Published in March 2011 as a Kindle e-book (this copy kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review)
Description (from Goodreads)
The Cambridge List is an action-packed, ever-so-English dark comedy about gods, sex and death amidst the ivory towers of Cambridge University.
James Connor thinks that murdering his former professors in cold blood is rather a bad idea. Unfortunately his head has been commandeered by a bloodthirsty family of Greek gods, so he doesn’t have a say in the matter. With Hera and Aphrodite at each other’s throats and Dionysos failing to keep order, James’s brain has become a cosmic conflict zone, and he’s worried they’ll leave it in ruins. There’s only one way out: he has to go from socially inept young man to slick sociopath fast. If only he wasn’t so squeamish about mass slaughter.
Follow the world’s least menacing serial killer on his awkwardly murderous journey through the little town of Cambridge, where ancient rituals, scheming academics and divine politics collide. And where murder has consequences unforeseen even by the gods themselves…
The Cambridge List is a book that mingles the UK with the well known gods of Greek mythology in a way that is completely and utterly unique. In this story, the gods have decided to take residence in James Connor's brain, each one of them inhabiting a certain area of it (and yes, that is significant, but I'm not going to tell you why). This 'habitation' of James' brain is brought on by an untested drug (developed by his friend Bumrash's -yes, you read that right - lab) called Flanoxiride.
Through this connection, the Greek gods are determined to take their revenge on the University of Cambridge Classics Department, who have been shunning them (and anything that adds to their positive image) in their efforts to secure a vast amount of money for themselves, which is supposed to be used towards research on the Greek gods and the classical era. I know I'm making it sound complicated, but it isn't really. So, they compose a list (also known as The Cambridge List) with 5 professors of the Classics Department who must be killed (just so that the gods can get their revenge). And it's James who must do the deed(s), with the help of the Muse (known throughout the book as Muesli).
I have to say quite honestly that I did not enjoy this book. I actually really struggled to finish it. The reason for that was not the story itself (as that was actually quite an original and very good idea), but rather the execution. And by execution, I mean the way in which it was written. The language felt a little unrefined. The expression itself was not poorly done, I just believe it was probably in need of a little more editing. But what bothered me to the point of nearly abandoning the story was the swearing. And I mean A LOT of swearing. And really bad swearing at that. In the beginning, it was actually funny, but then it stopped being funny, to the point of eventually becoming annoying. Obviously the Greek gods could not treat each other respectfully (as they were all rather selfish entities/personalities in one way or another), but I felt that the swearing in this book was just over the top.
All in all, while this book was not for me, it might appeal to others, if they feel that they can overlook the swearing and focus on the story. For me, the swearing took too much away from it.
Robert Clear is a British author from London. He attended Cambridge University, where he studied about the Greek gods, hence the inspiration for his novel. You can find out more about him, as well as read an excerpt of his book, on his blog! You can buy the book from Amazon here (.co.uk site | .com site).
Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011
(Disclaimer: All thoughts in this review are entirely my own. I have not been compensated in any way (other than the provision of the e-book for review) and I do not gain any money from the Amazon links. They are there for information purposes.)