A hundred years ago, a wealthy family of visionaries prophesied the devastation that global warming would bring to world food supplies in the 21st century. They decided to prepare for the worst, and embark on an ambitious plan of revolution.
Lambeth Group agents, Zoe Tampsin and Gavin Shawlens, prepare to investigate the unusual death of a government defence scientist. Someone is determined to stop them before they get started. Zoe uncovers two unfamiliar words, Tabula Rasa. The only other clue is the curious behaviour of the dead scientist's son, Ramsay.
Posing as a couple, Gavin and Zoe enter the secret and dangerous world of Ramsay's aristocratic guardians, headed by philanthropist billionaire, Lord Zacchary Silsden.
What Gavin uncovers, shocks him to the bottom of his soul. Does he have the courage and the conviction to stop the greatest revolution in human history?
What Zoe discovers about Gavin—words can't describe. Zoe is faced with an impossible choice, but one thing is certain, she will not hesitate to do her duty, no matter the cost.
I was born and raised in Glasgow but spent my student years in Edinburgh. I spent over 30 years as a university lecturer and 25 years as an Open University tutor before I retired to write fiction. I live with my wife in Scotland where corrupt academics, psychopaths, serial killers, mystery, murder, and intrigue exists mostly in my mind.
I write the Lambeth Group series of standalone crime/conspiracy/suspense thrillers. Inspired by the 1970s 'Doomwatch' TV series, they feature undercover investigators Zoe and Gavin who protect the country and the world from the worst nightmares that mankind can imagine.
I enjoy walking in the hills, 60s & 70s music, reading and travel.
Looking at my ratings, I give this series more ratings as it progresses. I really enjoyed this one. The series may be "Gavin Shawlens" but it's more Zoe Tampsin's series now. Her character is much more developed than Gavin's - he's very much a wimp in this story. I want to say this is a jet setting action adventure, but they don't go far, yet it feels like it.
The heroine of this book is like a real-life Wonder Woman. Only she’s a lot rougher around the edges. Totally enthralling thriller with action and tension that mounts and mounts right up to the final pages. And the author’s education in biochemistry helps him create a believable, scary scenario.
As someone concerned about climate change, I was pleased that issue reared its head in this novel. How it’s woven into the story leads to a truly alarming threat that Zoe Tampsin and Gavin Shawlens must unravel before it’s too late. I don’t want to include any spoilers here, but suffice it to say, there are a lot of twists and turns, tons of danger and some collateral damage along the way.
Another plus, there’s character development for Zoe and Gavin, along with some other characters, including Zoe’s brother, which kept me more invested in the story.
Although the writing is a bit rough in places, I quite enjoyed the book. Recommended for thriller fans.
Cracking thriller this and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Straight to the action this is a classy book. Not my first Gordon Bickerstaff book and it certainly wont be my last. A good thriller needs to maintain tension and the plot must move at the right pace. I have read several lately that I had to put down so this was by comparison a delight. If you like to be entertained, this is the book for you. 5 stars
This is a great addition to the series. I love Zoe, who ranks alongside Lisbeth Salander as my favorite female characters of recent years and I was pleased the author put her front and center of this book. The author writes exciting thrillers with a bit of a science based plot. There is a rich mix of characters and although there are great action scenes, there are also some more thoughtful aspects to the plot regarding the future of our planet and the human race. The exciting first chapter grabs you and the story rattles along at a fast pace. I read the whole book in two sittings over the weekend. You can easily read this book standalone but I recommend the entire series so you might want to start at the beginning.
Oh my, oh my, oh my! This is a 5 great, big, shiny, STONKIN' stars book. I loved the story of the feisty, female Zoe Tampsin saving the world from the bonkers, billionaire and his scallywag scientists. Loved it! The first night I started reading I was forced to admit defeat at 6am, I had to get some sleep but didn't want to put it down. Full of action, super hero characters and thoroughly despicable baddies, this book has it all. Absolutely thrilled to recommend this to everyone.
