Three Hours

Three Hours


Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning's lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

Our Review

Three Hours was a difficult book to read because it was so realistically written. It was also a very difficult book to put down.

It begins with an explosion in the woods and the headmaster being shot in a corridor in view of his parents. Over the next few hours the police, parents and students are playing catchup trying to figure out who the gunman is, what they are going to do next and why they are doing it in the first place.

Three Hours is told from the point of view of several characters and is incredibly effective because of this. At times I could feel the horror the children, teachers and family members were feeling, and it made for uneasy reading because of this.

The descriptions of the action were suspenseful and richly detailed meaning that the reader experiences everything as it infolds.

“A moment of stillness; as if time itself is waiting, can no longer be measured. Then the subtle press of a fingertip, whorled skin against cool metal, starts it beating again and the bullet moves faster than sound.”

One of the things that struck me the most whilst I was reading was the bravery of the characters involved.

“Matthew Marr, headmaster and only adult here, must protect them, must rescue his pupils in Junior School, the pottery room, the theatre and the English Classroom along the corridor; must tell the teachers not to take any risks and keep the children safe. But his mind is slipping backwards into memory. Perhaps this is what the shrapnel has done, broken pieces of bone upwards so they form a jagged wall and he is stuck on the side of the past. But words in his own thoughts grab at him – risks, safe, rescue.

The sense of anticipation and tension created by the author was massive, I felt a bit jumpy whilst reading.

“The gunman’s footsteps sound along the bookcases as he walks along the corridor. For a little while they thought he’d gone, that he’d walked all the way to the end of the corridor and the front door and left. But he hadn’t. He came back again towards them. He must be wearing boots with metal in the heel. Click-Click Click-Click on the worn oak floorboards, then a pause.”

The reader feels as if they are along with them through every piece of the action, through every courageous action and the amazing plot twists.

I think it has such an impact because it is not beyond the realms of possibility that something like that could happen.

There were certain elements of the book I saw coming but one of the biggest twists left me reeling, One of the best books I have read this year.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4.5/5

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