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Long Time Coming

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,668 ratings  ·  196 reviews
Stephen Swan is amazed when he hears that the uncle he thought had been killed in the Blitz is actually alive. For nearly four decades, Eldritch Swan has been locked away in an Irish prison and now, at last, has been released. Shocked and suspicious, Stephen listens to the old man’s story and is caught up in a tale that begins at the dawn of World War II, when Eldritch wor ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Bantam (first published November 20th 2009)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  1,668 ratings  ·  196 reviews

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I want to start out by saying this is my first Robert Goddard read and I was totally blown away by this book. The setting switches between 1940 and 1976 in Europe, primarily in London, Belgium, and Ireland. I like to look up facts about places and events mentioned and this book is loaded with those.

The story begins with an old man named Eldritch Swan being released from a prison in Ireland after 36 years. He shows up at the door of the only family he has left, his nephew Stephen and
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 stars a nice enough read, but not outstanding.
Read by David Rintoul. 11 Hrs 3 Mins

Description: Eldritch Swan is a dead man. Or at least that is what his nephew Stephen has always been told. Until one day Eldritch walks back into his life after 36 years in an Irish prison. He won't reveal any of the details of his incarceration, insisting only that he is innocent of any crime. His return should be of interest to no-one. But the visit of a solicitor with a mysterious request will take Eldritch and his sceptical nephew from sleepy seaside Paignton to London,
Dale Harcombe
I used to read a lot of Robert Goddard books and enjoyed them immensely, so when my husband borrowed this from the library and enjoyed it I thought I would read it to before it went back. I got into it very quickly and enjoyed the mystery surrounding uncle Eldritch and why he had been imprisoned for so long as well as the mystery with the Picassos. The story is told from two time frames 1940, which is Eldritch's story and 1976 which follows his nephew Stephen Swan and then his interactions with ...more
Stephen Swan is surprised when his uncle Eldritch, whom he had thought was dead, is released from an Irish prison after 36 years. Eldritch refuses to tell anyone why he was imprisoned or why he's been unexpectedly released. It's not long before other people are trying to find Eldritch and soon Stephen finds himself drawn into a mystery that began in 1940.

We discover that just before WWII Eldritch returned to England from Belgium, where he worked for a Jewish diamond merchant and art collector.
Brenda H
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Swan's uncle Eldritch has suddenly shown up after 36 years in prison in Ireland. No one knows for sure why Eldritch was imprisoned and Eldritch isn't saying.

Then, one day a lawyer shows up on the doorstep with an offer for Eldritch - one he can't ignore. Suddenly Stephen finds himself in the middle of political intrigue, art theft and diamond smuggling...with a few murders thrown in.

Rating: 4 stars
May 11, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There’s the kernel of a good book here: a roguish uncle returns from the dead and soon embroils his nephew in a mystery concerning a long ago art fraud and a very dubious part of English/Irish history. Ostensibly set in the seventies, it flashes back repeatedly to the forties with the two narratives intertwining. If done right – conjuring a good sense of time and place, while revealing its secrets judiciously – then this could be a nifty little suspense yarn.

Unfortunately, there’s no
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What do you say? Robert Goddard is the master story teller, he paints a picture and takes you there, unravelling the story one layer at a time rather like the layers of an onion. He is one of my favourite authors and has never let me down, and this is one of his best stories. This book is filled with intrigue, betrayal, espionage, political machinations and a mystery element that is not revealed until the end. What more could you want? What are you waiting for? Read this book! You will not be di ...more
Martin Fautley
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hooray. A thriller finally written by someone who writes in sentences, speaks English, and keeps the plot moving without having to pretend it's the screenplay for an airhead action film! Or maybe I've read too much trash recently?

