Read The Hanging Tree by David Lambkin Online


Palaeontologist Kathryn Widd is in the Kenyan wild investigating hominid skull fragments. She becomes intrigued by a 1908 safari and the British nobleman who died mysteriously. The further she probes, the more deeply she is drawn into past lives and ancient, mysterious forces of violence....

Title : The Hanging Tree
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781887178716
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Hanging Tree Reviews

  • Jonathan
    2019-03-12 02:23

    3.5/5, but rounded up to a four because Goodreads will never give us what we really want.Overall, I really enjoyed Lambkin's The Hanging Tree with a few reservations throughout. I'll avoid any major spoilers since it's not really a well known book it seems (maybe it was well known when it came out a decade ago or something?), but I guess tread lightly if you want to go into this completely unaware of any characters/plot details.Touching upon the things I really enjoyed, I think that Lambkin's writing is relatively strong in general. There are some passages that are particularly beautiful, getting the reader swept up in a whirlwind of emotions. With the novel having quite a bit of sex/romance, he is able to (in general) write about it in a way that doesn't come off as overly tacky or reminiscent of a harlequin romance novel. There are times where he slips up here and there, but overall it's solid enough in a way that I can admire. Thematically, though, is where the book really shines and I think this is where it'll vary from reader to reader. The novel touches upon the nature of humanity, if we're innately violent beings or if it's learned behavior. This serves as the primary question posed by Lambkin, but in addition it touches upon religion, sex, the universe. Lambkin uses the character Tregallion as a character who poses loftier questions of the nature of the cosmos, I guess is a way to put it. He reads novels, asks about fate and predetermined destinations (there is a passage I love wherein Kathryn comes upon his notes in an Umberto Eco novel) where he asks the question if the Universe exists as something to just be interpreted in the same way that Eco stated that was the function of the novel. Again, this is a moment where Lambkin's writing is REALLY strong. At any point where Tregallion is given the space to really explore larger ideas, you can see how talented Lambkin can be.The things I was less enthusiastic about was how I felt the novels structure was a little bit jarring. I felt really disoriented as it pivoted between narratives (albeit there are only two: Kathryn's ongoing story and the journals of Patterson), and was only 100% invested in Kathryn's narrative UNTIL the final act where Patterson's narrative became more interesting to me. The first third of the novel is really heavily reliant on the reader becoming invested in Patterson's story, I feel. The characters also sometimes felt really hollow, even the ones I actually liked. I don't know if I feel anyone had much character development in the novel, which is a bit of a shame and in the final act of the novel...we see that mostly everyone is static in a sense. Again, I'm toeing around spoiling aspects of the novel but I wish that Lambkin made good on some major plot points that could have been a catalyst for change in characters. An example is Marion, a woman who falls for Kathryn and Kathryn sort of falls for as well. One moment we're drawn in at the potential romance in play, then it's pulled away, then reintroduced. I don't really understand the purpose of Marion's character and ultimately maybe that is the point of what Lambkin's writing: there is no particular rhyme or reason for our behaviors, they just are what they are.Overall, an enjoyable book that I'd encourage people to read. Lambkin leans a bit heavily into the general Heart of Darkness narrative, but it's not so much that it feels like a carbon copy or anything and ultimately he does introduce some interesting questions in the novel.

  • Jim
    2019-03-14 05:37

    In general, a great read. There was one part which really seemed a bit ridiculous, to the point where I couldn't quite understand why the editor didn't insist on something more plausible. Nonetheless, an intriguing plot overall.

  • Irhelma Pieterse
    2019-03-05 00:32

    Love this book....