The story starts with a torture of a woman who we think is Zoe Tamsin, but ends up being her friend, who a group of professional brutes confused her with. A story of revenge and striving to survive unfolds, driven by a very persistent, stubborn Zoe, her colleagues, among which stand out particularly her brother Michael, and someone she begins to develop a crush on, Gavin. Of course, there’s also finding out what the group that wants Zoe dead are after and what the Tabula Rasa really is.
I usually don’t read thrillers and such action-packed novels, but I have to say that I fell in love with this book. Especially Zoe as the main character. I loved her bad-ass-ness. She’s a really well developed main lead - hats off to the author. I will always remember the part when she was almost drowning in the sea and conversed with goddess Athena before her military persistence to survive kicked in.
This novel has so much tension that it kept me wanting to read more, worried for the characters and their fates. But there’s not just action, there’s also the pondering about the future of humanity, the vain efforts to save the planet, and the ideas of the ruling groups that always try to do something sinister under the mask of salvation.
I was so taken with this novel that I devoured it in just a few days. Therefore clearly - I highly recommend it!
If you enjoy action thrillers this is a must-read. Bickerstaff is an absolute genuis at putting his characters in impossible situations and somehow getting them out of them. The story is imaginative yet the plot is so well thought out I was totally immersed in the read and believed the dreadful scenerio was very possible. Intelligent, thought-provoking, fast paced, intriguing, believable characters and crammed with suspense. What more could a reader ask for? Brilliant read.
My thanks to the Author via TBConFB for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. I gave this an 8/10 or 4 stars.
This is the first book that I've read by this Author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found Zoe Tampsin to be a modern day agent in the tradition of a female James Bond. I could see this playing out like a Bond film. With a great mix of goodies and baddies with an interesting thought provoking premise to boot.
This book is a roller coaster of a ride that will take you along with it. it's well worth grabbing a copy and catching up with the Lambeth Group if you've already read other books in the series or take the opportunity to meet them for the first time.
This book is number 5 in the series, that could be read as a standalone. However, if you read the series in order then you'll have the back story of some of the returning main characters that have appeared in other books in the series.
Since reading the book I spotted that the Author mentions Ian Fleming amongst his influences, this is of no surprise at all.
Tabula Rasa by Gordon Bickerstaff starts out at a fast paced non-stop flurry of action with intruders (a woman and three men) breaking and entering then proceeding to threaten and beat to a woman to a pulp. There is mention in the interrogation about a Tabula Rasa, to which the woman responds she knows nothing about. We later discover that the woman was mistaken for the story’s protagonist, Zoe Tampsin, and is her close friend. There’s no lack of intrigue in the first few pages that glue the reader to the story. As the story progresses Tampsin, is hired for a mission to find the missing the son of a famous scientist. Embarking on the mission with a scarcity of informative, helpful information she hires a reticent scientist, Gavin, to assist her in addition to her brother, Michael. Tension rises as Zoe, an ex military commando, doggedly sets out and we soon find out that the mission she was hired for is a mere piece of a much bigger, and scarier, puzzle. And as the meaning of Tabula Rosa is revealed the intrigue intensifies with twists and turns and unexpected escapes from death. I particularly liked the interchange between the smart-witted fast on her feet Zoe and the intellectually fumbling Gavin, whose dialogue had me laughing out loud when he couldn’t keep the names of an involved “cousin” straight; the eye-rolling Zoe in response was a great added touch, especially since it was a phone conversation. The action holds up right through to the ending as the mystery of Tabula Rosa unravels to reveal a diabolical international plot. This intelligently written, gripping thrilled, kept it’s pace right up till the last surprising, unexpected page. I’m looking forward to more from this author.
