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Into the Fire

(Capitaine Inés Picaut #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  502 ratings  ·  99 reviews
(Previously titled and never released as The Nature of Fire)

February 2014: Police Capitaine Inés Picaut is called out to investigate a blaze in the old town of Orléans. This is the fourth in a series of increasingly brutal arson attacks, and at the centre of the conflagration lies a body. An Islamic extremist faction claims responsibility, but Inés and her team cannot trac
Hardcover, 479 pages
Published June 18th 2015 by Bantam Press
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  502 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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This book is written in an unusual style that I found difficult to engage with initially. The author uses the technique of alternating two separate narratives, one set in the past and one current day, but additionally the two genres are quite different in style. One is a historical account of Joan of Arc seen through the eyes of an English spy and the other is a modern day police hunt for a serial arsonist in Orleans. It's as if you are alternating reading two separate books (which a lot of us d ...more
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed Manda Scott’s books since her first novel and so was keen to read her latest. This novel uses a plot device which seems to be becoming very over-used, the dual timeline. In this case, we have one storyline running in 2014 and the other in 1429 and, although the author manages to make both relevant, I personally feel that many authors struggle to make both past and present work.

The story in the present of this book concerns Capitaine Ines Picaut, who is currently investigating a se
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Manda Scott’s latest novel, Into The Fire is an interesting version of historical crime fiction: there is historical fiction, there is crime fiction, but they aren’t set in the same time. I found this notion intriguing, especially since the storyline set in the past dealt with Joan of Arc. Of course I knew about Joan of Arc, most European children get taught her story in school, but never much more than your basic facts—miraculous peasant girl turned saviour of the French against the English, wh ...more
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
This took a drastic turn for the terrible after a reasonable first third. There was some acceptable writing but the plotting was so hammy, so unbelievable and convenient that I lost heart from the mid-point. I can see the comparisons with Dan Brown now and I’m sad because I feel like Manda Scott is a better writer than that. Ah well. I might contemplate the second in the series but not for a good long while.
Daria Tyuneva
Sep 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished-meh
Well, this one is a bit of a SLOW-BURNER. 200 pages in and I'm going to just leave it because It doesn't look like it's getting anywhere. What is the point of advertising a book to be a Dan Brown sort of thriller and page-turner if it isn't so? How long does it take to set the stage? Do I really want to read another 400 pages if It's not even enjoyable?
Sorry, but I might just throw this book INTO THE FIRE, that'll be more exciting than trying to get through.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"And now I know how Joan of Arc felt..." This review is for the Audible audiobook.
This is a book about Joan of Arc, i.e. Jeanne d'Arc. But the narrator can't pronounce French names, including Jeanne. He keeps saying something like Gee-enn. This is idiotic and annoying. Just say "Joan" in English, or better yet, hire someone who can say "Jeanne" if you know that's going to come up a few thousand times. Beyond that, the story is a so-so DaVinci Code wannabe.
David Reviews
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Manda Scott brings us an enthralling dual time story set in France of 2014 and 1428. In the modern day French city of Orleans there is terrorism as fires are set with an extremist group claiming responsibility. After the first suspicious death of these attacks Capitaine Ines Picault is under pressure of time to find those responsible. In the parallel 1428 narrative the story of Joan of Arc (also known as the Maid of Orleans) is being told and the two become tantalisingly entwined.

The author writ
Patricia Bracewell
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have always been fascinated by the figure of Joan of Arc, so this book intrigued me even before I began reading it. The story opens in contemporary France with a series of fires – and a death; but chapters shift frequently to the 15th century and the career of the Maid of Orleans. Both story lines are gripping, so that whenever I reached the end of a modern-day chapter and turned the page to find that in the next chapter Scott was taking me back in time, I growled with vexation only to find my ...more
Karen Wellsbury
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
After reading the totally brilliant A Treachery of Spies I read the first in the series of Ines Picaut books which , while it employed the same historical/ contemporary split as the first was very different.
In this book Ines was much more central and we learnt about her personal life a lot more than in Spies, which makes sense as this is the 1st book, and the historical element is Joan of Arc.
While it interesting, and the writing excellent, I didn't find this as gripping as Spies. I think becau
I have been looking forward to this novel ever since I heard it was on the way a year or two ago. I don't know of any other writer who gets into the heart of his or her characters as Manda Scott does. Into the Fire (as my early proof is called) is quite simply a wonder and one of the finest novels I've read. It combines the riveting story of two driven investigators, one in the mid 15th century and the other in the present day, both in France. At the novel's heart, though, is an extraordinary yo ...more
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
My husband works in a central lending library of a large city and will often bring home books for me in the hopes I'll enjoy them.

