Three Hours

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Member Reviews

Wow, what a fabulous read.
Three hours to save the pupils in a liberal school in Somerset.
Lots of great characters but especially two refugees who have been rescued and are just beginning to have a safe life. The refugees are Rafi and Basi who have witnessed terrible events and have learned to be survivors. I really wish that I had had the time to read this in one sitting - it was that good.
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This was not a comfortable read. The school setting, children in peril, Islamaphobia and Trump's tweets are too close to home. I did speed through the book - it does after all cover a three hour time frame, most of which I spent squirming in my seat. 

There is a level of chaos in the story which one would expect in the fraught situation, however I did come away with questions. Who was the third man? Why? Wouldn't the mobile and wifi be blocked to prevent news leaking in and out of the hostage site? 

Saying that if you fancy a thriller set in Somerset featuring disenchanted teenagers this is the book for you. I am off the read Margaret Atwood's 'The Testaments' which will probably make me squirm even more
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"And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself" (Rumi 1207-1273)

Rosamund Lupton begins this superb novel that could have ripped from our troubled world's recent news headlines, with the above quote, for in the midst of the nightmare that descends on a rural Somerset school on a cold, dark and snowy November morning, teachers and children's lives are to be changed forever. Their courage, love, fortitude and sense of community rises to the surface as their innocence is shattered in the face of the worst of people riddled with the cancer of an all consuming hatred. Lupton drops the reader right slap bang into the middle of the terror of the school taken over by well armed gunmen, shooting the kind and compassionate Head, Matthew Marr, who is dragged into the library by students. It is the brave Rafi Burkhani, suffering PTSD, a casualty of war torn Syria, who recognises a small explosion in the wood as a bomb, informing the Head, driven by his love of his younger, emotionally damaged brother, Basi, and his need to save him and others.

Rafi's girlfriend, Hannah, does the best she can to care for Matthew, trapped with other students in the library. Jacintha, the English teacher is reading poetry with her class in her efforts to cope with the unfolding tragedy. The local police officer is shot at, forced to take cover at the gatehouse. Thinking his brother is safe, Rafi returns to danger to ensure Hannah too is safe. The pottery room, located in the woods, is the most vulnerable place, a gunman outside pointing his gun at the class. In the most secure place, the theatre, the drama teacher, Daphne, locks in her students and presides over the dress rehearsal of Macbeth in her fight for a degree of normalcy, a play that drips with echoes of their own current deadly realities. Macbeth, with its witches, murder of the innocents, death, tyranny and terror, where Birnam wood marches to Dunsinane. Anguished parents pray for their children, desperate for news, whilst some, who should know better, fan the flames of Islamaphobia.

In a bone chillingly atmospheric narrative that goes back and forth in time, Lupton illuminates the longest, darkest, three hours of the soul, where a school defined by the most liberal and tolerant of values is seen as the devil incarnate by those whose hearts burn with a malignant, sick hatred, where the mass killing of innocent children is viewed as acceptable collateral with their bombs in fairytales. Shot throughout the most terrifying of scenarios is hope, light, and solidarity, as people discover what they are willing to die for, what they are made of, and who they truly are. As Matthew Marr states, in the end it is all about love, it is all that matters. For example, the Deputy Head, Neil Forbright, afflicted with depression, taking heroic actions without any thought to his own safety and the incomparable Rafi, fighting his own demons to save those he loves. This is an unbelievably amazing and brilliant read, traumatic, so engrossing, unforgettable, and intense. Cannot recommend this highly enough. Thanks to Penguin UK for an ARC.
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What a totally absorbing, amazing and powerful read this is and written with such feeling and emotion it made me lose myself in the story completely finding it hard when I put the book down looked around at my surroundings realising that I wasn’t actually witnessing the terrible events that were being played out, yet in the midst of all that horror there was love, bravery and hope. 
It’s an extraordinary book and I had expected it to be good by the reviews it was getting but nowhere as good as turned out to be and it’s also as scary as hell as it feels so real !!
When I was reading I was completely engrossed and when I stopped reading all I could do was to think about the book it really is that damn good.
It’s not an easy subject at all bringing out lots of emotions both of horror and fear but with love at its heart ....heartbreaking at times (it made me cry) but a wonderful read beautifully written and truly a book not to be missed. 
Many many thanks to Rosamund Lupton for a stunning novel I will never forget.
My thanks also to NetGalley and Penguin Books UK, Viking for giving me the chance to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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A lot about Three Hours was excellent.  I found it very gripping and well done a lot of the time, but it did have its flaws in the end.

