Cover Image: The Riddle of the Fractal Monks

The Riddle of the Fractal Monks

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Member Reviews

I appreciate having had an opportunity to read and review this book. The appeal of this particular book was not evident to me, and if I cannot file a generally positive review I prefer simply to advise the publisher to that effect and file no review at all.
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Tom Winscombe and Dorothy Chan were hoping for a quiet evening out listening to choral music by twelfth century Saint Hildegard of Bingen. Their plans get sent somewhat awry though by the death of robed monk, after falling from an upper gallery. They're soon off on a trail which leads them to a very strange religious order, and to Isaac Vavasor, custodian of the papers of his famous brothers, mathematical geniuses Archie and Pye. Somewhere along the way there are alpacas and pigs, a missing thesis to be retrieved from the bed of the Bristol Channel, an assassin with a harpoon gun, a secret mountain-top monastery to break in to, and people who'll do anything to stop Tom and Dorothy finding out whatever the monks are hiding. 

This is the third of Tom and Dorothy's adventures, and really if you want to understand all about the exciting ground-breaking mathematical theories of the Vavasor twins, the applications they can have in the 'real' world, and the lengths people will go to to get their hands on a few equations, you're best to read The Truth About Archie and Pye, and A Question of Trust before embarking on this story. You could just plunge straight in though; you'll probably pick up the gist of things as events spiral out of control.
It doesn't really take a lot to get Dorothy involved in anything concerning the Vavasors, and where Dorothy goes Tom is often not so much just behind as being sent in front to do the dangerous stuff. Dorothy is definitely the brains, while Tom provides the, well, 'muscle' doesn't seem quite the right word, but something close. I've lost count of the ways he's avoided a bizarre death so far, and this time is no different.  
Throughout lockdown, I've struggled to find books that hold my interest. Maybe because this is just not trying to reflect the 'real world, it did. It's maybe not an overly plausible story-line, but it's a compelling read and a lot of fun.  

Tom is never going challenge James Bond at espionage, but he's always willing to try.
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The Riddle of the Fractal Monks is the third in the Mathematical Mystery series by Jonathan Pinnock. Released 16th April 2020 by Duckworth on their Farrago imprint, it's 304 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

The setup and humor remind me very much of other humorous British SF(ish) classics: Fforde, Fowler, Grant/Naylor, Moore, Stross, Aaronovitch, et.al. It's not derivative, not really, the author has a slightly different humorous slant and oh, good heavens, the puns flow like a mighty river. Whilst reading, I definitely felt like the aforementioned authors were being channeled though...

There are genuinely funny moments and the pacing is frenetic and relentless. The bad guys are boo-worthy, the good guys are plucky and funny and brave (if often quite hapless) and the end result is enjoyably readable. This is precisely the type of mystery/speculative fiction I adore and I was honestly captivated from literally the first page. This is the first book in a while which has made me stay up late reading. The author is adept at writing in necessary backstory, so it does work well enough as a standalone, but I recommend the other volumes in the series quite highly.

Four and a half stars, rounded up for the writing. People who loathe puns (or intelligent humour) will likely not enjoy this one. Fans of Laundry Files, Red Dwarf, HHGttG, and the others will find a lot to like until the next Shadow Police novel hits the stands (if it ever does... yes, I'm lookin' at you, Paul Cornell). For North American readers, the spellings and vernacular are British English. Nothing which should prove frustrating in context.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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This was a surprise, after not enjoying either of the first 2 books in this series I was not sure why I chose to download the 3rd. However, during lockdown I wanted something to read and started The Riddle of the Fractal Monks and found myself really quite enjoying it. I may even go back and try the other 2. Whether it is because the characters seemed to have developed, or the start of the story gripped me more, I don't know, but I'm glad I gave it a go.
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The premise for this, a mathematical mystery, was so intriguing. Unfortunately, the execution was a bit of a let-down. The dynamic between the characters didn't work for me, and the humour wasn't good enough to keep me reading on. The mystery itself, involving murderous monks, is quite bonkers but might work for some people.

