Cover Image: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

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Member Reviews

I would normally be the first person to run a mile from any book that has the word 'literary' written about it, and literary criticism and analysis are not my forte.
However, I happened upon this book - presumably because the word fantasy was also used, and I was rapidly sucked into this book.  (See what I did?)
It was brilliant!  I do love books that are very unusual, and where the author has managed to find a totally original idea and developed it well.  Well, reader, I learnt a lot.  And had a great deal of fun, unable to put down this captivating book.
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DNF. I couldn't connect with this book at all and found it really hard to get into. I had high hopes for this, which is a shame.
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I was supposed to visit New Zealand this summer (2020) for the World Science Fiction Convention, but Covid 19 pus a stop to that. Therefore when I realised this book is set in NZ, in Wellington where the con was to have taken place, I was interested to read it. And I'm glad I did because this is one of the most original and unusual books I've read this year. It's a story about story and about the relationship between two brothers. Brotherly love versus sibling rivalry. It's mostly told through the first person narrative of successful lawyer, Rob Sutherland, the older brother, and Charley, the genius younger one who has the incredible ability to pull living, breathing characters out of books. Charley's ability has always tested Rob's patience, since he's the one who always feels obliged to clean up any mess Charley or his character creations leave behind. Charley's been away studying at Oxford (England) but now he's arrived back in Wellington to teach English Literature at the university, which has brought him back into Rob's orbit. After a run in with Uriah Heep and the Hound of the Baskervilles it becomes obvious that not all is well in the world of fictional characters. It's a good job, then, that they have the wisdom of Sherlock Holmes to call on, and the jolly-good, what-ho enthusiasm of Millie Radcliffe-Dix, girl detective. There's another summoner trying to bring about the end of the world as we know it. Expect to meet a whole host of characters, from Heathcliffe and Dorian Grey to Miss Matty, the White Witch, and five slightly different Mr Darcys. I really enjoyed the novelty of this. It's a love letter to literature. Highly recommended.
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This is such a unique book, the concept is executed so perfectly and it is a must read for bibliophiles.
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The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep was just good fun. The literary characters were full of, well, character, and the setting of New Zealand was really fresh and interesting to me.
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Kiwi Copperfield

So, characters from great works of fiction can be drawn from the pages of their stories into life where they establish a secret village in the centre of Wellington, NZ. Great! However, there are baddies too, not least Uriah Heep, who plan to make trouble not just for the liberated characters, but for humanity too – a bad wind’s coming and change is nigh. Enter brothers Rob and Charley Sutherland who must fight against the establishment of the New World Order – yes, and their allies, the five Darceys, Dorian Gray, Sherlock Holmes and my  personal favourite, girl adventurer, Milly Radcliffe – Dix (the author’s own invention).

The novel is a lot of fun; it has an exciting narrative, flirts with absurdity and plays with the tenets of modern literary criticism – I would have personally liked more of this, but the author was probably wise not to overdo it. This is a very enjoyable, preposterous, entertaining farrago of intelligent nonsense.
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A book for book lovers, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is the story of two brothers, one secret and a whole lot of missing and troublesome  literary characters. Charley Sutherland has the ability to bring characters from books into the real world. Any character – good or bad. But it’s a talent that must stay hidden, and his fiercely protective older brother Rob  -- a young lawyer with an utterly normal life, is determined it stays that way. Rob has always looked after Charley, coming to his aid whenever there’s the inevitable character mishap, but when book characters start popping up all over the city causing mayhem, Rob reluctantly realises that Charley’s talents may not be kept a secret for much longer. And there also might be someone else out there with the same powers as Charley. 

The characters are the real selling point for the novel. Both Rob and Charley, and their rather dysfunctional relationship, are a delight to read as Parry adds backstory and emotion to their complicated life. There’s an underlying current of responsibility and reluctant affection from Rob towards his brother that shapes the dynamic between them. It’s almost as if Rob resents always having to look out for Charley and he really doesn’t understand Charley’s obsession with books and the characters he brings to life. He’s almost the side character to his own story, as the book is narrated through his eyes – which created  a very unique perspective. Charley, by comparison, always seem to be overly grateful to Rob. He’s exceptionally sweet and innocent, with this weight of power of his shoulders and an expectation to do great things with it, that he personally feels that he can’t live up to. He was such a great character – and one that was easy to connect to. The two character arcs – both indivudally, and also in their changing and growing relationship towards each other was really wonderful to see. The lack of romantic elements also enhanced this. This is a story firmly about familial love and affection.

Aside from the brothers, it’s also the literary characters that help bring this story to life. Parry has an obvious passion and enthusiasm for these famous names in literature, as she weaves new life and adventure into these characters. They’re not just miserable Uriah Heep, or stuck up Mr Darcy – they’re more than one dimensional, more than singularly interpreted and I adored this concept. There’s humour and depth added to their personas that greatly enhances the story, mixed with their perception of the current world they suddenly find themselves thrust in.


