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Set In Stone

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  993 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Recovering from the recent death of his wife in a cliff fall, Tony Sheridan goes to stay with her sister and her husband at their house in Rutland. The house, called Otherways, is in some senses a character in the story: a strange, circular, moted construction dating from Edwardian times.

Disturbed by memories of his wife and a growing attraction to her sister, and troubled
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 1st 2000 by Corgi (first published January 1st 1999)
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3.72  · 
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 ·  993 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this one. A slight change of pace from the others of his I've read. It was narrated in the first person by Tony, but not as a traditional first person tale. Tony was talking to his dead wife all through the book, which made it feel somewhat that he's telling you about what's been going on, rather than just telling the story. I won't say it was unputdownable, but when I did put it down (to go to work for instance) I was aware that it was waiting for me at home and that I needed to ...more
Selaine Henriksen
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I'd read this book before and have been looking for it, but forgot the name. Finally found it and read it again and it's as good as I remember. It's a love story, a ghost story, and a thriller all in one.

A round house is at the centre of the story and our cottage is round, with a square/rectangular room off the back. There's a wonderful relaxing, comfortable vibe there, nothing supernatural at all. Still, I like the "scientific" explanation for the house's oddities.

This is one of Goddard's best.
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Darn good story telling from Robert Goddard. Not a strong voice on the writer's personal tragedy, but thankfully avoiding the cloying. A mysterious yarn set around a strange house that sent it's architect mad and some of it's inhabitants after him. The mysteriousness of Otherways (the house), avoided straining credulity for those of us who can't suspend disbelief even for a good yarn, and the underpinning conspiracy fell into the believable spectrum. Maybe not far in, but it was well written and ...more
Deirdre Slocum
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Meandering plot. I felt like something was missing. I think it was the disjointed telling of two seperate plots that never really were joined in a cohesive manner. The mystery of the house was never well developed or concluded.
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the book that introduced me to Robert Goddard - it won't fail to disappoint!
Robert Goddard is probably the best suspense writer you've never read! I enjoyed this although it is no his very best. Here is a link to my review:
Debbie Robson
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I've read quite a few of Goddard's book and this is not one of his best although strangely I think it would make a really enjoyable movie. You have the incredible house with moat - Otherways, set in a flooded lake. You have a pattern of unexplained deaths and you have sets of lovers and a mysterious old lady. Although not nearly as captivating as Goddard's recent novel the excellent Fault Line, I still enjoyed reading Set in Stone.
Mary  (Biblophile)
I really enjoyed this one. A good mystery with spooky overturns. I read this at one setting as I found it hard to put down. The story was told from the first person perspective (which I don't usually like) but this one was well told. The main character is a man driven to solve a mystery, racked with guilt, and unable to let go of the past. Many red herrings. However, some things still were left unsolved.
Thomas Strömquist
Did not think this one was up to his usual standard, it is a bit short and unengaging. Goddard is a very good author and I would think that all his books are worth reading, but this one could safely be skipped in favor of one of his others.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I do think Robert Goddard is a good writer but I just didn't find this story line at all convincing.
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D.A. Fellows
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is my first introduction to the work of Robert Goddard, and it will not be the last. I enjoyed the concept of energy being stored and transferred, as in this case trauma, into bricks and mortar, and the havoc that can build from exposure to such energy. This is relevent in times where thoughts and passions have great impact - for good or not. The prose is highly readable, especially for summer, and I particularly like his device of leaving some conclusions to the reader.
Dr Joy
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star
First read this in 2001 and thought it was amazing. 17 years later I have read so many amazing, clever books, that sadly this did not stand up to the competition. Shows you probably shouldn't return to a much-loved book several years later when the genre has moved on so much. But without Goddard, I don't think we would have the quality of other writers now. He was ground-breaking at the time.
W. Nicol
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The historical references in this book were of themselves interesting but on this occasion the modern day plot trying to draw connections was a trifle thin to be convincing. Contriving a thriller on a chain of unlikely coincidences may work on the Dan Brown production line, but I imagine Mr Goddard's audience are more discerning.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goddard
This story is quite sensational, about a house that sends people to think or dream strange things about their loved ones so that they actually start believing what they dream to be true. Mostly this has disastrous consequences. A good read till the end, with quite surprising turns!
Hazel McHaffie
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another thumping good read from Robert Goddard - one of my favourite writers. I deducted one star only because my brain struggled to unravel some of the complexities at the end; my deficiency rather than his, I suspect.
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Substantial and satisfying