At about halfway through, I did remember that I DNF'd the first book in the series a few years ago. And while my second go at the series was slightly more successful, I don't see myself picking up the first two books (again).
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This is part of a series that I haven't read and I didn't feel it worked well as a standalone.  The premise was interesting--mathematical thrillers--but I couldn't get into the story and it took me a long time to finish.  Not a bad book, just didn't connect with me.  If the premise strikes your fancy, I'd recommend starting at the beginning in order to understand the backstory.
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The Riddle of the Fractal Monks by Jonathan Pinnock is a quirky comedy mystery. It combines some psychopathic monks with a fascination for fractal mathematics with a hapless pair of heroes who seem to be immune to any of the ridiculous situations that they fond themselves encountering. They are all searching for a missing PhD thesis by a friend of the heroes, but really who cares?

I can’t think of a redeeming feature to this novel, apparently it is part of a series which I will avoid.
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This was probably the best of the three books. It is quite possible that by now, I am accustomed to the randomness of events or the even more random conversations between the main protagonists. This time around, there is no time spent on pleasantries, and we are plunged quite literally into the narrative. For those who haven't read the previous books, this will make little to no sense so I highly advise either reading a very detailed synopsis of the last two if not the books entirely (the latter might be the best course of action). Without too much of spoiler, Tom and Dorothy ended the previous escapade with things looking good for them life-wise, but Dorothy is obsessed with the Vavasors, and it turns out she is still digging. It is hard to imagine that there is something to unearth at this point, but this instalment proves us wrong in a very spectacularly grand fashion.

It seemed like the pace was also much faster than the previous times they set out to investigate. Their learning capacity appears to have progressed. I was a little surprised to find out at the end that we have yet another mystery waiting for us. I was partly annoyed and partly happy because my reaction to this particular book meant that I might like the next as well. It is always nice to look forward to a sure thing. Annoyed because it seemed nearly impossible that there could be anything left for them to do. Old friends and even older enemies come out of the woodwork, and there are a lot of hunches that are followed here. The crumbs of clues lead them on a very wild chase with people in close pursuit nearly all the time. I even got the maths of this one a little more than before. If you are on the lookout for a wacky series of (almost) misadventures, then this might just be it. 

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience and my knowledge of the previous books in the series.
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What a quirky book this is, fun to read, very appealing and a different mystery for me. No my usual style of book but I did enjoy it and a bit of a page turner
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A new favourite in my favourite series! From the bottom of the sea to the mountain top, Tom is chased by a group of psychopathic monks. Loads of nerd fun, nerd humour, wild goose chase, two alpacas and the mystery behind the Vavosor twins, this book is absolutely superb! 
Excellent storytelling, a mystery that keeps you hooked on, and an exploding helicopter! Highly recommended series for mystery and math lovers.
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A good mix of mystery and humor. This has interesting characters involved in a fun plot. It's pretty engaging, and includes some funny parts. It's also engaging. Recommended.

I really appreciate the ARC for review!!
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great story abot a couple who solves a few murders concering a specal mathematical problem. It is fund to read, because everything is somehow connected to math .
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About a year and a half ago I read The Truth about Archie and Pye. It was listed as a Mathematical Puzzle Book and I thought it would have some sort of puzzles in it for there reader to solve. I was wrong then.

Forgetting that I had read that, I picked up The Riddle of the Fractal Monks. It is part of the series which I realized by the end of the first chapter. 

My assessment of this book is virtually the same as the first book. The characters are interesting. Yes, I did have to laugh at parts. But once again, I was taken aback by the language used in the book.