Nicely placed story set in 1970s and WW2, concerning characters, spy plots, smuggled diamonds, and forged pictures. Moves along with good level of detail, and doesn't assume the reader has the IQ of an Ant. Dirty dealings of Gov't in UK and Ireland, and comp
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anglophiles, mystery lovers,
Shelves: fiction, suspense
The elements of suspense are skillfully orchestrated in LONG TIME COMING. The contemporary (1976) narrative, seen primarily though the eyes of Stephen Swan alternate with the backstory occurring in 1940, primarily from the third-person observation of Stephen's uncle, Eldritch Swan, participant, among other things, in a forgery scam of priceless Picassos. This dual narrative allows the author to approach the problem of creating suspense from different angles. Stephen's dilemmas include a successi ...more
GS Nathan
Glad I checked out this book. The British have always had a lock on the stories about scoundrels who had moral lines they don't cross, dubious heroes, if you like that description, and Robert Goddard's story about Mr. Eldritch Swan falls in that category. Of course the counterpoint is his nephew, the real hero of the story. But in a story that switches between the 70's and the late 30's he manages to spin a very good yarn. Some parts, especially where a government secret service is too ready to ...more
Dec 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This mystery spanning decades marginally kept me engaged through the first 3/4 of the book. In the end, I was rewarded with a good conclusion and would recommend this book to a patient reader.

Summary: Eldritch swan is released Dom an Irish prison after 35 years. He contacts his nephew Stephen, and together they try to uncover proof that because of paintings were forged 35 years ago. Why was Eldritch in prison? Conditions of his release don't allow him to say, however Oldrich claims that he did
Apr 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have loved Goddard's writing from day one and have all his books on my shelves. I considered him a great secret, since he was never promoted, but his books would show up on my local bookstores shelves, only one copy, even of a new title. This time, however, we got more than one copy, and it turns out to have been the worst of the lot. The characters missed by a long shot--not realistic in the slightest, nor particularly likeable, any of them, except the old black valet at the end. No, don't go ...more
Nov 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I always look forward to a new Robert Goddard, though don't think I would persist if his earliest ones hadn't been so good. This one vaguely mixes anglo-irish politics with an art scam. I liked how the story moved back to the 1940's and then to the 70's. Usual Goddard convoluted plotting, but I did read another book in the middle so not quite unputdownable as I have found some earlier ones.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard
4.5 stars

From The Book:
Stephen Swan is amazed when he hears that the uncle he thought had been killed in the Blitz is actually alive. For nearly four decades, Eldritch Swan has been locked away in an Irish prison and now, at last, has been released. Shocked and suspicious, Stephen listens to the old man’s story and is caught up in a tale that begins at the dawn of World War II, when Eldritch worked for an Antwerp diamond dealer with a trove of
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this. Never read anything else by the author. It was the Picasso reference that caused me to pick the book up.....I'm pretty good at copying Picasso myself. In the end I found the Irish politic stuff more interesting. On the one habits, I found the Stephen/Rachel thing more than formulaic, but I enjoyed the plot. That poor bastard Eldritch.....!
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a few of Goddard's novels but none of the earlier ones more cherished by his devotees.The majority of them have been readable and entertaining,although one or two have been awful.This I found to be pleasantly diverting at least.

