the good book corner

Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews

The Bookseller by C. Robert Cales


“It’s our story, Frank. I wanted to document everything, and with my ability to trace people back into their past, I put together a complete picture of all of us, of all the bad guys. It’s the whole story; our unvarnished truth.” “Presented as fiction?” “Sometimes the truth is so bizarre and mind-bending that it has to be presented as fiction to be accepted.” ………. excerpt from The Bookseller.

The name is bound to attract book lovers. As I started reading The Bookseller, I wondered who the bookseller was. The preface is set in Paris, in 1794, with a mass beheading of condemned men. As the anguished souls rise, the story jumps to 1864 London, where Queen Victoria has given birth to her heir.

Jumping into present time, the story unfolds with George and Elizabeth Saunders reminiscing about how they met. Their union gave birth to  their bookstore, “The Bookseller“. Their love for each other and George’s passion for books- new and old, makes the store, their own little paradise, amidst the chaos of Boston.

Enter John Stoner! John goes all the way to Freetown, Massachusetts to clear away a deserted mansion. Local legend says that the mansion is haunted. Will the deep-rooted fear in the minds of the town folks affect the project? What will be the repercussions of disturbing the abandoned site?

And to these two stories, add the intriguing story of Carlos Ramirez, a drug lord and smuggler. He rules the world from his Peruvian stone chateau, which sits proudly atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific. The Chateau, built in the seventeenth century, with Aztec gold, hides many secrets. In 1937, it was reconstructed using Nazi gold and claimed by Carlos almost twenty-five years after the war.

With three parallel stories cramped together in one novel, the reader is definitely in for a rollercoaster ride. While I enjoyed George and Elizabeth’s story, Carlos Ramirez’s characterisation is very cliched. With strokes of magic, superstition and rebirth, the author paints a psychedelic picture which is sometimes lacklustre. The stories do connect, but the interminable descriptions and storylines made me lose interest. This novel was first published in 2010. The plot is promising, but failure to edit out the lengthy bits makes the reading experience torturous.

Read if you must!!!

…………….This manuscript has been a true accounting of the events that began to unfold in the summer of 2004. I continue my quest to rid Father’s flock of all the ravening wolves at the door. On that point, I have a final message for any dark, inhuman entity that may have come across my tale, and may be reading our story, even now. You have been warned. You cannot conceal your crimes against the world of man, and you will be judged. You cannot run. You cannot hide. Now you know exactly how I deal with those who prey on humanity. I am coming for you……… excerpt from The Bookseller 



About artikaaurorabakshi

Artika Aurora Bakshi Artika Aurora Bakshi is the author of three well-acclaimed children’s books,My Little Sikh Handbook, My Little Sikh Handbook 2: Ardas, My Little Sikh Handbook: Travel Journal, and an anthology of stories, Hold On To Me. Her first story, set in Amritsar, during the pre-Partition period, All She Had Left, was published on Story Mirror. She co-manages, a manuscript help and book review site. Her passion for reading has led her to helping other writers with their manuscripts. She comes from a family of lawyers and has a master’s degree in International Banking & Finance. Currently based in Sri Lanka, she teaches Commerce and History on a part-time basis at an international school and enjoys being part of the literary scene in Sri Lanka. A regular at the Galle Literary Festival and other literary events in Sri Lanka, Artika’s articles and book reviews have featured in the Daily Mirror, Daily News, The Ceylon Chronicle, and various blogs, such as,,, She was actively involved with SAARC Women’s Association of Sri Lanka and was President of the Association in 2016. An avid reader, Artika runs an online book club with a membership base of over 600 members. Her quotes are featured under soul.nightingale on Instagram and on Soul Nightingale by Artika Aurora Bakshi on Facebook. Artika is also working on her fourth children’s book in the My Little Sikh Handbook series and a second anthology of stories for adults. You can reach Artika at .

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This entry was posted on March 24, 2016 by in Book Reviews, Contemporary, Fiction and tagged , .
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