All the time I’m reading Gordon Bickerstaff’s work, I’m thinking. What do chemists, biochemists, engineers and IT people know that we don’t? Although I realize this is fiction, somewhere I’ve always suspected, fiction emerges from reality. Worse, what if reality mimicked the scariest fiction you could find? More late nights for me, for one, and then the terrifying sensation there is too much happening about which we are misinformed—or not informed at all.
When a story, any story like the one Gordon Bickerstaff concocted appears deadly realistic, you wonder and ask yourself questions. Only, who is going to provide the answers?
Zoe Tampsin accepted a mission handed down by Alan Cairn. A black-bag mission to find the missing son of a famous scientist. No one is giving her much information. She is going into her mission blind and angry—angry that thugs attacked her best friend mistaking Toni for her. She recruits a shy scientist of a man, and the worse part is she refuses to tell him one tenth of the tenth of information they gave her. You just pray the man is going to last for the duration. Summing up, someone wants her dead, her supervisor in London wants her quiet about the mission, and the mission runs faster than a rumbling waterfall, which I hate to tell you, brings on more questions.
I don’t think you can flip the pages fast enough. But, you do hope to get some answers. I found this brilliantly written on a touchy subject that is always at the back of our heads. I’m not talking about conspiracy theories; those are for another day. I’m talking about: What if …? Great story. Recommended to all as an eye opener.
When they attacked Zoe Tampsin in her own home they made the worst possible mistake of their lives. Zoe had received a mission directly from the PM, she was the best of the best. None of them gave a thought to how easily they had subdued the renowned and feared woman. Now she is on the hunt for revenge. Her attackers didn't realise they had provided Zoe with intel even she was unaware of. The words Tabula Rasa. It is time for Zoe to get to the bottom of this once and for all. Her mission had been to locate Ramsey, the son of a deceased scientist. When things get scientific, the Lambeth group get Gavin Shawlens. He and Zoe embark on the quest with no idea the true depths of what they will uncover, the end is nigh, but no one seems to realise it.
This is the fifth book of the Lambeth Group Thrillers. To date I have read each one of these, and have enjoyed them all. I was excited to finally find time to read this one. There is so much built from the first book to this one, and the relationships forged continue to grow and change. Each book is self-contained, and individual in plot, premise, and ideas. The Lambeth series is certainly one of my favourite thriller series, and like its predecessors has been written with skill and attention to detail. You will find yourself lost in the story, journeying beside the characters, and be prepared for some amazing revelations. Gordon Bickerstaff has certainly set the bar for writers of this genre, and I am hoping to see more from the Lambeth Group Thrillers soon.
I don't usually read thrillers but picked this one on a whim when a call came out to review this book. I'm so glad I did! Bickerstaff takes us on a roller coaster of events with sly unexpected twists...with the result that I came out of this journey feelings more than a little dazed and elated.
Tabula Rasa is part of the Gavin Shawlin series; in this one he partners with Zoe Tampsin, a special forces agent, part of the Lambeth group. Although the series is ostensibly about Gavin it is Zoe who is undoubtedly the hero of this book, the mastermind of all masterminds, with incredible strength and stamina to boot. We see how Zoe's choices in the present are informed by her past experiences -- Bickerstaff is clever in eliciting the reader's empathy here -- but not entirely convincing in justifying her professional choices. What I was drawn to, was the portrayal of a fearless and clever female protagonist for whom emotions are a driving force but who is not particularly emotional. I like that she makes mistakes and isn't infallible...but has the presence of mind to think fast.
The action sequences in the book are visually gripping and well researched. I enjoyed the offhand way characters joked with each other, and got a sense of the real chemistry between colleagues that had to literally trust each other with their lives. Some parts of the book could have been better edited, and the language did not always flow easily...but if the focus of writing was on plot rather than style, the author did an excellent job. I'll definitely be looking out for more of this series!
