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The Hundred and Ninety Nine Steps & The Courage Consort
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The Hundred and Ninety Nine Steps & The Courage Consort

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  75 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Sian, troubled by dark dreams and seeking distraction, joins an archaeological dig at Whitby Abbey. The abbey's one hundred and ninety-nine steps link the twenty-first century with the ruins of the past and Sian is swept into a mystery involving a long-hidden murder, a fragile manuscript in a bottle and a cast of most peculiar characters. Equal parts historical thriller, r ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Canongate Books Ltd
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Michelle Kilburn
Nov 17, 2012 Michelle Kilburn rated it liked it


I enjoyed the first half of the story, Faber quickly draws you in with his characters and their histories, however, by the time the story came to an end he hadn't satisfied my curiosity (the curiosity that he himself created). It was as though he ran out of time and had to end the story quickly/abruptly. As a short story though it was an enjoyable, if not a little frustrating, read.
Mezzogal
Mar 18, 2017 Mezzogal rated it did not like it
For something that touts itself a "historical thriller, romance and ghost story", it is incredibly boring. There is no mystery, no suspense, no romance. Lots of whining, unexplained nightmares, and general depression of a middle-aged woman. The only thing that kept me going was the dog.
As for The Courage Consort... it's more musings of a depressed middle-aged woman who happens to sing in an ensemble. I almost gave up a few pages in. Nothing happens. Everything is unresolved.
Of course, all this i
...more
Jo
Mar 10, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it
Two novellas in one. The first is the titular tale which features Sian, a thirty something conservator working on an archaeological dig in Whitby. She meets Mack, a doctor from London who shows her a historical artefact left him by his father. Together they untangle the mystery behind it whilst dealing with their feelings for each other. I loved this, especially the history side and Sian's passion for the subject. The second story, The Courage Consort, deals with a group of vocal performers hole ...more
Sx
Jun 12, 2012 Sx rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Short novels usually don't leave an impression on me- they are a hit or miss, so I was pleasantly surprised when reading The Hundred and Ninety Nine Steps. What was a simple archeological dig turned out to be something a lot more than that for our heroine Sian. At the end of the novella, a lot of pieces of the puzzle came together to form a whole picture. That is what I love, a novella that gets you thinking.

On the other hand, The Courage Consort was a sure miss. I tried to like it, I really di
...more
Emily Randall
Sep 11, 2011 Emily Randall rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this read!! The first story drew me in quickly and became a total page turner, it was a short read but the characters involved had enough depth and I found it to be really enjoyable. Faber gradually revealed more and more about the main character and I felt the approach worked out really well.

The Courage Consort, this one took a little longer to get into yet once I got there I couldn't put the book down and had to keep going until I ran out of pages to read!!! The reason I got s
...more
Len Northfield
Apr 09, 2015 Len Northfield rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
I read the book quickly and enjoyed it. As in other works of his I've read, Faber's writing is clean and readable. I felt his characterisation was a little flat and, occasionally, a bit clichéed and, altogether, the stories felt ever so slightly forced and self conscious.

I read it while on vacation in Whitby, so I could visit the various places mentioned in the main novella; I'm sure this added to my enjoyment.

A fun read
Kaylol
Mar 03, 2012 Kaylol rated it did not like it
I read the hundred and ninety-nine steps in a couple of hours. When I read it I asked myself "Did I just spend this time reading about nothing?". Basically nothing happens, it's like a tale that grandmas would tell - but much less captivating. It's too boring for me, thank god it was so short.
I started reading The courage Consort but it seemed even less interesting than the previous and I gave up.
Amy Jane
Sep 16, 2013 Amy Jane rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Like the other books I've read by Faber, these two short stories were strange, compelling and addictive. I love that you can never predict what's coming with his books, as so few books lead you into the unexpected. I do find it weird that in the three novels by him that I have read that his ability to write from a woman's point of view is so accurate in terms of thought processes and emotions. I like being taken somewhere new and unpredictable.
WR
Mar 26, 2011 WR rated it liked it
I found the ending a little abrupt - at the end, I literally went "Huh, that's it??". So there was a sense of incompleteness. Think the story tried to be a bit of everything - romance, historical novel, mystery, but never really played out the full potential of any of the components.
(Didn't read the accompanying novella "The Courage Consort")
Katy
Sep 03, 2015 Katy rated it it was amazing
Both such different stories, but equal in their sophistication and power to draw you in, alow you to know the characters, sympathise with them, like them or loathe them, and ultimately feel less alone in the world.
Katrina Tan
Oct 04, 2011 Katrina Tan rated it it was amazing
So many secrets...
Alesa
May 10, 2011 Alesa rated it it was ok
This was a fun little romp, I suppose, but lacked substance.
Glad I got it from the library instead of buying it. :)
Calenmarwen
Apr 12, 2015 Calenmarwen rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Review of the first short story in this book has been left separately on the Goodreads page for the Hundred & Ninety-Nine Steps.

Review of the Courage Consort to follow ...
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16272
Michel Faber (born 13 April 1960) is a Dutch writer of English-language fiction.

Faber was born in The Hague, The Netherlands. He and his parents emigrated to Australia in 1967. He attended primary and secondary school in the Melbourne suburbs of Boronia and Bayswater, then attended the University Of Melbourne, studying Dutch, Philosophy, Rhetoric, English Language (a course involving translation a
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More about Michel Faber...

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