I've never heard of Manda Scott before so went into this novel with no expectations. It's part historical fiction, part modern day police procedural. I'll be honest, although I found the medieval side of the story quite entertaining I wasn't so keen on the police procedural. On top of that I struggled to find empathy with any of the characters.

So, although well writt
Lynne Hutchinson
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Too many nights sat up until 3am reading this novel, thinkng I'd just read the next chapter...and the next..... Loved the way the two timelines came together without being obvious from way back in the novel like so many of these type of stories do. Interesting idea on the Joan of Arc story to to tie in with the osteologist's report included at the back. Cracking book!
Jul 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, thriller
A big disappointment after reading the author's Roman novels. Simply a pedestrian thriller and police procedural involving investigating arson, a dead body, and, switching back and forth in time, was Joan of Arc who she purported to be? Did all these positive reviewers read the same book I did?
Adam Lofthouse
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Simply stunning. Not a word wasted, not a detail missed. From a hard hitting detective in the present day to a spy turned traitor in war ravaged Fourteenth century France, this is a story that has you gripped from page one.

There are some tenuous links, some things that feel rather forced together, but on the whole you barely notice them beneath the beautiful prose and engaging characters. I've already read the sequel to this - A Treachery Of Spies - and that may have been the best book I read i
Angela Smith
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have been wanting to read Manda Scott's books for a while now and I have her Boudica series on my tbr list so it wasn't a difficult choice to want to read this. Joan of Arc is a woman that has always interested me although I don't know that much about her except maybe the highlights of her life and death.

The story and plot of the book appealed to me with the two different time frames running through it to modern-day France and the last few months of Joan of Arc's life in the 15th century. In
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Imagine a thriller spanning 600 hundred years. Sounds incredible but that is exactly what Manda Scott has achieved just that with Into the Fire.
This is a unique recipe of two great crime novels rolled into one outstanding read that will keep the reader up all night. You have been warned.
The key characters are the Police Capitaine Ines Picaut from current time and from 1429 Joan of Arc trying to turn the tide in the war with the English.
The story opens in current time (2014) and Orleans is under
Deborah Pickstone
4 1/2 stars

Very good, though it took the first half before I was hooked and it became unputdownable. Manda Scott has applied her usual interesting approach to an old mystery - who was Jehanne d'Arc? As the modern day mirrors (to some extent) the past events around the sainted Jehanne, a police Capitaine races to prevent mayhem - but is it threatened by the extreme right or Islamic terrorists? (view spoiler)

Manda Scott always has her own theory of the h
Ann Rawson
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. I stayed up until some ridiculous hour this morning as I couldn't stop reading. Two novels in one, and combining two of my favourite genres - thriller and historical. A modern political thriller set in Orleans, alternating with a brilliant take on the story of Jeanne d'Arc.

Now Manda Scott's Boudicca novels are on my reading list.

Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I tried to like it, I really did. But it was so incredibly slow and I found myself utterly uninterested in what happened to the main characters.
Jackie Law
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Into the Fire, by Manda Scott, retells the story of Joan of Arc from an original and compelling perspective. Two stories are told in parallel, one contemporary and one set in the time of The Maid’s most famous battles in the fifteenth century. Using this device the author is able to show how and why legends are created and, perhaps of even more interest, why they are protected so fiercely by those who benefit from them. As ever with half truths that morph into ‘accepted fact’, religion, politics ...more
Andrew Taylor
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Manda Scott is an amazing writer who constantly subverts our expectations. As a historical novelist, she has a habit of showing us the familiar - from Boudicca to first-century Rome - from unexpected angles. In the process, her books reveal overlooked truths about the past. Her crime novels and thrillers, on the other hand, display an author entirely at home with the issues and technologies of the present, as well as a mistress of her craft.
Her new novel, Into The Fire, showcases both her talen
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
Well this did not work for me. Especially since I loved her Boudicca novels, I am a bit sad. But this was just such an odd one. Oh well.
John Fish
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Imagine a thriller spanning 600 hundred years. Sounds incredible but that is exactly what Manda Scott has achieved just that with Into the Fire.
This is a unique recipe of two great crime novels rolled into one outstanding read that will keep the reader up all night. You have been warned.
The key characters are the Police Capitaine Ines Picaut from current time and from 1429 Joan of Arc trying to turn the tide in the war with the English.
The story opens in current time (2014) and Orleans is under
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have to say that to start with this book promised a lot.