Tabula Rasa (Clean Slate) is the latest Gavin Shawlens' thriller from the pen of Gordon Bickerstaff. There are a few authors who's new books I wait for and pounce on as soon as they come on the market. Authors like, Jana Petken, Ken Fry, Paulette Mahurin, Ellie Midwood AND Gordon Bickerstaff. I was taken by the Shawlens' thrillers from the very first book of his that I read and I've been a fan ever since. Across the five books, it has been possible to watch Bickerstaff grow as a writer and a storyteller. Tabula Rasa is a triumph of the genre and his best Shawlens' book to date, in my opinion. Tabula Rasa is a classic "end of the world" thriller full of non-stop action and twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat till the very end. In many ways, Tabula Rasa reminded me of a Tom Clancy book I read several years ago, titled Rainbow Six. I preferred Tabula Rasa, however. One of the things I particularly liked about this book was that it focused less on Gavin Shawlens and much more on SAS and Lambeth Group Agent Zoe Tampsin. This was refreshing and great to see that character develop and expand. This is a fantastic thriller and I can't recommend it highly enough to fans of the genre. If you've never tried Bickerstaff, give him a go. You won't be sorry you did. No question about the 5-Star plus rating, from this reviewer, for Tabula Rasa. I can't wait for iteration number six of the Gavin Shawlens' series.
Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by The Book Club on Facebook and the author in return for a fair and honest review. All views are my own.
This is the fifth book in The Lambeth Group thriller aka Gavin Shawlens series – I must be honest that when I dived into Tabula Rasa I had not read the previous books and had no knowledge of the main characters. So the first thing to tell you is that this can be read as a standalone book. The thriller launches straight into the territory of the underworld and secret agents, and an introduction for new readers, or a reunion for old to Zoe Tampsin – A Special Forces trained agent now working for The Lambeth Group. There is a description of extreme sexual violence at the outset, but don’t be put off as this is important in setting the story up. Her mission is to investigate the death of a government scientist and the mysterious “abduction” and guardianship of his son by a family of aristocrats, the Silsdens. This is where Zoe’s partner from previous cases, scientist Gavin Shawlens comes in to play as he is a personal friend of Lord Silsden’s son. Odd couple Zoe and Gavin go undercover as an engaged couple to try to unearth the secrets of the Silsden family business but someone wants to stop them at every turn. The mysterious phrase Tabula Rasa is brought to their attention – can Gavin’s knowledge of the world of science help them to understand what it means? I don’t intend to give any spoilers away here. But I will tell you is that this plot moves in so many directions and has twists and turns that are so unexpected that I defy you to be able to put it down! I hadn’t met Zoe Tampsin before, and whilst the books seem to be labelled the Gavin Shawlens thrillers, for me Zoe is the stand out character. Gordon Bickerstaff has created a strong woman with a great sense of self-worth, duty and loyalty. She has grown up in the military with a serving father and brother, has served an exemplary career herself and is a natural leader. I love the way that she can slip so easily into and out of character, doing whatever needs to be done, fooling even those who know her, and yet her love and loyalty for her family and closest comrades is uncompromising. Her strength of character is tested to the extreme both mentally and physically in this book – she is the ultimate survivor and a wonderful female protagonist. Based on this book alone I felt that I didn’t get to know Gavin Shawlens particularly well and he at times feels the weak link when put alongside Zoe and her team. It feels that Mr Bickerstaff is asking us to question the need for Shawlens and whether he can be relied upon to remember which “side” he is working with. The attention to detail of the science is superb, and I really like the fact that not everything goes to plan and the characters have to think on their feet, make life changing instant decisions and show their vulnerability. This feels like real life, if in a world very removed to my own! I could not put this book down and felt exhausted when I did reach the end. For me there were so many things that I just did not see coming – the sign of a great thriller, surely? My first thought on completing the book – “WOW!”. My second…..well, let’s just say it involved a certain online book store and I now have the first 4 books sitting on my Kindle too – I loved it that much! Five stars from me!