The plot itself isn’t past paced, with lots of individual stories interweaving and focusing on different literary characters, while at the same time driving home this point about complex family relationships. As a result, I did struggle in the beginning to get to grips with the story – but about 100 pages in a fell hard for these brothers. I also found the ending a little rushed and anticlimactic. However, this didn’t curb my overall enjoyment for the story.

Unique bookish story that features some memorable faces, and a complex family dynamic. Highly recommend.
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Charles Sutherland has the ability to read characters out of their books. For his entire life, he has had to hide this ability, and his brother Robert has repeatedly had to come to his aid, to catch and put characters back in their books when he’s bought them out by accident. However, when Charley accidentally brings Uriah Heep into the real world, he comes with a warning: A new world is coming. But what will happen to the one that’s already here when it does?

I looooooooved this book. Loved loved loved it. The concept – characters being read out of their books and into the real world – isn’t new, but the way Parry does it is. The focus being on Dickensian characters worked really well, and I thought Parry’s analysis of different interpretations of the characters was really interesting. The beloved characters have clearly been well researched, and remain true to their original incarnations, but with more comedic personalities.

Rob and Charley were both fantastic lead characters, while Millie and the supporting fictional cast were delightful. I loved the Mr Darcys and Heathcliff, in particular.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is funny, exciting and very well-written. It isn’t exactly a fast-paced story, but it’s very eventful and captivating throughout. It’s the perfect mix of mystery, family drama and Victorian literature – a bibliophile’s dream.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a delightful rendering of the magic of reading. Told from the perspective of a lawyer whose brother can pull fictional characters from the pages of books into the real world, this book was so much fun for a literature lover. When I saw the title of this novel, I knew I had to read it because Uriah Heep was such a great, grotesque Dickens character, that he's always stuck out in my mind. I completely disappeared into this creative literary twist like I was pulled into its pages. If you love classics, especially Victorian literature, you'll appreciate this book
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This is such a good book! It's about two brothers, one of which has the ability to bring characters out of books and make them real (and often does accidentally!) and the older brother who tells the story and would just like life to be normal and boring for once. The brothers relationship was THE BEST thing about this very awesome book. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time and just so realistic and loving yet complicated!

Charlie, the magical younger brother of the two, is a literary critic and university professor who was attended university as a child and has a liking for all things Dickens which brings about lots of Victorian complications into real life, including a whole street of real fictional characters, a lot of whom aren't such good people. Rob, the elder brother, is a lawyer with a lovely girlfriend and an ordinary life he loves. But he has to keep sneaking away to save Charlie and have unwilling adventures by his side to keep him safe, all while feeling inferior compared to his prodigy-level smart little brother. The way their relationship developed and the way they saw each other was so good, and I loved all the backstory of how complicated but loving their relationship had always been. I loved all the fictional characters too, from Dorian Grey, to Darcy, to Sherlock Holmes and the Jaberwocky. It was always exciting to see a new one that I recognised and see how they acted together in modern life and what mischief they got up to.

Basically, come for the really cool book magic, fall in love with the deep and complicated sibling relationship.
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Highly enjoyable read.

The fantasy element is brilliant, with characters from classic books entering the real world (including some favourites)! Convincingly written and definitely engaging. There was a slow building mystery theme which was a fun addition and I particularly enjoyed the light literary scholarship with exploration into different interpretations of characters and traits. 

Alongside the fantasy, this is a story about family and friendship which revolves around two brothers, one a lawyer and one a professor of literature.  I thought these two main characters were very well developed and their relationship was realistic and touching. However, I was a bit disappointed with the plot for the parents, and I found the girlfriend highly irritating and unnecessary throughout. 

This was close to a 5star for me, but just fell somewhat flat in places.
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I'm thoroughly impressed with this standalone fantasy. Besides the awesomeness of the premise (characters from classic books entering real-world), it offers excellent character development and dynamics. It's a book about books but also about family and friendship. There's an intriguing mystery that pulled me through the novel.

All told, well worth your time and money.
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This is something of a carnival of literary characters drawn together into an amazing whole. Charles Sutherland is a child prodigy who spent four minutes clinically dead immediately after birth. He also has a somewhat unusual ability to read characters out of books into the real world and then read them back in again. His brother Rob. a successful lawyer and his mother and father seem completely ordinary. Then the world shifts and fiction invades the streets of Wellington New Zealand. It is a complex but brilliantly staged narrative that requires concentration. It isn't an easy read but it is definitely a satisfying one. It reminds me of works by Jasper Fforde much more than of the books cited in the blurb. It is the debut novel of H G Parry and bodes well for more from her in the future.

It does not fall far short of the 5 star rating apart from the fact that for me it took a bit of keeping the narrative straight in my head it would have been there
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Literary characters who can, for essentially magical (or sufficiently advanced technological reasons, as Clarke defined it) reasons can become alive in the non-book world.  Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next and Cordelia Funke’s Inkheart immediately sprang to mind when I started on this novel.    For different reasons, both of those authors produced convincing stories which I enjoyed.  I was, therefore, primed to submerge into this kind of fantastical world.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the overwhelming joy of meeting a work of literary scholarship buried inside a ‘Master Mind Trying to Take Over The World’ novel.  And that novel also works on its standard genre rules; good guys, bad guys, love interests, perils a plenty, confrontations, births and deaths, world in peril.  This is a work of brilliance.
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I enjoyed The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep - just not as much as I hoped I would. There's a lot to like - a large dose of fantasy, interesting characters, some good debate on Dickens's fiction - but there was a lot I struggled with to.