What's not to like about Joan of Arc ? Eh ? Alright, alright, Jeannes D'Arc or the Maid as Scott refers to her throughout. I always knew her as Joan, as all I had in the 60's was a red picture history book for boys, which I won for something when I was about 7.

So, you're hoping for medieval warfare from one of the best historical writers around. And to an extent that's what you get. This book flips between the 15th century and the modern
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
I won a huge hardback copy of Into The Fire, signed by its author, Manda Scott, through a Twitter giveaway over the summer. Thank you @followthehens! Being posted meant it took a while to get to me and I thought I would save it until we were well into France. Into The Fire is set in Orleans, miles from our current Pyrennean base, and it has a good sense of Frenchness about the writing, particularly in the early stages of the modern day crime story.

Scott develops two stories alongside each other
Tom Harper
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to historical fiction, there are books that are well researched; there are books that feel authentic; and then there are books that are so real you're certain the author must have privileged access to a time machine. Into the Fire is one of those books, a stunning vision of medieval Europe, distilled through prose so fierce and sharp it takes your breath away. If Hilary Mantel and Bernard Cornwell teamed up to write a novel, this is how it would be: a book where stunning set-piece ...more
Donna Gowland
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How did I not know about this author? Where have I been? Ok, so I'm a bit late coming to the Manda Scott appreciation party but wowsers what an introduction to her work. Ordinarily, I wouldn't really be interested in historical novels but as a fellow Shropshire lass I thought I would give this a whirl and I am so glad that I did. This is an incredibly well researched, complex and engaging novel with three dimensional characters who are flawed but fantastic and an intelligent plot that brings Joa ...more
Keith Currie
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sometimes what is required for the reader is a fast-moving rollercoaster of a thriller – and that is exactly what this is. I was in need of such a novel and along came this one: intelligent, thought-provoking, well researched, exciting.

What you get are two related stories: in 2014 a series of arson attacks in Orleans, apparently carried out by a group of Islamic extremists, coincide with an election which may be won by a far-right party. A death in one of the fires appears to have a link to the
Ian Mapp
May 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime, historical
Abandoned at Page 72.

Cannot remember the last book that I abandoned.

Just going nowhere - an overused cliche of a book - a split time narrative, in an ancient city. Hello Kate Mosse. New Orleans. 2014 - A fire in a hotel (called Carcassonne, to ham it home further) and Joan of Arc fighting the English in the 1400s.

The writing failed to engage. The main policewoman failed to engage. I couldn't care less how the two stories would come together.

Decided life was too short and grabbed another from my
Mark Ellis
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
A well-written story which flits back and forth between 15th century France and the story of Joan of Arc and modern day Orleans where a group of arsonists are causing havoc. The historic parts of the book are very well portrayed and the female detective in the modern mystery is engaging. For some reason however I didn't enjoy the book as much as I would have expected. I think it was most probably because the jumping back and forth affected the pacing of the book and accordingly the build up of t ...more
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Novelist, columnist, blogger, podcaster, broadcaster and red-green activist, Manda Scott's novels have been shortlisted for an Orange Prize, nominated for an Edgar and dived into the endless iterations of TV adaptations. When she's not writing, she's studying for an MA in sustainable economics and figuring out how to save a world that may, in the end, not need saving.
Her latest novel, A Treachery

Other books in the series

Capitaine Inés Picaut (2 books)
  • A Treachery of Spies (Capitaine Inés Picaut #2)

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