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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  493 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Daniel Ford has thirty-six days to live. Accused of the horrific murder of his best friend Nathan twelve years before, he has exhausted all appeals and now faces the long walk to the electric chair. All he can do is make peace with his God. Father John Rousseau is the man to whom the last month of Daniel's life has been entrusted. All the two men have left to do is rake ov...more
Paperback, 391 pages
Published by Orion (first published July 1st 2003)
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Jennifer (JC-S)
Aug 24, 2011 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer (JC-S) by:
Shelves: librarybooks
‘I have faith in the fact that I am going to die.’

It’s 1982 and Daniel Ford is thirty-six years old. Twelve years ago, Daniel was convicted of the murder of his best friend, Nathan Verney. In thirty-six days, he will walk to the electric chair and pay with his life.

‘I ask myself what life is, what does it mean? Perhaps nothing more than a story, and each story different and rare and pronounced with its own voice.’

Father John Rousseau has been assigned to talk with Daniel during this last perio...more
There is little to say about this book (as I'm absolutely heartbroken and can barely see to type, if I'm honest) except to say it's just amazing, as are all R J Ellory books.

Briefly, we have the (just lovely) Daniel Ford who we know is on Death Row for the murder of his life long friend, Nathan Verney. Daniel and Nathan were inseparable throughout their lives and were like brothers.

Daniel is white and Nathan was black and in 1960's America it was a turbulent time for the long suffering black pe...more
For this kind of epic flasback story with so much emotions to it and with backdrop of important US history of 50s,60s etc the writing was not good enough for me to believe the personal story of the characters,the characters themselves.
John Gall
Superb book, good storyline, beautifully written. I would strongly recommend this book, and very much look forward to reading more by this author who came strongly recommended.
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
Candlemoth is truly a phenomenal book that was gripping from start to end. Apart from it being quite predictable, I can't really fault it. The characters were well formed and the plot was interesting. I thought that the writing flowed smoothly and the transition from present day to past memories worked extremely well. I adored the symbolism of the candlemoth. This book works so well at delving deep into so many issues and could perhaps even be considered a bit of a history lesson (though certain...more
Het verhaal van vriendschap en verraad is prachtig geschreven. De (ongelofelijke) geschiedenis vanaf de jaren 60 tot en met de jaren 80 is goed verweven in het plot betreffende de moord op Nathan Verney. De emoties voel je.
Ik vind het niet echt een thriller. Je bent benieuwd hoe het afloopt, maar spannend: nee.
De continue verwijzingen naar dat er iets staat te gebeuren, gaan op een gegeven moment irriteren.

Priester blijkt uiteindelijk undercover agent. Vader van vriendin - politicus - wil...more
Trev Twinem
R J Ellory's books are about human nature and human emotion exposed....You cannot help but be touched and greatly affected by his writing long after the book is finished. What I find so powerful in this and other books is is depiction of childhood and how our childhood experiences stay and affect us all our lives. Candlemoth is about being on death row and the realization and inevitably of our own mortality, this is a great starting point to evaluate and make sense of our lives. Candlemoth is a...more
This is a real "wow" book. It has shades of John Irving about it, particularly A Prayer For Owen Meany. Like Owen Meany, it's set during the Vietnam War, has the relationship between two young boys at its centre and you know one of the boys will die from the outset. It could have been sentimental, overdone and downbeat but the author handles all these issues sensitively in beautiful prose

Having read the header description posted from Amazon I thought I was in for a mediocre read but the review...more
This is the book that got me started with Roger Ellory.

Glad I found it in the 'interestsing reads' section of my local library. I have since bought it for myself, and re-read it.

Other reviews have captured the story and resolution better than I, but for me I liked this in the way that I liked Stewart O'Nan's 'The Good Wife' - the mapping of the characters' psyches that leads them (in both books) into a resignation that one's life is mapped out and it's too hard for us to climb out of the pit and...more
Great story, wonderfully crafted.

If you read the first chapter of Candlemoth and think it's a little strange and/or a certain "type" of book and/or not for you... read on. It develops into something you might not expect from the first chapter - a marvelous epic tale of coming of age in tumultuous times under difficult circumstances, with tragedy, a bit of 60's history, and those little details of humanity included that make this book truly resonate beyond its plot points.

While I'm not a big fan...more
review coming soon~
Praveen Palakkazhi
R.J Ellory has a curiously distinct voice which soaks the reader in a sense of melancholy and nostalgia, and which also elevates him above standard genre fare. His books can come under the category of Crime fiction, but there is a definite literary quality to his writing which can put him under the Literary fiction variety too. This is the second book of his I am reading (though it is his first published one) after the highly rated 'A Quiet Belief in Angels' and there is definitely a few similar...more
This beautifully conceived book reads like Steinbeck in its compassion and humanity. Even with a slightly clumsy, but satisfying ending, the enigmatic prose and engaging plot deserve no less than 4 stars. The characters are extremely sympathetic, portraying the best of humanity in a world that is on the verge of imploding. America is a major character in this book and you will feel just as much ambiguity towards her as to the human ones.

Set in the 1960's and 1970's for the most part, this is th...more
There's not much to say about the plot that isn't written in the summary, really. Daniel Ford has been charged with the murder of his best (black) friend, Nathan Verney, and is rapidly approaching his final day on Earth. While waiting, he tells the story from the beginning to Father John Rousseau, who seems eager to hear all Daniel has to say on the matter.

This is my third Ellory book read so far, having begun (like many others) with A Quiet Belief In Angels, and it's clear that he has a talent...more
Sadly, this book suffered (greatly) from what I'll call "We Didn't Start the Fire" syndrome: the plot was unfortunately interrupted by long passages of lists about events from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Fellow readers, I skipped those parts and tried to find the next bit of plot.

