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3.22  ·  Rating details ·  217 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Something has gone wrong with history in this gripping novel about a lie planted among the greatest works of English fiction.

Flamboyant, charismatic Matthew Cannonbridge was touched by genius, the most influential creative mind of the 19th century, a prolific novelist, accomplished playwright, the poet of his generation. The only problem is, he should never have existed an
Paperback, 267 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by Solaris (first published February 1st 2015)
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Average rating 3.22  · 
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
One day Toby Judd realize that something is wrong with history; Matthew Cannonbridge, the novelist should never have existed. Now he must find out the truth about Matthew Cannonbridge whilst being chased throughout the country.

After a bit of a slow start, the story in this book really took off. The mystery of whom or what Matthew Cannonbridge was really made this book exciting to read and made this book into a real page turner and the ending were interesting and peculiar (I think I have it figur
K.J. Charles
Weird. The premise is that there's a famous writer, Matthew Cannonbridge, who interacted with Byron, Poe, Dickens, the Brontes etc and who is Britain's favourite writer, but a downtrodden university lecturer suddenly decides that he can't possibly have existed, and then becomes the target of a large scale high tech conspiracy. It is EXTREMELY meta, particularly as the plot develops, and ends with a twist so meta-ly meta it's going fractal. Your reaction to this will doubtless depend on your tole ...more
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
If you're a fan of classic literature and history, you may enjoy parts of this book. The book initially felt eerie and mysterious. At some point I felt like I just wanted to get on with the ending already. There were so many authors of classic literature crammed throughout the pages, it could have done with a few less. I did learn a lot about these authors because I kept looking up their history whenever one popped up.

Personally, I wasn't satisfied with the conclusion of the book. I came away fe
Camly Nguyen
DNF 45%
Nop. Nop. Nop. Nop. Nop.

This book jumps back and forth in time between the stories of Matthew Cannonbridge and Toby Judd.

Matthew is a prolific novelist and a great poet. He has touched the lives of many authors and famous people back in his time. Cannonbridge's extraordinary life and career spanned a century, earning him a richly-deserved place in the English canon.

As bibliophiles everywhere prepare to toast the bicentenary of the publication of Cannonbridge's most celebrated works, Toby
In some ways, I think the ending of this book spoiled the build-up. Unlike a lot of other readers, I found the build-up quite interesting, especially the mounting uncanniness. There were only a few authors I didn’t know mentioned in the story, though it took me a few moments to identify some of them when they appeared as characters. The whole conspiracy, the sense of mystery — it worked well for me, and I found the figure of Cannonbridge interesting, especially in his earlier appearances.

I was l
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of the literary giants in history then this book will likely appeal to you, especially if you like novels that are a bit outside the normal range.

This book is a little confusing when you first begin it. There is a lot of jumping around between time periods and an abundance of characters to meet right away, but as it progressed and things began to make more sense, I found that I quite enjoyed it.

The premise for this book is unique and I thought the author did a good job of foll
Apr 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Nope. Sorry. Just could not like this one.

By all accounts, it should've been right up my alley. There's a lot about the concept that reminds me of Tim Powers' Anubis Gates and, as an English major in college, I'm always interested in the combination of academia, mystic conspiracies and that fateful night at the Villa Diodati. But this just bored the everloving crap out of me.

First: a stylistic issue. The writing style of the book actively kept me from enjoying it. Writing a book in the present
I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really didn't like this book, which makes me feel bad, because I really wanted to. That, and I hate writing negative reviews. I am NOT happy about this, people. But that may be the subject of another post. Someday. Maybe. For now, I'll just go on being unhappy about this situation.

So, anyways, back to the book. I went in thinking it would be a mystery/thriller about a literary hoax. Here I was, e
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, 2015
Cannonbridge has the atmosphere of a modern action-mystery combined with Lovecraft. I thought this was the book's greatest strength - it has this really ominous, impending-doom atmosphere that absolutely made me think of Lovecraft. Many of the characters we meet - particularly in the historical context - become aware of a horrible truth that the reader is not let in on until the climax of the story. Instead, the reader - or at least *I* had a sense that something horrific was right around the co ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Single Sentence Summary: Everything is an allegory for corporations taking over the world.

Characterization: 10/10 S
Characters are wonderfully thought out, and each person serves a very distinct purpose in the story. Even the radical shift between Cannonbridge’s personality is very well done, as are the the snapshots of characters like Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley. It takes a great author to capture an entire character’s personality in just a few pages.

Favorite Character: Cannonbridge. Lik
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was one amazing ride of a book. The plot is quite original and glides seamlessly between the present and the 19th century. Both eras are convincing and both plot strands compelling--I could have read a whole novel about Maria and Cannonbridge. My one real criticism of the novel was neatly twisted around to form part of the very satisfying ending. This guy is good. Very much for fans of Victorian literature, Jasper Fforde--although this is much darker--really just highly recommended. Thanks ...more
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Review at Draumr Kopa Blog:

‘Cannonbridge’ is one of those few books that demand a lot of thinking and are still very compelling. It tells the tale about Dr. Toby Judd, a man whose life crashes and burns around him at the very beginning of the book. In his state of mental instability he starts obsessing about Matthew Cannonbridge, one of the most famous authors in English history. Dr. Judd has a feeling that something isn’t right about his work. Something
The Bookend Family
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Film-maker David Lynch once said that he spent a great deal of time sitting in a chair and staring off into the middle distance. He also said that while it looked like he was doing nothing, that those were the times he was going after what he called “the really big fish.”

