A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #12)
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A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #12)

4.7 21
by Louise Penny

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"Deep and grand and altogether extraordinary....Miraculous."
The Washington Post

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Instant New York Times bestseller:

#1 in Hardcover Fiction
#1 in E-book Fiction
#1 in Combined Print and E-book Fiction

"Deep and grand and altogether extraordinary....Miraculous."
The Washington Post

- The New York Times Book Review

- People

A Great Reckoning succeeds on every level."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

#1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny pulls back the layers to reveal a brilliant and emotionally powerful truth in her latest spellbinding novel.

When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.
Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.

And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.

Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.

The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets.

For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
Despite the theme of defiled innocence that makes this such a mournful story, the immense charm of the Gamache series survives in the magical setting and feisty residents of Three Pines…Like most of the yarns we've heard about Three Pines, this one honors the town elders and respects the rituals of their quiet existence. But in a broader sense, the novel reaches beyond the living to become the saddest kind of ghost story, a lament for all "the phantom life that might have been."
Publishers Weekly
★ 05/23/2016
The lyrical 12th entry (after 2015’s The Nature of the Beast) in bestseller Penny’s remarkable series, which has won multiple Agatha awards, finds former Chief Insp. Armand Gamache coming out of retirement to clean up the corrupt Süreté Academy du Québec. When an old map is found hidden in the wall of a bistro in Three Pines, the remote village in which Gamache and his wife live, the locals treat it as only an interesting artifact. But Gamache uses the mystery of the map’s origin to engage the interest of four cadets at the academy who are in particular danger of going astray. When someone fatally shoots Serge Leduc, a sadistic, manipulative professor, a copy of the map is found in Leduc’s bedside table, and suspicion falls on the four cadets and Gamache himself. As the story unfolds, a web of connections, past and present, comes to light. This complex novel deals with universal themes of compassion, weakness in the face of temptation, forgiveness, and the danger of falling into despair and cynicism over apparently insurmountable evils. Author tour. Agent: Teresa Chris, Teresa Chris Literary Agency. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

"Deep and grand and altogether extraordinary....Miraculous."
The Washington Post

“Artful… powerful… magical.”
The New York Times Book Review


O, the Oprah Magazine


“Transcends the mystery genre.”
AARP, The Magazine

"Luminous prose, complex but uncluttered plots, and profound compassion."
Seattle Times

Charlotte Observer

“Satin prose… A splendid and moving novel.”
Richmond Times Dispatch

A Great Reckoning succeeds on every level."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Louise Penny [is] legendary... The magic of Penny’s books lies in the details."

"This complex novel deals with universal themes of compassion, weakness in the face of temptation, forgiveness, and the danger of falling into despair and cynicism over apparently insurmountable evils."
Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed)

"A compelling mystery and a rich human drama in which no character is either entirely good or evil, and each is capable of inspiring empathy."
Booklist (starred)

"A chilling story that's also filled with hope?a beloved Penny trademark.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Riveting...with characters of incredible depth who only add to the strength of the plot."
Library Journal (starred)

Additional Praise for Louise Penny and the Armand Gamache Mysteries

“Penny sustains her high-wire act, creating characters of remarkable depth in an exhilarating whodunit.”

“Louise Penny is unsurpassed at building a sense of heart-stopping urgency."
The Charlotte Observer

“Penny, who raises the bar with each entry in this superb series, has always mixed murder and corruption with issues of morality...[S]he does so with her accustomed talent for a gripping plot, rich characterizations, arresting prose and thought-provoking questions of mercy, malice and the contradictions of the human race." —Richmond-Times Dispatch

"This series dominates best-seller lists and award lists for a reason. Penny tells powerful stories of damage and healing in the human heart, leavened with affection, humor and – thank goodness – redemption."
—Salem Macknee, Charlotte Observer

“Penny writes with grace and intelligence about complex people struggling with complex emotions. But her great gift is her uncanny ability to describe what might seem indescribable – the play of light, the sound of celestial music, a quiet sense of peace.”
New York Times Book Review

