Tuesday 14 May 2024


Book review: The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr [blog tour]

I've been in a bit of a reading funk this year, not many books truly gripping me in such a way that I cannot stop thinking about them and recommending them. But, The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by debut author Samuel Burr is a huge exception. I adored this quirky literary novel from start to finish and cannot wait for lots more people to discover the charming tale of Clayton and the Fellowship! 

About The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers

As a baby, Clayton Stumper was abandoned at the headquarters of the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers; a group of the brightest brains in Britain. Growing up amongst mostly elderly people, Clayton dresses and acts beyond his years. But when, aged 25, his surrogate mother, Pippa, dies Clayton starts wondering about his past and where he comes from. Luckily for him, his inheritance is the greatest puzzle Pippa has ever created: one that will unlock the answers Clayton is so desperately looking for. 

My review

I absolutely adored everything about The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers; from the clever quest laid out by Pippa for Clayton (and, indirectly, the book's readers) through to discovering the origin story of the Fellowship and its eccentric members. The novel goes back all the way to the 1970s and as we slowly retrace the steps of Pippa and her Fellowship, we get to know each of the key players as individuals – while solving some very fun puzzles along the way. 

Because this isn't just a story about puzzles, the pages feature some actual riddles and cryptic clues that the reader can try to solve alongside Clayton. While I certainly wasn't clever enough to figure them all out by myself, on those occasions I did it felt immensely satisfying. And I could really relate to Clayton who, despite his upbringing, has about as much of a natural aptitude for puzzles as I – and probably the majority of readers – do. 

In his case, though, he could tap into the combined brain power of the other members of the Fellowship and by doing so it slowly lifted the curtain on each of them in turn. Particular favourites of mine were Master of Mazes, Earl Vosey; Queen of Quizzes, Nancy Stone; and – of course – Chief Cruciverbalist, Pippa Allsbrook. They were wonderful. And, quite frankly, despite this book being perfectly plotted with a very satisfying ending, I'd happily return to their individual pasts in another story to get to know more about each of them from before the Fellowship came to be. One can dream. 

Also, on a side note, something that was particularly peculiar – and made the story feel even more real – is that so many of the locations in the book were relevant to me at the time of reading. When I devoured The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers I was staying on a house boat in Islington, and both a boat on a canal in London and the borough of Islington (see the Old Queen's Head Pub below) were pivotal locations in the book. Not to mention that there's even a scene in the Netherlands, where I'm originally from. Talk about a "puzzling" reading experience!

Oftentimes, reviews use adjectives such as "charming", "feel-good", and "heart-warming" too liberally, but if any book deserves these attributes and then some it is the utterly delightful The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers. The novel is oodles of fun with its puzzles and quirkiness, but most of all it is a beautiful tale of self-discovery and coming-of-age with the kindest and most loveable character at its centre. It left me feeling all warm and fuzzy after turning the final page (and with an unrealistic longing that a place as magnificent as the Fellowship's head quarters could truly exist). 

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr is published by Orion Books and you can now buy your copy from your favourite local book shop!

Blog tour stops for The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr

This review for The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers is part of the blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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