Having read all of the previous installments in this series, I immediately grabbed “Tabula Rasa” as soon as I saw it hit the shelves. And as always, it didn’t disappoint. This time the storyline concentrated mainly on Zoe, a former military commando now working for the government, with Gavin Shawlens as her sidekick. I actually welcomed such a change for two reasons: one, I got even better acquainted with Zoe as a character, and two, the plot was even more fast-moving and enthralling due to the reader following Zoe from one dangerous situation to another and masterfully outwitting and eliminating her enemies in her way. This time Zoe and Gavin are facing probably the toughest of tasks they ever had to encounter: a secret society with an English noble family as its head decided to take charge of a declining situation in the world and start with a clean slate, and the sooner Gavin and Zoe find out the meaning behind this “clean slate” the sooner they can stop the mastermind behind it… As always, there was never a dull moment and I couldn’t turn pages fast enough. Definitely a must read for all lovers of the thriller genre.
When I purchased Tabula Rasa- A Gavin Shawlens Thriller #5, I didn’t realize I’d purchased and read the first book in the series several months ago. I’ve read many books. Gordon Bickerstaff is a good writer. I need to now pick up the rest of the series as I know I’ve enjoyed #1 and #5.
Though Gavin plays a strong secondary role in the story the main character is Zoe, a highly trained agent working undercover on behalf of the British government. The story starts out as a reasonably simple investigation into the death of a scientist and to ascertain why his missing son is not with his family but staying with a very wealthy peer of the realm. Is the boy kidnapped or held as a hostage? Can Zoe free him?
The story starts spinning with drugs, thugs, intrigue and conspiracies until you realize the original investigation isn’t really what the big picture is all about. It’s just a small piece of an extremely deadly plot of the highest magnitude. Twists and surprises abound
This novel risked turning me off at the outset by opening with a scene of sexual violence. Fortunately, it became clear very quickly that this was not gratuitous but is the driver of the entire plot, and I was drawn into the fast-paced twists and turns as wonderful action hero Zoe Tampsin lays waste to all who get in her way. Refreshing to have a female protagonist who rows her own boat, never relies or falls back on a man, is prepared to lie and kill to get what she wants, is not concerned always to do the "right" thing, and usually ends up rescuing her male colleagues. I was a bit puzzled why this was billed as a Gavin Shawlens story, frankly, as it's mostly from Zoe's point of view and Gavin is a bit of a dope. I'd most definitely read more in this series. Maybe Gavin will redeem himself...
9/10- I thoroughly enjoyed this. First, I was intrigued by the 'conspiracy' driving this well-written thriller: the premise, that a group of super-scientists could fix the state of the world when politicians have failed. The ideal was believably attractive, and at the start I wondered if the governments were intent on eliminating the threat to their power. The plot had tension and twists that kept me turning the pages right to the end. The characters were engaging. I really liked Zoe, the agent assigned to the mission, so good at her job it seemed she had ESP, and Gavin, the bumbling scientist she has to take with her undercover, even though he's a liabilty. It ended too soon. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who likes a good read!
Although I have read these out of order I am now going back to the first book in the series as I need to know more. Taula Rasa can be read as a standalone but obviously benefits from knowing all the characters a little better.
It's an action packed thriller with an exceptionally fast-paced plot that doesn't disappoint and there's plenty of detail and in-depth characters. Loved all the secret society intrigue involving the nobles and the situations Zoe had to fight her way out of. Brilliantly exciting stuff that had me wiping my brow in some places!
Looking forward to catching up on the rest of the series.
“Tabula Rasa” two words that set Zoe, her colleague, Gavin, and brother, Michael into a quagmire of intrigue and danger.
This is a cracking good thriller, which gripped me right from the beginning. It’s a good time to publish a book like this because of the global warming danger facing the planet.
The characters are very detailed, complex to a certain extent, and compelling, especially Zoe, who really holds every thread together.
There are enough action and mystery to match the human side of the story. The plot is outstanding and as with this author’s other books, engrossing. A very well done to the author for another great story.
