14 Oct 2022


  One of several bloggers who over 14 days will be participating in this Blog Tour. Today {the 2nd day of the Tour) its my pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on ...


Genre ... Historical Mystery / Drama

Publication Date ... 13th October 2022

Publisher ... Zaffre, Bonnier Books UK

Standalone first book in a series

Estimated Page Count ... 400

Author Content Warning ... PTS / Grief / Loss / Mourning

​Order Link ... http://unbouncepages.com/Michael-ball/

Welcome to The Empire Theatre.

For young Jack Treadwell, looking for work and struggling to adapt to civilian life after the Great War, The Empire is a lifeline. He is instantly mesmerised by the glitz and glamour on stage, but also by the chaos and eclectic cast working backstage. Taking a job as stage doorman, Jack makes The Empire his home.

But Jack soon discovers it is not just those on stage who are acting. With whispers of a scandalous cover-up and rivalries that threaten the future of The Empire, tensions rise, along with the curtain. For there is treachery at the heart of The Empire and a shocking secret waiting in the wings. Can Jack discover the truth before it is too late, and the theatre that means so much to them all goes dark?

Set in the roaring 1920s, Musical Theatre legend Michael Ball brings his trademark warmth, wit, glamour, and incredible ability to transport an audience to this, his debut novel.

Enjoy the show! ... Synopsis

At five minutes past midnight in the smoke-stained offices of the Highbridge Gazette, Edison Potter heard a clattering of footsteps up the staircase from the print room. ... First Sentence, Overture & Beginners

Poole fetched an envelope and put a selection of the tickets for the best seats in the house into it. He knew personally some of those regular patrons who had left looking so beaten down and betrayed only a few days ago. Tomorrow, he would have Marcus and his friends act as messenger boys, sending those carefully selected individuals personal notes inviting them back to witness a miracle, a resurrection, a theatrical event like no other. ... Memorable Moment, Page 70

As someone I always think of as one of those old school entertainers, someone who can do it all; sing, dance and act, it came as no surprise when I learnt that Michael Ball had penned a novel ... the only question being was it any good or was it one of those novels that if we are being honest only sell on the back of the author already being 'famous'?

Well ...

Whilst I don't think it being written by such a well loved and respected all round entertainer {and reputedly one of the nicest people you could wish to meet} as Ball can do any harm, I genuinely thought The Empire a pleasant read.

OK, so the writing isn't what I'd describe as the most accomplished, the story is something of a slow burner and there are a lot of characters {referenced to at the front of the book} introduced in a short space of time which can be problematic if you aren't on the ball {no pun intended} as whilst they may initially appear insignificant, some have a larger part to play overall, however ...

Written with a undeniable warmth; the highs {and lows}, the splendour, glitz and glamour, the drama, the romance {and, yes, even the odd scandal ... or two} of this 1920's theatre, both on and off stage stage, brought to life, I thought this a delightfully charming read that, the love of the author's love of the theatre shining through, transported me back to a long gone era.


About Michael Ball ... Michael Ball OBE is a singer, actor, presenter and now author. He's been a star of musical theatre for over three decades, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical twice, he's also won two BRIT awards and been nominated for a Grammy. Michael regularly sells out both his solo tours and his Ball & Boe shows with Alfie Boe and has multiple platinum albums. The Empire is his first novel.

Follow Michael Ball ... ~ Twitter {Michael Ball} ~ Instagram {Michael Ball} ~ Twitter {Zaffre Books} ~ Instagram {Zaffre Books ~


Kelly said...

I'm not familiar with Michael Ball, though you might be able to name something he's been in that I would recognize. I'm not always good with names.

I'm glad you found it to be a nice read and perhaps he will improve with each new novel (if he continues on!).

nightwingsraven said...

Like Kelly, I, too am not familiar
with Michael Ball. But because of
the warmth with which the book is
written and the author's love of
the theatre shining through. I
will keep this book in mind.
And as always thanks you for your
excellent review.

Literary Feline said...

As someone who likes mysteries set in the 1920's and musical theatre, The Empire appeals to me. I am glad you liked it, even if you didn't love it. I will have to check it out!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

This one is new to me, I do love the 1920s setting!

Nadene @Ttly Addicted 2 Reading said...

It is the first I am hearing of the author. It sounds like he did a good job with this one.

Joan said...

I love listening to Michael on radio 2 on a Sunday morning. This review is so fitting for him . I will enjoy reading this and hopefully this will be the first of many books

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Thanks for sharing. It can be tough to really engage with a slow burner!

Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

Melliane said...

I usually love books like that!