The main protagonist is just too pe ...more
Nov 10, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the first book I have read by this author. The cover and title caught my eye at the library and then once I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read it. It was a change of pace from some of the books I have been currently reading. The completion of this book marks the 50th I have read this year (which is now a record with still 2 months to go! )
The first part of the book hooked me right away. It starts with an event in the past 1919 then jumps to the present day 1935. It's filled with spi
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Mark Mills is a British writer of screenplays and novels. His first screenplay was BAFTA-nominated short film One Night Stand starring Jemma Redgrave and James Purefoy in 1993; this won Mills a 'Best Screenplay' award at the Angers European First Film Festival in 1995.
Mills's first novel was Amagansett, later reissued under the title The Whaleboat House published in 2004; this won him the 'Best Cr
More about Mark Mills...

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“After a few minutes there was a click on the line and a voice said in Farsi,"Goh Benares roo gahbret."
This roughly translated as: "May shit rain down upon your grave."
"Goozidam too chesmet," Tom replied.
"I fart in your eye.”
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