I closed my last review saying that I would miss reading the further adventures of Tom and Dorothy, but I wouldn't read any more of the books in this series. There are too many other books to read that I will not be assaulted page after page by the language in them. My mistake. In the future I will remember the author and not be drawn in by clever titles. I will invest my time in books I can completely enjoy.
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I was actually delighted that I found out this was the third book in the series. I figured it was worth reading the first two first, which was a good idea. Although the books are standalone stories, there are a lot of details and spoilers if you don't read the others.
I have spent the last two weeks with Jonathan's characters and it was super lovely. Reminded me of Carl Hiaasen (I love his books). So this is the third adventure for Tom, Dorothy and Ali and some of the fringe characters.
While the first book was paced well, the drama unfolds in every chapter and you will be sitting on the edge of your chair. Tom is a really likeable protagonist, although I would have personally made every single decision differently. The book feels very international though set in England, and sometimes some British pop slang seeps through. I really enjoy math, but I can't say if the difficult stuff is actually correct, but I assume so. I loved all the conspiracy theory stuff, crazy monks, people winding up dead (am usually very pacifistic). 
It was really a perfect book to take my mind off of Corona. Every time you read you will say to yourself "this is the last chapter", but it is not. Read it in two sittings. Am very excited for the fourth book when it's done.
Highly recommend if you want to really dive into something for a few hours.
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Really enjoy this series.Wonderful characters draw me in keep me turning the pages.A series I recommend to anyone looking for a well written fun book.#netgalley#duckworthbooks
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In The Riddle of The Fractal Monks, Tom and Dorothy are once again drawn into the pursuit for proof of a mathematical formula that has the potential to change the world, and not necessarily for the better.  This time, they are joined in the pursuit by an obscure order of monks who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the formula.  I don't even begin to understand the mathematics beyond a basic level, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the book.  Tom and Dorothy have a great sarcastic banter, with Dorothy usually having the upperhand, and the cast of characters, including the alpacas, provide a great deal of wit.  The book is clever, and for this series, this may have the fastest moving plot, really pulling the reader along.  It's a very clever book, and many thanks to NetGalley and Duckworth Books for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I have enjoyed this series and this, the third, is another very entertaining instalment.

The plot is cheerfully bonkers.  Frankly, I don’t know how to begin to explain it but it involves mysterious and violent monks, fractal geometry, a pair of alpacas, some of the usual enjoyably silly but rather exciting episodes of Dan and Dot being in mortal danger (usually having put themselves there) and so on.  It’s great fun and very well written and structured with the rather hapless Dan narrating while the women do the brainwork.  Dot’s business partner Ali is on fine, scathing and abusive form (I laughed out loud more than once at her comments) and all in all it’s a terrific, cheering read especially in such troubled times.

These books perhaps aren’t utter comic masterpieces but they are very amusing and just immense fun to read.  Warmly recommended.

(My thanks to Farrago for an ARC via NetGalley.)
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This series never disappoints and all the books are well written and entertaining. This one was no exception.
I loved the plot, was happy to meet again the characters and had a lot of fun.
An engrossing and fun story, highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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fanciful, fanatics, spoof, mathematics, verbal-humor, situational-humor

If you geek out on maths you'll be right at home with this hilarious bit of fun. I do wish I'd read the others first, but that didn't stop the laughing. Tom is the not-quite-clueless half of the pair and Dorothy is the certifiable geek. Together they meet people who are more like Bedlamites than anything else. Guaranteed laughs!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Duckworth Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
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The Riddle of the Fractal Monks is a wild ride: an over-the-top math/tech/mystery/humor novel that is the third volume in a series built around the work of a deceased pair of genius-level twin mathematicians, Archimedes and Pythagoras Vavasor. Though this was the third volume in the series and I hadn't read the first two I had no trouble following the narrative which begins with a monk plunging from a balcony to his death at a concert of music composed by Hildegard Von Bingen and grows more and more bizarre from that point. Llamas? Yes. Obscure and murderous monastic orders? Yes. Self defense with a meat cleaver? Yes. This is a perfect book if you're looking for a bit of undemanding, upbeat entertainment. I know I'll be going back to read the first two volumes in the series one of these days when I need a textual pick-me-up.

I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions are my own.
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