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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘The Children Of Men’ by P.D. James

Cover Image - 'The Children Of Men' - By P.D. JamesOmega January – March 2021

Friday 1 January 2021

Early this morning, 1 January 2021, three minutes after midnight, the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl in a suburb of Buenos Aires, aged twenty-five years two months and twelve days.

If the first reports are to be believed, Joseph Ricardo died as he had lived.

The distinction, if one can call it that, of being the last human whose birth was officially recorded, unrelated as it was to any personal virtue or talent, had always been difficult for him to handle.

And now he is dead …

Who wouldn’t want to read on, after such strong opening lines?

The questions are endless, the answers probably quite chilling …

But I need to know!


A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City ReaderWould the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?

If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?

Click here and visit your host, Gilion @ Rose City Reader

You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Don’t forget that Gilion and all the other contributors to this meme love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment or two at the same time?

I can’t wait to do a little blog hopping myself and check out all the great Book Beginnings you have!


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Cleo,

      Several of the early P.D. James books, I read many years ago, as a teenager. Since then I have been quite remiss at keeping up with her work, despite the fact that I love the character of Adam Dalgliesh and followed the television adaptation of the series avidly.

      In fact, I hadn’t realised that she had even written any stand alone novels, until I spotted this book in one of the charity shops in town. Dystopian fiction not usually being one of my favourite genres, I was nonetheless so intrigued by this very forward thinking storyline (‘The Children Of Men’ was written in 1992), that I purchased it and can’t believe just how diverse it is from the format of the ‘Dalgliesh’ series!

      Great to have you stop by this week and thank you for taking the time to comment.

      ‘Happy Reading’ 🙂

  • I saw the film version of this not that long ago (it’s in one of my movie review posts) and was so surprised to learn it was based on a PD James book! I love her Adam Dalgliesh novels and have read them all. This is a total departure from her murder mysteries, though. I remember researching the book after that and, for some reason, deciding I wasn’t in any hurry to read it. Perhaps because there were some major differences from the film and I already knew the basic plot? You may inspire me to read it after all! 🙂

    I began “The Book without Words” by AVI last night. Here’s the opening paragraph:

    “It was in the year 1046, on a cold winter’s night, when a fog, thick as wool and dank as a dead man’s hand, crept up from the River Scrogg into the ancient town of Fulworth. The fog settled like an icy shroud over the town, filling the mud-clogged streets and crooked lanes from Westgate to Bishopsgate, from Three Rats Quay upon the decaying riverbanks to Saint Osyth’s Cathedral by the city center. It clung to the crumbling city walls. It heightened the stench of rotten hay and offal, of vinegary wine and rancid ale. It muffled the sound of pealing church bells calling the weary faithful to apprehensive prayers.”

    • Hi Kelly,

      I have never watched the film, so approached this book with fresh eyes.

      After the initial surprise at how much difference there was in the writing style between the P.D. James of Adam Dalgliesh fame, which I had known and loved and this, her alternative writing persona, I have to say that so far I am loving this story, although the premise itself offers a rather sobering and scary thought!

      I checked out the film on IMDb and couldn’t really detect too many differences in the basic storyline so far and at a rating of 7.9, I guess the film was very popular and well received, so I may have to look out for it, although like yourself, I don’t generally do the book and film, it is usually one or the other 🙂
      Whilst I don’t think that the genre is for me, I do admire the cover art Avi selects for his books, the entertaining names he magics up for his characters and places and I love the opening paragraph you shared today.

      Thinking way back to my school day history lessons, I can imagine the viscous fog and stench of decay, flowing through the streets of Avi’s Fulworth.

      If the quality of the descriptive writing here, is indicative of that of the rest of the book, it makes me a little sad that the genre isn’t more appealing to me!

      I do hope that you enjoy the story and perhaps your finished review may help to change my mind 🙂

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      After a day working in the charity shop, surrounded by unruly children, a world without them has its appeal right now!

      However the other extreme, of a world filled only with an aging population, isn’t a more preferrable option!

      Perhaps there is something to be said for maintaining the status quo after all 🙂

      This is P.D. James at her very best by the sounds of things, despite the rather mixed Goodreads reviews.

      Enjoy your weekend 🙂

    • Hi Naida,

      “Dystopian Fiction – The creation of an utterly horrible or degraded society that is generally headed to an irreversible oblivion, or dystopia.”

      “‘The Children of Men’ is a story of a world with no children and no future. The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace.”

      This sounds like one of the best to me, although dystopian fiction is not one of my strongest genres.

      Thanks for taking the time to share my posts, I always appreciate your comments 🙂

    • Hi Lauren,

      Thanks for stopping by this week. I always enjoy meeting new people, checking out new blogs and exchanging comments 🙂

      I don’t generally tend to both read the book and watch the film, as somehow one always tarnishes the other in some way. Even if there are only slight differences in the storyline detail, it is enough to spoil the overall experience for me.

      Speaking from almost half way through the book, I am thoroughly enjoying the read so far. A complete change of writing style by P.D. James, yet still so skillful and thoughtful in its execution.

      I hope that you enjoy it as much as I am and I hope to catch up with you again soon 🙂

Written by Yvonne