Goddard is very good at whisking his reader around the map book.You're shuttled around provincial Britain,continental Europe and even further afield in his work at regular intervals.At times this lends a paradoxical cosiness to proceedings,at others
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Robert Goddard is the master of complex plots with lots of twists and turns, surprise endings and plenty of interesting history mixed in. This book takes us to England, Ireland and Belgium. The chapters switch back and forth from 1940 to 1976. Eldritch Swan was in an Irish prison for 36 years and his nephew, Stephen Swan, has been asked to help Eldritch repair the wrongs from the past which include forged Picassos, IRA terrorists and lots of secrets. It's a tale of revenge, redemption and justic ...more
Robert Intriago
Apr 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
The book is divided into two subplots. The first one takes place in 1976 and it involves the theft of a blue period Picasso art collection. The story is interesting but the author relies on several forced subterfuges to construct the plot. Characters appear out of the blue to fill gaps in the story. These mysterious appearances force you to backtrack to the beginning of the book to find where you first heard the name before.
The other subplot deals with 1940. It has some very interesting hi
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geologist Stephen Swan comes home to find an uncle that he was told died during the Blitz, but has just been just released after 36 years in an Irish prison for an unspecified crime. The uncle is hired to prove the truth about the ownership of a trove of Picassos stolen at the outbreak of WWII and enlists Stephen to help. He predictably falls in love with Rachael Banner, the somewhat obsessed granddaughter of the man from whom the paintings were stolen. The plot is complex and revealed in layers ...more
Joe Stamber
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
While on holiday in Cyprus I discovered a "library" of books that people had left for others to enjoy. I dutifully left Ken Follett's Code To Zero there after finishing it and was delighted to find this fairly new Robert Goddard book. As usual, Goddard delivers an enjoyable and easily readable mystery that jumps between time zones and locations with spanners thrown into the works at regular intervals. The Irish troubles are woven brilliantly into the narrative as Goddard produces another excelle ...more
Linda Schwartz
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always hate it when I get more than 50% through a Robert Goddard book because I know the end is getting closer. Fantastic writer with complex plotting, yet not complicated or difficult to follow. This plot moves back and forth from the early days of WWII to the mid-1970s and involves a question of a mysterious imprisonment and stolen/forge Picassos. Goddard is a gem, as usual.
Deborah O'Regan
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I have ever read by Robert Goddard and I really enjoyed it. I liked the way it went back and forth in time from 1976 to 14940. It also gave me food for thought on Irelands position on neutrality during WW2.
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, uk, 21st-century
This started off a little slow but like all Goddard pulls in the reader, fascinates and confuses her, then reveals every carefully thought out thread at the end...
Mar 25, 2010 rated it liked it
The book is called Long Time Coming, I assume "Made To Be Broken" is the British title or there are gremlins on Goodreads.
Diane Macaluso
I slogged my way through this one. I thought of just returning it, but found that I wanted to know how it ended. I'm thinking I might have enjoyed it more some other time! Oh, well!
This was my first experience with Goddard. The story's premise is interesting -- Stephen Swan unexpectedly finds out that the uncle he thought was dead, Eldritch, has instead been in an Irish prison for the last 40 years. Except no one, including Eldritch, will tell him why. Consumed by his curiosity and concerned for his mother's safety, Stephen takes it upon himself to keep tabs on Eldritch. When Eldritch is approached by a lawyer with a proposal he can't refuse, Stephen is sucked into the mys ...more
Alexander Hawley
Long Time Coming

After reading Fault Line by Robert Goddard I got used to his flash back style. I feel that in Long Time Coming this facilitated the plot better, giving a look into the consequences and outcomes of a decision that would change Swan's life forever. The way that the story was told allowed for the mystery to be slowly revealed from multiple perspectives, heightening the tension as you slowly became more aware of the tale's complexities. The two points in history for the b
Cara Ball
A solid 3.5 stars. A thriller-suspense movie, er, book that is a good read. The entire time I read this book, I kept wondering where the screen play was and when it would be developed into a movie. I could stand to watch it on the screen--in fact, it might be even better in that form.

A flashback story between Ireland/Belgium and a bit of England in 1976 and 1940s. Picassos, spies, and family fortunes changing due to the war and to art forgeries. I liked how the 'present time' of 1976
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was more a political thriller than stolen works of art. The basis of a plot between Ireland and England was apparent at the start. Unscrupulous characters came into play but never anything decisive with their backgrounds were elaborated on. Knowing more about the owner of the paintings being a jeweler etc. would have been helpful. Cat and mouse involvement was throughout. Back and forth with Lindly and swan was redundant. Was not a thriller to me. More a story of English history and qw ...more
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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.