The Inheritance by Simon Tolkien

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A complex mystery of deception and betrayal that follows the court case of a young man set to hang for the murder of his father When a famed Oxford historian is found dead in his study one night, all evidence points to his son, Stephen. About to be disinherited from the family fortune, Stephen returns to home after a long estrangement—and it happens to be the night his father is shot to death. When his fingerprints are found on the murder weapon, Stephen’s guilt seems undeniable. But there were five other people in the manor house at the time, and as their stories slowly emerge—along with the revelation that the deceased man was involved in a deadly hunt for a priceless relic in Northern France at the end of World War II—the race is on to save Stephen from a death sentence.

Everyone has a motive, and no one is telling the truth.

Unwilling to sit by and watch the biased judge condemn Stephen to death, an ageing police inspector decides to travel from England to France to find out what really happened in that small French village in 1945—and what artifact could be so valuable it would be worth killing for.

Author Simon Tolkien received rave reviews for his first legal thriller, The Final Witness. Now, in The Inheritance, Tolkien sharpens his craft even more, deftly weaving psychological suspense and family drama to create a mystery steeped in memories, betrayal, and the long shadow of the past. Part courtroom drama and part historical thriller, The Inheritance is a dark, dynamic thriller that tests the strength of blood ties, loyalty, and revenge.

About Simon Tolkien

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Simon Tolkien was a successful barrister in London, specializing in criminal justice, before moving to California with his wife and two children.  His first novel, Final Witness, was published in 2002 to widespread acclaim and his second, The Inheritance, received equally positive reviews when it came out in 2009. He is the grandson of J.R.R.Tolkien. Visit him online at
Published April 7, 2010 by Minotaur Books. 336 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Horror. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Inheritance

Kirkus Reviews

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In any event, he began to wish he’d spent some time looking into certain unpleasant events involving Professor—then Colonel—Cade that happened in a church in northern France at the end of the war, something to do with a mysterious codex and an ancient, jewel-encrusted cross.

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Publishers Weekly

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Set in 1959, Tolkien's strong if somewhat formulaic legal thriller, his second after The Final Witness , centers on the trial at London's Old Bailey of Stephen Cade, who stands accused of murdering his Oxford historian father.

Feb 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Inheritance

BC Books

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The first time I read the books, it was The Two Towers, the second book in the trilogy, that almost prevented me from finishing series.

Nov 06 2008 | Read Full Review of The Inheritance

New York Journal of Books

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The Inheritance is a frantic mix between the traditional locked-room whodunnit and a labyrinthine Da Vinci Code-type plot.One part historical thriller, one part courtroom drama and sprinkled with red herrings and misdirection, The Inheritance certainly has the paint-by-numbers feel of a Dan Brown...

Apr 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Inheritance

Book Reporter

Simon Tolkien shares a literary lineage passed on from his grandfather, J.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Inheritance

Reviewing the Evidence

Although he has investigated the case and been obliged to charge Stephen with murder, Inspector Trave of the Oxford Police cannot convince himself that Stephen is guilty.

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Common Sense Media

Many bloody battles, with large numbers of deaths (including that of a major character) and injuries (including some that are self-inflicted), many described: beheadings, disembowelments, snapping of necks and spines, limbs lopped off, pecking out of eyes, whipping, piles of bodies, spurting bloo...

Sep 20 2008 | Read Full Review of The Inheritance

I have always been good at puttint words together and i just hope that they prove to any one reading this just how good they are and if for some reason you have not read these books that my review will encourage you to read them but also to make your own judgement on these books.

Jun 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The Inheritance

In the promotional material accompanying the book, Simon Tolkien remarks that he has set the book back in time partly because he feels that there is "an old-fashioned quality to [his] writing that makes the 1950s a good fit" for him.

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SciFi Online

When Eragon finds a polished stone in the forest, he thinks it is a lucky discovery, but when the stone becomes a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Oct 09 2008 | Read Full Review of The Inheritance

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