The plot was actually interesting, tracing the friendship - dare I say Best Friends Forevership - of Nathan and Danny. They meet at age six, when Nathan cons Danny into sharing his baked ham sandwich and solidifies in their t...more
Rita K
Even though I found Daniel's personality a bit lacking and his reactions to events a bit unbelievable, the story drew me in. It was a book I read almost straight through once I started it. Danny's life was greatly influenced by his friendship with a young black boy, Nathan. This story reminded me of Tom Franklin's novel "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter." Despite some of its problems it was an engrossing read. I may well read it again.
Judith Yeabsley
Loved this book. Daniel Ford (WASP) is on death row with 30 days to live accused of butchering his best friend Nathan (African Am)which from the start you know he didn't do. However, he feels so guilty about something he has not really fought the sentence. Now he's about to die he relives his life and spews his thoughts to a Priest. One of the few books I have read recently with real characters who are well rounded and have flaws and behave rashly and illogically and very NORMALLY. As it gets ne...more
I loved this story. Ellory's writing is wonderful prose. His descriptions take you right inside the characters. The political and social backdrop of the 60's and 70's highlights those tumultuous times and particularly living in the south during those years. The ending is full of surprises and insights. I highly recommend this beautifully written piece of totally believable fiction.
Kate Millin
A good story set in America from the 1950's to the 1970's when the world was changing, especially in the way in which black people were viewed and lived. It is about a white boy Daniel and a black boy Nathan who meet as young children and become life long friends. It is told in a series of flashbacks while Daniel is waiting to be executed for the death of Nathan. In many ways it is a bitter sweet novel - but it made me rally grateful to be living in these times (even though it still is not perfe...more
This sounded to me like it would be a Grisham-esque legal thriller, but it was really an intriguing story and beautifully written, more like a 'proper novel' (if you'll excuse my saying). The ending was a bit predictable, but there were still several unexpected twists and it was quite an enjoyable read.

Slightly off topic, but I am realizing that I frequently say in my reviews a book is "enjoyable", which sounds rather trite, but to me it's really the bottom line. If I enjoy reading a book, even...more
Kieran Delaney
This is an incredible story, bought to life by Ellory's beautiful prose - at times blunt, but always truthful & emotional, Candlemoth is a love story between would be brothers from different worlds & the story of desperation at life's end.
Michelle Evans
I liked this book. A great mix of history and placement mixed with a great storyline. It was like an interesting lesson which took you through the decades and made you experience life as it was in those times and places.
A great journey with this book. Well written and heartfelt to the end.
La bellezza di questo libro sta nel fatto che racconta un'epoca: gli Stati Uniti post JFK, con tutte le difficoltà annesse alla guerra in Vietnam, al Watergate di Nixon, la morte di Robert Kennedy e il reinserimento della pena di morte. La storia principale del libro mi è sembrata più un contorno, una scusa per giustificare il racconto storico (o forse è più un problema mio, non essendo riuscita ad affezionarmi al protagonista, incapace di prendere una sola decisione in autonomia per t...more
I wish I could give this book extra stars, it is so beautifully written and you become so engrossed in the story that sometimes you forget he is sitting on death row and the outcome is not good until your dragged back to that dark place with him and his priest and your heart cracks another little piece, definitely a book I will look forward to coming back and reading again in a few years just to revisit the wonderful characters and some of the eloquent language.
This book held my interest from beginning to end. I didn't know what to expect from it when I started but it satisfied me all the way through. The story of a beautiful friendship between a white and black boy in South Carolina; dodging the draft at the time of the Vietnam War; a murder; a conviction; and the death penalty. All of this told by the man sitting on death row to a Catholic priest as he lives his final days. R. J. Ellory is a masterful storyteller.
The only reason I didn't give this book 4 stars, is because I felt it should have ended 70 pages sooner. Don't get me wrong, the book is beautifully written and the story itself is great. I just lost interest towards the end. I will definitely read more Ellory books!
Mark Clough
Dense and sombre stuff from RJ Ellory. Another work of his in which key moments in recent US history are pegged in to the lives of "ordinary" people, in this case two friends, one of whom ends up on death row for the murder of the other. As I said, sombre stuff, but absolutely gripping. The only other one of his books I have read is A Quiet Vendetta which is similarly powerful. Good stuff.
Every once in a while you pick up a book that somehow makes you feel like you’ve come home. You know, one that wraps itself around you like a patchwork quilt and you want nothing more than to keep reading? Candlemoth is one of those books. It’s a bit surprising really, given the subject matter, for Daniel Ford – the narrator – is on Death Row and is days away from his execution.
John Kues
A slow read, but ultimately satisfying. R.J. Ellory writing is captivating, at times very special. It is a bit frustrating to me to have characters that leave words unsaid that would seem to be so natural to speak between friends. I suppose it is part of the plot development but... it seems to occur frequently not only with this author but others.
Joy Guenther
What a great book! The characters are interesting and believable with a well developed and engaging plot. An all-too-true story about how our intentional and unintentional decisions in life take us on a path we continue to follow even when a detour is advisable. I highly recommend this one and will seek out other of Ellory's works.
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Roger began his first novel on November 4th, 1987 and did not stop, except for three days when he was going through a divorce from his first wife, until July of 1993. During this time he completed twenty-two novels, most of them in longhand, and accumulated several hundred polite and complimentary rejection letters from many different and varied publishers.

He stopped writing out of sheer frustrat...more
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“Truth is truth, you are who you are, and though your viewpoint might change, and though you might possess a different perspective about something, your heart and what you believe and who you are inside is only ever you...and you have to follow your heart, you have to believe what you're doing is right, and no matter what anyone might say or think or do you have to trust yourself to make the right decision.” 10 likes
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