Library Journal
★ 07/01/2016
The latest entry in Penny's popular series (after Nature of the Beast) places Armand Gamache in a new role as commander of the Sûreté Academy du Québec. Prior to the start of the term he is given an old map of the village of Three Pines with some curious symbols. This map becomes the focus of an investigation after a copy is found in the apartment of a murdered professor. Suspicion shifts from student to professor and back again as the story takes unexpected twists. Rooting out the corruption in the academy remains an underlying theme as Gamache mentors students who seem to be on the wrong path. The transport of these students to Three Pines and the involvement of the villagers in the investigation adds depth and interest. While this book may stand alone, fans of the series will enjoy revisiting old friends. Gamache remains admirable yet human, as he seeks to return the Sûreté to the force he first knew. A look back at World War I and an explanation about one mystery surrounding the little village round out the story in a satisfying manner. VERDICT This riveting read, with characters of incredible depth who only add to the strength of the plot, will keep readers guessing until the last page. For series fans and those who enjoy the small-town mysteries of Julia Spencer-Fleming.—Terry Lucas, Shelter Island P.L., NY
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-06-01
Within a police force, some members must be trained in the science, and art, of solving murders. But does this training create people highly capable of committing them?In Penny's 12th Gamache novel, the former chief inspector takes up a new post. He's not back to active investigating—not after finally having the chance to heal in the Québécois village of Three Pines. But he can't pass up the chance to complete his yearslong fight to end corruption within the Sûreté. By taking the job as commander of the Sûreté Academy, he can clean the rot from its wealthiest source—the impressionable minds of cadet trainees. But Gamache makes a questionable decision in choosing to fight fire with fire. He decides to keep the most corrupt staff member, Serge "the Duke" Leduc, the former No. 2 of the Academy. Gamache's choices verge on madness when he announces he will also bring on Michel Brébeuf—the original domino to fall within the Sûreté—as an example of how corruption can ruin you. In his lessons, Gamache invites his cadets to internalize these mottos: "Don't trust everything you think"—words for bettering their minds and investigative skills—as well as "a man's foes shall be they of his own household," from Matthew 10:36—words of warning for what they may face ahead. These lessons become all too relevant when the Duke is found murdered and it's clear the murderer is one of them. And then a copy of an old map is found at the crime scene, the same map Gamache is using as an exercise with four cadets he has brought under his wing and into his home (one lost soul in particular, freshman Amelia Choquet). Gamache is forced to accept that Leduc's grip on the Academy isstronger and more suffocating than he thought possible. Is the household he has vowed to protect more unsafe than ever before? Young, learning minds are precious things, and Penny is here to make us aware of the evil out there, eager for a chance to mold—and poison—them.A chilling story that's also filled with hope—a beloved Penny trademark.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Chief Inspector Gamache Series , #12
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.62(h) x 1.31(d)

Meet the Author

LOUISE PENNY is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of more than ten Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.