  • Jim Dooley
    2019-03-05 06:22

    This is one of the most unique books I've ever read, and something of an enigma. I've read it twice. The first time was several years ago, and I recalled it being one of the best books I'd read. Since it had been so long, I re-read it...and found to my surprise that I was much less impressed. It is still an intriguing premise, but the execution deflects involvement.THE HEART OF DARKNESS readily came to mind as I was reflecting on it. The story centers around a paleontologist who has discovered physical evidence of murder from 4-1/2 million years ago. Issues of violence being an inherent part of human nature revolve around mystical explanations and more modern violent confrontations. The exploration is fascinating, but the focus is not consistent. Is the author tying sexuality to violence...violence to mysticism....human nature to both...or is there something else working at the center of it all? Having finished this latest reading, I just don't know. The point appears to be little more than we all stand helpless in the face of violence and death.Characters appear to be created around existing attitudes. There aren't many rational explanations for most of the actions, even though those actions impel the story forward. It also releases key bits of information at random that would answer a number of the reader's questions...not as the result of inquiry or investigation. This "Oh, I think I'll tell you about this now" approach takes away any sense of forward momentum. Things just appear to happen.Having said all of that, I must still give full marks for the ambitious depth of the work. The questions it raises are fascinating and stayed with me long after the reading. It is worth the long as you pack plenty of patience.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-03-06 01:41

    I would not have finished this but for the love I have of the recommender and her high praise. I consider myself one who possesses a fairly decent vocabulary. I decided early to overlook the frequent use of scientific words. I still havent gotten around to looking up Miocene and Plistocene, or whatever words are close to those that are geologic time frames. But there were other descriptive words that I couldn't be bothered looking up - the word used repeatedly in the last 50 pages was contrapuntal. And now that I've looked up this last word, I think it was used incorrectly.The author seemed to be afflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder. By that I mean there were at least three stories in the book, two of which were related, the third was not related to the others. This might have been fine except that every once in awhile the author seemed to want to go off on some sort of Kenyan travelogue. This wasn't entirely bad as some of the descriptions were good enough for me to feel the African desert heat. Still, I would have preferred sticking to the story.

  • Sara
    2019-03-02 00:44

    I read this book years ago and sadly lost my copy. I have been wanting to re-read it ever since. I find the subject of paleo-anthropology fascinating, so throw in love and murder and you have an enthralling read. That much I do remember.I found the characters believable and layered enough to provide depth to the story. I think what I liked the most about the story was that I could to some level identify with Kathryn Widd - especially as I was in Johannesburg when I reading the story and had just completed my first year in African history. I like stories that refer to an historical event and also the questions that the book raised about our ancestors.I would need to read this book again so as to give this review more justice. But this was definitely a story that stuck with me - I couldn't put it down.

  • Margaret
    2019-03-26 07:23

    Honestly I have to say I feel rather lukewarm about this book. The plot had a couple of layers of mysteries but I just didn't feel very compelled by any of them. The author generated some suspense but gave too many hints about the ending so when I got there I wasn't surprised. I loved the African setting and I would love to go on a photo-safari some day but I think you'd have to have an interest in anthropology, palentology and hunting (unlike me) to really like this story. Ah well, I know someone out there will like it.

  • JoBeth
    2019-03-20 01:39

    I have a hard time rating/recommending this book. It was a compelling read, layered love stories/mysteries across 3 time periods, a fascinating look at an archeological dig, and vivid description of parts of Africa. It has the stain of colonialism - some AFrican characters are not even given the dignity of names - however that keeps me from recommending it more highly.

  • Sue
    2019-03-02 05:27

    An incredible book of over 400 pages that I could not put down. It took me a day and a half to read. He cleverly interweaves stories in a way that ensures that the reader is never confused. A masterpiece Lambkin.

  • Edward Crawford
    2019-03-06 23:48

    The worst thing is the book's dishonesty: it's as cliché ridden as any Wilbur Smith book, but filled with pretentious academic claptrap. So bad that I stopped halfway and didn't touch a novel for three years.

  • Nora Black
    2019-03-08 04:40

    Darkly, seductive, narrative. The writer pulls you into Africa, in a manner very few authors can muster. In this book you can hear, smell and taste the Land in all its heartbreaking beauty

  • Roniq
    2019-02-23 00:47

    I loved the mystery set in South Africa. Very good.

  • Polly
    2019-03-17 06:38

    most unusual book I have picked up in a long time

  • Amanda
    2019-03-20 23:39

    Really visual...really interesting. appeals to all five senses.

  • Mary Newcomb
    2019-03-15 06:29

    Two stories combine for a most intriguing tale of paleontology, love and adventure in the African desert.

  • Lynnea
    2019-02-27 23:18

    One of my all time favorite thrillers--science, the origen of man, Africa, eroticism, cruelty, and the fragility of life