This is the story of a school siege by initially unknown gunmen.  The school is in an isolated part of north Somerset and it is snowing heavily, giving the story extra atmosphere which Rosamund Lupton does very well.  It begins dramatically with the shooting of the headteacher and from there we get several points of view as it unfolds: various students including a refugee from Syria with PTSD, a parent, a police officer and so on.  These are all excellently handled and feel very real so that even filling in the back-stories, a device which can sometimes feel very clumsy and tired, seems natural to the narrative.  Lupton also writes very well much of the time; as an example, capturing the intensity of teenage love (before the siege has begun), “A white snowflake landed on a fiery gold strand of her hair and for a moment he saw the beauty of it,” which I thought very evocative and there’s plenty more of a similar quality.

For much of its length this was a five-star read for me – gripping, exciting, intelligent and thoughtful.  In the last third or so, though, there began to be just a few too many unlikely contrivances for the sake of a tense plot which weakened it for me.  Also, there is suddenly some rather heavy-handed political evengelising.  I agree entirely with what Lupton is saying and she is making very important points, but it did feel a little clumsy and over-polemical to me.

That said, Three Hours is still very good.  It is very well researched, I found it hard to put down and Lupton’s thoughtful and sensitive portraits of her characters are excellent.  Recommended.

(My thanks to Penguin Books for an ARC via NetGalley.)
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Wow!  A rollercoaster of a book with a great plot.  I really enjoyed this and came to care about many of the characters.  Although the setting (a middle England, quiet school) did feel wrong as we are more used to hearing about these atrocities in America, I think this gave an extra  chilling dimension to the story.  Fabulous. I’m going to buy this in non electronic form for my husband as he only reads five books a year and this must be one of them
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A school isn't under siege and no one knows why or by whom. We hear from the wounded headmaster, the young girl in love and the 16 year old Syrian refugee, desperate to find and rescue his brother. The story is set in winter in a snow blizzard which makes the situation more tense. 
It is enthralling to hear the takes of each of these people and see how they entwine and to finally realise why the siege is happening.
Definitely worth a read.
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Three hours is the tense and gripping story about an armed siege at a school. At first I assumed the school was in the USA and when it became clear that it was in fact a British school the story became all the more scary. 
The story is so topical; dealing with refugees and radicalisation of young people. 
Lupton's novel are compelling and this story is as brilliant as her others. You feel horror at the events she describes and empathy for one of the perpetrators and, in particular, for his parents.
I recommend this book 100%
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Thought this book had a good plot and was thought provoking.
But I found it irritating at times, especially when the phones were either running out of charge or had ran out
Also got confused at times who was where
I have read all the previous books by this author
Unfortunately this one didn't quite hit the mark

Thank you netgalley, Rosumund Lupton and Penguin UK
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This was a tense and intense book.  Certainly gripping and compelling read with a scary realistic situation of a school under siege by radicalised youths.  A roller coaster of emotions with plenty of suspense. Quite scary in how such a situation could indeed take place with control of social media and sophisticated internet use by extremist groups

It is a book that will stay with the reader long after finishing and should make us all more aware of what could happen.
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Three Hours is a very compelling, dramatic book which kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.  The subject of a school under siege by armed gunmen is a scary one, and the action flits from character to character both inside and outside the school, building tension continually.  I have to say I guessed the last two twists in the book, which I don’t normally, but this didn’t stop my enjoyment. In fact it increased the terror factor as I knew what was coming.  One of the few books I’ve read this year which I’m wanting time in my day to sit and read.  Highly recommended. 

Thank you so much to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my opinion.  Rosamund is a new author to me, and I’ll be reading more of her books in the future.
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The author tackled such a hard and emotional subejct of school shotings brilliantly.  The painstaking research that she must have undertook is clear to see. 

180 minutes that changed the lives of many people as sadly these incidents always do.  You found yourself investing in the lives and safety of each character as the storyline built and agonising over the injustice of it all.
I was hooked from the moment I starterd reading it and this stayed throughout.