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A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #12) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous 2 days ago
I was anxious to read this latest novel and I am glad that I did. It is like a get together with old friends. I love Louise Penny's writing and the characters and setting are so real to me. I wish the book had gone on forever.
Noblescribe 3 days ago
I loved this novel and I even cried at the end. Louise creates characters that are so believable and the village of Three Pines is a place I would love to visit. The quaint settings, wonderful food makes me wish I could step inside one of her novels.
Anonymous 6 days ago
I read this all the way through in a weekend, and I thoroughly enjoyed it . I've read this entire series. In fact, I've read most of the books twice. Louise Penny writes beautifully; her characters and settings are extraordinary. I can hardly wait to read the next Inspector Gamache episode !
Anonymous 6 days ago
Louise Penny's Three Pines series have always been worth reading but not every one was a complete success. This one certainly is without disappointment. Her characters shine, Penny keeps us guessing, the resolution and conclusion satisfy.
Dinia 10 days ago
Louise Penny just gets better. As Armand Gamache prepares for the next turn his life has taken, he leaves Three Pines to command the police academy. After nearly losing his life as the former Chief of Homicide responsible for rooting out the corruption in his former agency, he is now at the academy to ensure the new trainees do not reinfect the Surete again. The story is split between the Academy and Three Pines with murder in one and a mysterious map in another. Once again we are treated to an amazing cast of well defined characters, plenty of mysteries, humanity both good and bad and a real depth of wisdom for the soul. Louise Penny writes with words that flow like poetry that I descibe to friends as "gentle mysteries". The stories are complex and intuitive yet will leave you with a sense of comfort at the end. You must read these novels in order beginning with STILL LIFE so as to become acquainted with the characters and their stories and the town that is Three Pines.
Avid_readerRF 14 days ago
My favorite mystery author and favorite read. I love the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache and all the other characters in this series. I get drawn into the book and when the book(s) end, I feel lost for a couple days. As though my friends have gone away for a years vacation.
Avid_readerRF 14 days ago
My favorite mystery author and favorite read. I love the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache and all the other characters in this series. I get drawn into the book and when the book(s) end, I feel lost for a couple days. As though my friends have gone away for a years vacation.
DianaH-Maine 18 days ago
Exquisite. A beautiful tapestry of words - thoughtful, provocative, ethical, elegant, meditative - woven together with love into a perfect masterpiece. The acknowledgements made me cry. A wonderful, precious writer is Louise Penny. A great book, not to be missed, is A GREAT RECKONING. Ms. Penny’s writing always lifts me up - my own moment of zen.
Anonymous 19 days ago
Louise Penny is an artist and one of my favorite writers. Her books keep getting better and better. I love the village of Three Pines and the characters!
Anonymous 21 days ago
I wish these people were my friends. I hope I have the good fortune to visit with them again.
wendywhiner 21 days ago
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Anonymous 23 days ago
Another wonderful book from Louise Penny
Gail-Cooke 27 days ago
Louise Penny is a force unto herself in crime fiction. She presents her characters and describes them with psychological insights seldom found in this oeuvre. Thus, they are quite human, very much alive. Such is the case with Armand Gamache, a former chief inspector who undertakes a task that very nearly causes his undoing. Gamache is determined to rid the Surete of corruption, and in order to do this he believes he should begin with the Surete Academy, investigate it thoroughly, clean house if necessary to make sure that the malleable minds of the cadet trainees receive the finest instruction. However, Gamache goes about this in a puzzling manner - first of all by choosing to keep the most corrupt staff member, Serge “the Duke” Leduc, and hiring the questionable Michel Brebeuf. Gamache believes that kindness overcomes cruelty, good defeats evil. But, is that so? When the Duke is found murdered in his room it is evident that the murderer is from the Academy. A copy of an old map is found at the crime scene, it is the same map that Gamache has used in tutoring four cadets in whom he has taken a special interest, going so far as to take them into his home and his trust. It is soon clear that Leduc’s influence on the Academy and the cadets .is greater than Gamache could have imagined. Is the Academy that he sought to care for less safe than when he arrived? As Gamache ponders his theories for the murder he uncovers the fearful truth of what is happening at the Academy. Penny has given us a compelling mystery and as is her wont leavens evil with forgiveness and hope. She is a writer with rare understanding and we are the beneficiaries.
MasonCanyon 28 days ago
It’s strange when you find yourself saying, ‘He wouldn’t do that, he’s not that type of man’ and you’re talking about a character in a book you’re reading. Author Louise Penny has created such rich, detailed characters that as a fan I feel the core cast of characters are real when I’m immersed in one of her stories. Such is the case in her soon-to-be-released book, A GREAT RECKONING. Narrator Robert Bathurst does a wonderful job giving unique voices to these characters as they come to life. His cadence and accent draws you in and his timing and pitch is spot on. His interruption of the emotions enhances this gripping story. This book is wonderful in audio format. The language heard as it should be spoken adds another layer to this enthralling story. Penny’s mesmerizing style of writing draws you in, pulling you deeper into the story so you don’t want out without knowing the outcome. The characters are well-developed and extremely likable. New readers will come away feeling they know the characters well. Returning fans will find even more reason to cherish these exceptional characters. The settings, both real and fictional, come to life through Penny’s luscious descriptions. She combines real history to blend a fascinating tale of mystery and intrigue. The story flows smoothly and at a steady pace. The suspense is breathtaking and just when you have a clue another door is opened and your opinion will change. The story builds to a pulse-pounding conclusion with a surprise twist at the end. Three Pines has its secrets and pain, but it’s an enchanted place to visit. The village and its diverse residents will feel like home and family. While you’re anxious to know the why and who, you’re not ready to say goodbye when things settle down. A GREAT RECKONING takes readers/listeners on a ride of highs and lows as it brings clarity to returning fans without leaving new readers/listeners in the dark. Another beguiling tale from a master storyteller. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Anonymous 22 days ago
I love this series. Please keep them coming!
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Storytellermary 21 days ago
B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy) by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple B.U.G. is a wonderful book in so very many ways, including the excellent writing, so smooth and easy to read, the result of careful work by authors Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. (Someday, I’d like insight into how tandem writing is managed. ;-) The story is engaging, and the themes are relevant. The issue of bullying is a serious one, and there are insights into why it happens and how to deal with it, presented without preachiness. The legend of the Golem, still relevant today, was the inspiration for Frankenstein, and has been repeated in literature and movies. Howard Schwartz once loaned me a rare old book on the Golem for a paper on creation mythology in modern literature, so much better to borrow openly, not steal. I was honored by the trust. Klezmer music, so joyful and so heart-breaking. I used to play a college friend’s CD of Gershwin the Klezmer for my high school students, and they loved it. A Klezmer band closed the very first National Storytellers conference I attended, in Providence. Music carries memories and strength. This is the perfect example of a “juvenile fiction” book with relevance and appeal to all age groups, and insights into creativity and friendship that could help “this weary world.”