I really enjoyed this fast-paced thriller and I'd be happy to read more books with the strong female lead character, Zoe Tampsin. This book has almost everything in it; espionage, international adventure, a potentially apocalyptic finale and several well-constructed characters. I liked the way the author introduced several deeper themes to give the reader something to chew on, over and above the riveting action. I hadn't realised it was part of a series and I will now go back and read the others but if you ignore the occasional overdoing of backstory, this book works perfectly well as a stand-alone thriller. Watch out Dragon Tattoo girl, there's a new kick-ass heroine in town!
This is an action-packed thriller with an author who knows how to write! Zoe is a badass and when I grow up, I want to be just like her.
"Zoe stopped just in front of him, and rocked the phone up and down on her fingertips. She raised her hand high, and slammed her arm down...He squealed...clutching his crotch... Zoe leant close and said, "Now you know why God put my balls on the inside, and your balls on the outside." You just gotta love it!
This is a meaty suspense story, full of action, suspense and mystery. Readers who love this genre will devour it.
THE BEST ONE YET This book blew me away. Gordon’s writing blew me away and I honestly think that he is now as polished as the top traditional writers ref James Patterson, Peter James and others in the same genre. It was tight, the characters delightful – wow, Zoe is one tough lady and I so love Gavin, he’s my kind of hero, a bumbling almost idiot I can relate to. No hesitation in recommending this book if you enjoy a good adventure / spy story. I’ve read all Bickerstaff’s other books and this one is the best.
A tight thriller that will keep you reading late into the night. It has a fast moving intricate plot, a conspiracy that will raise questions on your mind and a likeable kick ass heroine that will make you root for her. All in all a refreshing thriller, that touches some actual world problems, the responsibility of the powerful etc. As for the characters, the cast is fairly large and events move with the speed of light. The interactions between Zoe and Gavin are fun and sexy, I’d loved to see more of them. This was my first of Gavin Shawlens book, I really enjoyed it.
This book had me hooked from the first page. It is fast paced and a real page turner, I read it over three very busy days and found myself engrossed. The main character, Zoe is strong but likeable and the author weaves an interesting conspiracy plot throughout that leaves you guessing. The baddies are an interesting mix with the very bad Sarah along with the rest of the believably misguided secretive Silsden family. A great read for thriller fans and I would certainly read other works by Gordon Bickerstaff.
I probably should have read the first four books in the series before this one - nonetheless I found this an enjoyable action packed read. Zoe is a strong main character. Secret societies, intrigue and a message are all included.
Make no mistake this is an adult read and I must add warnings of scenes of rape, violence and strong language.
Strong writing style and a great plot earn this read 5 stars.
My favorite book in the series so far. This one wastes no time getting off to a frenzied start. Political intrigue, government special ops missions, and a secret team working at odds with other departments in their own government. Great characters, plenty of action, and a lot of worthwhile social reflection. Throw in some hard-hitting environmental concerns—global warming forcing food rationing on all countries around the world—and this is a heck of a fulfilling read.
Wow! My first book by this author and I have a lot to catch up with for this series. For me, this story worked well as a stand-alone, but I need to read more. What a timely subject matter, as we face the possibility or probability of global warming. I felt for the main character as she was a victim early in the plot. But boy did she come out fighting! Her conviction, integrity and sheer bravery shone through via the author’s hand. There is real danger amid secrets and conspiracies. A great book!
Tabula Rasa is a gold medal winning thriller, and rightly. This is no parochial story of espionage and counter-espionage. It reflects the danger to planet Earth from everything humans are doing in a careless, it-isn’t-my-problem, society, but one man’s solution is... drastic!
Read it if you dare; it’s extremely believable in the current culture of terrorism.
A fast paced, action-packed story of intrigue, murder, and a new order for the planet Earth. Zoe, her brother Michael, and friend Gavin all work together to save most of the earth's population from annihilation by a group of scientists. Well written and highly recommend this book.