Which brings me to Cannonbridge, by Jonathan Barnes. This novel seems like it is going to be another literary thriller, with academics chasing leads from one scenic or historic destination to another, searching for a lost manusc
Johan Haneveld
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Close to 3,5 stars, but as more reviewers on here have noted, it all falls apart a bit at the end. Even though the revelations are well thought out, they don't have real impact. The book wants to be smarter, more intelligent, than it really is. Also, the conclusion does not fulfill the promise inherent in the start of the book, as the careening tour through the 19th century literary landscape (visiting some other well known unsavory figures of almost legendary status on the way) turns out to be ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I like time travel/alternate reality books, and the cover of this one looked gorgeous, so I was eager to get started on it. So I read a vignette set during the stormy night when "Frankenstein" was created and Cannonbridge makes his first appearance. Then a scene with a frustrated academic who makes Cannonbridge his area of specialty. Then a scene with Cannonbridge and Polidori. Then another scene of our academic becom
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
One of the things that drives people nuts about Charles Dickens is the sheer number of coincidences in his novels. Inheritances come out of nowhere. Relatives meet by chance in unlikely places. Etc. etc. But because he’s Dickens, ol’ Charles can get away with a lot. I thought of this a lot in Jonathan Barnes’ Cannonbridge. There are a lot of stunning (as in, they will stun you as you read this book) coincidences in Cannonbridge. Barnes is no Dickens, however. But by the end of the book, Barnes r ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my first time reading Mr. Barnes. I found the story quite interesting and the plot flushed out quite well. I enjoyed the book. The one drawback I had to the book is its slow pace. It took me a long time to get into the story and I had to convince myself more than once to pick it back up again to finish. I liked the switching of the time periods between the two characters but I think the author could have done more to use the tool to make the story faster and more engaging. I would recomm ...more
Nicki Markus
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Cannonbridge is an enjoyable romp through 19th century literature. The story was compelling, with plenty of turns along the way, and the characters were memorable and well-written. The twist at the end caught me by surprise and I found myself putting the book down with a smile on my face. Well worth a read - great for a lazy afternoon.

I received this book as a free e-book ARC via NetGalley.
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book has three principles:

1. Capitalism is evil
2. Global capitalism is REALLY evil (in the most literal "IA IA WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION FHTAGN" way you can imagine.)
3. However, we can- possibly- defeat global Cthulhu capitalism with the power of LITERATURE.

This book panders to my interests so much, I can't actually tell you whether it's good or bad. I was just delighted.
Stuart Gordon
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Quite a good read. Novel in many senses. Unique narrative, tying together seeming disparate themes. Ideas I've not seen previously attempted. The denouement is a bit flat, but I'm not sure what I'd have done differently. Not great literature, but I highly recommend it.

Elizabeth Eames
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very clever book. I found it slow to start but I soon became caught up in the mystery of it. The premise is appealing, the end has a great twist, the humour I subtle and enjoyable. A great read!
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am so clearly the intended demographic for this book it's hard to review, but I'm going with four stars because it's well-written and conveys a growing feeling of dread for almost the entire story, which I rarely see. The endings of novels inevitably truncate that feeling, which for me requires a sense of mystery, but at least the ending here fits the rest of the story and the various pieces slot together nicely. Several times I was certain I knew where it was heading but was wrong, and that's ...more
Debra Lilly
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-challenge
Jonathan Barnes is one of the weird, somewhat uncategorizable authors on my "read everything" list. Cannonbridge has been on my Kindle for quite some time, and I finally had an opportunity to read it ... which ended in a marathon, 52% of the book spree this morning. Literary fiction, but ... something darker and not quite of this world.

Matthew Cannonbridge is the best known, best loved of British authors. Or is he? Dr. Toby Judd has a strange sense that something odd is going on. And then it sw
Ellie Richards
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Garrett Nicolai
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Through a good portion of the book, I was largely unsatisfied with the execution. The idea was great, but the story itself was a bit dull. However, the last 5-10 chapters proved satisfying, even if they were a bit predictable.

I can't reveal too much about the story without spoiling its conclusion, but I've seen this idea played out better in other novels and short stories (as well as an episode or two of TV).
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly good book with interesting premise about unnatural being.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I started reading I was sure I was going to give this a five by the end but I really don't think the ending matched the rest of the story. ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fabulous vocabulary and a love of literature. I only wish there had been more women in his pantheon of greats.
Dec 18, 2014 added it
Shelves: 2015
Something has gone wrong with history in this gripping novel about a lie planted among the greatest works of English fiction.

Flamboyant, charismatic Matthew Cannonbridge was touched by genius, the most influential creative mind of the 19th century, a prolific novelist, accomplished playwright, the poet of his generation. The only problem is, he should never have existed and beleaguered, provincial, recently-divorced 21st Century don Toby Judd is the only person to realise something has gone wron
Sigue hacia abajo para encontrar la reseña en español.

I got this review copy from NetGalley.

First of all, while knowing who all the writers that are mentioned in this novel are is not strictly necessary, it's very useful, because they're otherwise very flat secondary characters.

I loved this book when I started to read it, because there was a big and impossible mystery going on, but this changed soon. The problem is that I only found one of the two stories interesting and it's the one that's
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Jonathan Barnes is the author of two novels, The Somnambulist and The Domino Men. He contributes regularly to the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review and is the author of several scripts for Big Finish Productions. He is currently writer-in-residence at Kingston University.

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