An excellent read.
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Set in a school in Somerset, Three Hours is about a school under lock down. It starts with the headmaster being shot and the drama escalates from there. Some of the children have been evacuated but the rest are trapped in two parts of the school. While a young Syrian refuge struggles to rescue his little brother and locate his girlfriend, other pupils are being kept busy in the theatre rehearsing their production of Macbeth and the Police are trying to work out who is holding them hostage.

I read Three Hours while on holiday and kept making excuses to leave our group of friends to read more of this excellent book. A fast-paced, brilliant roller coaster read that I could not put down. Terrifying, exhilarating and exceptionally good!
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This is a fabulous thriller by an author I had not read before - but maybe not advisable for parents of school age children!

Set in a school on the cliffs outside of Minehead in Somerset, a small bomb detonates in the woods, as the children arrive for school.  The school initiates an amber alert, which quickly escalates and the school goes into full lockdown.  The book describes what happens next from the viewpoint of some of the pupils, the parents and the police.

I enjoyed reading the different viewpoints.  One minute you are considering the backstory of young Syrian refugees and then moving on to the anxieties of the parents with trapped or missing children and then reading about the children in the theatre rehearsing Macbeth.  There are literary quotes throughout, mostly from Macbeth and they are cleverly woven into the fabric of the story.

The suspense builds and builds and it got to the point that I just had to sit in the garden and finish the book.  There is a great twist at the end which I didn't see coming at all.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Penguin Books (UK) - Viking, for the ARC.

Wow! talk about mystery and suspense, bravery and emotion - what an excellent read! - and I read every word, soaking-in the atmosphere created by great writing - what an engaging film this would make!
(OK - you get the gist - I Loved it.)

Set in rural Somerset; a large school campus within and bordered by forest, cliffs and sea.  The Old (upper) School, Victorian, which has been connected to the new Theatre by a glassed-in corridor; the New (lower) School, situated above the cliffs;  the Gatehouse guarding the long driveway.  Forrest,  forestry paths, snow and intermittent blizzard conditions provide the backdrop to this intense story.
Sixth-formers Rafi and Hannah are in love; Rafi's younger brother is in the lower school and suffers from PTSD from his life and escape from Syria - Rafi always there to protect him.
A sniper shoots Matthew Marr, the Headmaster, in the head.  The 6th-formers are in the library stacking books against the door to protect them from the gunman stalking the corridor.  Hannah tends to her Headmaster.  Phone calls for help reach the police and parents.   Parents are directed to the community centre to await news.  The police set up a control room where a psychologist tries to identify who the gunmen might be.
A class is in the Theatre rehearsing Macbeth but the doors have to be kept closed against the walkway that could allow the gunman to enter.
A device explodes in the woods - Rafi recognises the sound and races to protect his brother.
How can anyone escape from this siege?  What do these gunmen want?
Parents wait for news of their children but the tone of conversation begins to slant towards terrorism being brought to them by the presence of 'the refugees'.

This is just so intense, so moving; several story-strands coming together and lots of little twists and turns - couldn't guess the ending.
Thoroughly recommended.
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An intriguing thriller with believable characters that kept me turning the pages! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an advanced reading copy.
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This was a spectacular read. I loved how the different perspectives intertwined and came together. The plot was engaging and thought-provoking throughout. Rosamund Lupton writes about topics that are both shockingly awful and painfully current. 

I read ‘Three Hours’ in one sitting, as I found that I simply could not put the book down. The characters are incredibly well written and the reader is drawn in to the mind of each different story. I found myself on a rollercoaster of emotions as the plot unfolded and Lupton maintained this until the very last word of the book. 

This is a truly fabulous tale of friendship, society and bravery but most of all it is a story of love, in all its forms.
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A refugee named Rafi is the first to spot that something is amiss on a snowy morning at school, attuned as he is to the sound of bombs and gunfire. This character-led novel has moments of tension and heart-break, but the spell is somewhat broken by a proselytising tone whereby every individual is either saintly or psycho. Beautifully written, but doesn't break any new narrative ground.
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What a sensitive and brave subject Rosamund Lupton has tackled wonderfully. This topic was written about so well, considering how prevalent the subject of school shootings are at the moment. 

I felt a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach almost all the way through the long drawn out 180 minutes, finding myself entirely invested in each character's safety. If you are into torturing yourself in that sense, I 100% recommend this book!

Effective character building and a seriously impressive ability to keep the reader hooked in the moment.
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Thrilling page turner.  Beautifully written and very emotional.   Recommended for fans of Jodi Picoult.
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