A slight change in style from the recent R. Goddard books I’ve read. A great plot with a satisfying ending with all loose ends nicely tied up. Highly recommended and one of his better ones.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Intriguing story where a house seems to have power over its occupants. Shades of Daphne du Maurier with a hint of Frederick Forsyth combine to make this a great read.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoy reading anything by this author , enjoyed this book but it was a little bit drawn out for my liking
Samantha Millican
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First book I’ve read of Robert Goddard’s and I loved it. Such a page turning book, keeps you guessing all the way through with loads of twists and turns. Truly runs the imagination wild.
Denis Dennehy
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the read but preferred Beyond Recall.
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amateur-sleuth
Just one more of many suspense-filled mysteries from a master story teller. When I first discovered Robert Goddard I was warned by a bookstore clerk that even Goddard fans didn’t like Set In Stone, although she didn’t exactly say why. Thus I saved it until last, reading all of his others first, only to find that this one is one of his best!

It seems that some dislike the “supernatural” element of this story, or consider it out of character for this author. The latter may be true as he hasn’t writ
May 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This was beautifully written but not a compelling story.
My reaction to this was so mixed, I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone.
It was well written enough to keep my attention but several of the characters just weren’t likeable, including the lead one.
Some of the twisted paths taken in unraveling the “mystery” were so convoluted, as to be unsatisfying, and in the end I’m not sure all of the loose ends were tied up.
There were two stories running side by side, while also being intertwined; on
Joe Stamber
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's getting quite difficult for me to review Robert Goddard's novels as I've read quite a few now and they have a familiar style. As can be seen from the rating, it's a style that I like so that's no bad thing. Many, if not all, of Goddard's novels begin with a seemingly innocuous event that turns out to be the catalyst for an intriguing mystery of many twists and turns. It's to Goddard's immense credit as a wonderful storyteller that I have never become tired of this formula, although after fi ...more
Feb 10, 2017 added it
Didn't finish. Didn't like the characters. Stopped at the point that I started to be reminded of the movie Basic Instinct.
Bryan Higgs
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the twelfth Robert Goddard book I've read in my quest to read all his books in chronological order, and this one was a good one.

From the start, you suspect that the opening where the protagonist loses his wife in a cliff fall is going to be tied back into the main plot, and -- well, I'll let you find out for yourself.

In this book, the protagonist is not as weak as are many (most?) of Goddard's male characters, although he is influenced -- again, I'll let you discover by what.

As usual, th
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one for the overall theme a lot better than the previous Robert Goddard novel that I had read recently. This one was more gripping and more understandable as a plot, although I did sort of lose my way a bit towards the end, did get a bit confused with the story line. But overall I do like his novels
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
Having recently read the classic horror 'The Haunting of Hill House' I saw a number of parallels in this story, and for similar reasons it was not my favourite read. It's not my best genre, but I persevered to the end because I wanted to know the outcome, and the plot did not disappoint with its twists and turns for which Robert Goddard is well known.
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I am a fan of Robert Goddard's books when they are set in the last hundred years and this was an especially clever one. I enjoyed the history of the building, even though the connections were a bit macabre! I liked the idea of how our lives cross with other owners of our homes.
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In a writing career spanning more than twenty years, Robert Goddard's novels have been described in many different ways - mystery, thriller, crime, even historical romance. He is the master of the plot twist, a compelling and engrossing storyteller and one of the best known advocates for the traditional virtues of pace, plot and narrative drive.
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