The dialogue was too dense and too verbose, a sure sign that it's forced and lacking reality. The same conversations were had multiple times, and each one could have been drastically reduced, so combined they became laborious.

Likewise the relationship between the brothers, without giving anything away, the same incident was continuously repeated to make sure we understood. As Browne and King said in their excellent "Self-editing for Fiction Writers", pay the reader the complement of assuming they’re intelligent - if it's said right, it doesn't need that level of repetition.

With some editing, this book could've been excellent (instead of just good), I felt it was a missed opportunity.

Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
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from Book Riot:

"This fanciful literary thriller is a delight for bibliophiles. Strange tidings are afoot in Wellington, New Zealand, where some cosmic strangeness means that literary characters are coming to life and populating a parallel part of the city. Uriah Heep is bent on revenge; Dorian Gray is an unreliable hacker; and there are multiple Mr. Darcys. The premise is irresistible but also tricky; this could easily have turned into tedious crossover fanfic or endless Dickens adoration. Instead, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep finds compassion for even the Uriah Heeps of the world, while spinning a page-turning yarn about saving humankind from them."
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The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

4 STARS

Thank you to the [publishers for an e-ARC of this book.

A fun, charming and delightful novel about two brothers - very different from one another - and the lively world of literature. 

The author puts in many favourites for reader's to be delighted by - Dickens, Holmes and a whole host of 'famous' literary characters or authors make an appearance here. adding to the uniqueness and charm of this book. 

The general pacing and plot are well-paced and don't feel rushed or lagging in any parts. 

Definitely worth a read and I'll be seeing what else the author will write!
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This was unlike any other book I've ever read. Truly magical and for book lovers, a dream come true. Charley Sutherland has the ability to summon characters from the books he reads into the real world. One night he calls his older brother Rob to tell him that Uriah Heep is on the loose. Thus begins the start of a fantastic journey into the underworld of literary characters brought to life. A mysterious being is threatening to start a new world, one that would have terrifying consequences. The race is on to save the world from the dark side of what turns out to be Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' arch nemesis. A truly wonderful and wholly original book that transported me out of reality, as all good books should.
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What a book!

Rob is a fairly successful lawyer in New Zealand.  He has a little brother called Charley who can pull characters out of books.   Charley was very much a gifted child and Rob has always felt that he needs to protect his brother. Especially when he would accidentally pull characters from books who often wouldn't want to be put back.   

This time though, Rob gets a call from Charley at 4am.  He's accidentally released Uriah Heep and he's struggling to contain him.  During the dangerous fight to put Uriah Heep back in to David Copperfield, the brothers are told of a "new world" that is coming and things begin to happen fast. 

They discover that there are many other fictional characters living in "the street" and Charley had nothing to do with these being released.   This means that there is someone else out there with the same talent as Charley and this other person seems intent on changing the world as we know it. 

There is a great insight into so many characters.  Some we see more than others and some are very much a hinderance rather than a help . I loved the fact that there were so many Mr Darcy's.  Of course there would be.  What other romantic character has made such a lasting impression on women over the last 20 years! 

I loved all of the characters.  Some more than others but the author has done such a fantastic job of making them more than just one dimensional.    Rob was clearly the frustrated big brother who is jealous of Charley's ability and the brotherly relationship between them both was so very realistic.  

This was an utter joy to read.  I don't think it matters if you have read any of the books that the characters have come from.  You'll know who the majority of they are anyway and if you love books and reading - this is the book for you. 

I shall be recommending this book to everyone and anyone.
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This is a fun, exciting, literary adventure.   Rob Sutherland is a lawyer in Wellington, who lives with his girlfriend, Lydia.   His younger brother, Charlie, is a Dickens scholar and, somewhat the bane of his life.  For Charlie has a secret which his family have closed ranks on, to protect him, for most of his life.   He has an ability to take characters out from books and deposit them in the real world. 

So, when Charlie calls Rob at 4am to say that Uriah Heep is on the loose and he can’t catch him, Rob sleepily makes his excuses and sets off to help catch the ‘umble Uriah.   What evolves is an extremely fascinating romp through literature.   This involves a character called Milly Radcliffe-Dix, who Charlie brought out of a book as a child, and who is now living in a secret, hidden street, peopled by characters such as Roald Dahl’s Matilda, various Darcy’s, Dorian Gray and Heathcliff. 

It soon appears that Charlie is not alone in his abilities.  There is another ‘summoner,’ who can bring characters out of book and he is putting not only Milly, and her friends, in danger, but the whole world.   Rob, who has always slightly resented his brother, becomes involved in this adventure and also in investigating where these secret skills of Charlie’s have come from.   If you are a book lover, you will enjoy meeting everyone from Dickens, to the Jabberwocky and the Hound of the Baskervilles, in these pages.   A great read, with characters you will care about.
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