Rare Traits – Review & Comments

Reviews on Amazon UK & US – Totals as of 23 March 2015

Total : 53; Five Star : 44; Four Star : 4; Three Star : 2; Two Star : 2; One Star: 1

✭✭✭✭✭ Five Star Reviews ✭✭✭✭✭

There’s a detailed review of Rare Traits posted by fellow-twitterer and avid blogger Nani on both her blog and on Goodreads. It’s the sort of review that would make any author jump for joy and needless to say, I’m thrilled with it.

Listed below are many short reviews posted on both Amazon US & UK by readers of Rare Traits. I am equally thrilled with all of them too and I am indebted to each and every one of the reviewers for taking the time to post their comments.

A thoroughly great read One of the best reads I have ever come across. It alternates between interwoven stories so well, it is a delight to read. Twists and turns at every corner. A fabulous book. I can hardly wait to get my hands on his other times. Brilliant. – Claire McC on Amazon UK 16 March 2015

Five Stars I found this book very interesting and suspenseful, enough so that I bought the other twoJohn Rowley on Amazon US 18 March 2015

Why Isn’t This Book On The NYT Bestseller List Did you ever think about the problems you’d encounter if you could live forever and very few others could? What it would be like to outlive wives, children, friends and attract unwanted attention by not aging appropriately? This book examines the problem in detail, jumping from the 16th to the 21st century and back with skill and logic. This is one of the best books I’ve read in years. The plot, the characters, the historical detail are all amazingly good. The mix of modern-day technology and how it impacts the life of someone who’s trying to stay below the radar is a great plot device. All in all, a rare five star book. Why it’s not on the NYT best-seller list is beyond my comprehension. Any publisher who turned this one down made a huge errorProofreader on Amazon US 10 March 2015

Loved It this book keep me engrossed. I couldn’t put it down even though I needed to get to other things. I can’t wait to start the next in the series. the plot moves fast and rately gets bogged down. sometimes a bit too much description, but not often.Mary D on Amazon US 9 March 2015

Kept My Interest A fresh and well thought out story concerning realistic immortality. The only problem I had was the over use in dialogue of character’s names, making the dialogue sometimes read unrealistic, especially when it was only two people conversing and it was more than clear who was speaking. But the plot is too good, the action scenes fantastic, to take off a star for repetition that occasionally jarred me, a critical reader, out of the story. Don’t hesitate to grab this one. I’m glad I did. – Arlie Ann on Amazon US  7 March 2015

Couldn’t Stop Turning The Pages Very compelling, layered story that is quite the page-turner! Picked it up and couldn’t put it down. HIghly recommend to anyone – but especially someone with a passion for History – RPPinLA on Amazon US 18 February 2015

Best read of the Year Brilliant, highly recommended – Amanda Jane Buncott on Amazon UK 10 September 2014

A fantastic book I just couldn’t put down A fantastic book I just couldn’t put down. David Clarke really puts together a fascinating, original and highly engaging novel. I can’t wait to get going on the next book in the trilogy. Nigel Frith on Amazon US 25 July 2014

A rare find I read this book as the author is the father of a close friend! That qualification is now thrown aside – this book is a fantastic read and had me hooked from Page 1. Strangely I’m not into art or forensic science, but like all beautiful tapestries this piece had so many threads, characters and gripping situations to keep me turning pages well into the wee small hours. I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel 🙂 – J Walker on Amazon UK, 22 November 2013

Superbly Interesting I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it brought together many of my passions. Living near Sansepolcro I thoroughly appreciated the settings, the art history and other historical facts. As a biologist, genetics and the inheritance of certain traits is one of my interests . I am also a keen reader of cime fiction and the use of forensics to solve crime has always interested me. So all in all, the book hit the right note for me, look forward to the next instalment – Helen Robson on Amazon UK, 19 October 2013

An awesome read! This book hooked me early and quickly reeled me in! The magic and intrigue was convincing enough to leave me ready to argue for it’s plausibility ! A rare find! – paulad on Amazon US, 20 September 2013

Very well written and not at all typical of a first novel I thoroughly enjoyed this book, not least because it was extremely well written, something that sadly appears to be something of a rarity in today’s kindle market.
The story hangs together very well despite jumping back and forth in time, something which is hard to achieve with this measure of success.
An interesting, unique and compelling story, where both time lines are as intriguing and relevant as each other. All the characters are three dimensional and described with a fluent and skilled economy of words which illustrates the author’s ability with words.
A big thumbs up from me, and I just want to know if this author is going to write any more novels? Please do! – Skycat on Amazon UK, 7 September 2013

A very enjoyable read, and impressive for a first-time, self-published author I downloaded this book months ago but just got around to reading it. I am glad I didn’t forget about it completely as it was a really enjoyable read. The story was unique and absorbing and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. The characters were well developed and each one was intriguing in his or her own way. I also enjoyed the historical and geographical references and the common art thread, even though I myself know very little about art. The story takes us through almost 600 years and I enjoyed the way in which it bounced between the various time periods and the modern plot line.
While other authors might be tempted to bestow the “rare traits” upon a heroic or villainous main character, I like that Mr. Clarke decided instead to make the main character fairly ordinary and relatable (apart from a highly developed artistic ability). I look forward to reading more in the upcoming installments in the trilogy.
I haven’t written many reviews previously, but I thought such a good novel from a first-time, self-published author deserves some recognition. If you are looking for a good read and want to support/reward good self-publishing efforts, give Rare Traits a try – Jeff Blum on Amazon US, 11 August 2013

Rare Traits This is a hidden gem. I have really enjoyed the book and its unique plot line. It moves with a fair pace all the way through. The main characters are engaging and draw you into the multifaceted story despite some unlikely coincidences. I would recommend it as a good read and I agree with another reviewer that this would make a great film – Tino on Amazon UK, 9 August 2013

A rip roaring read. Best book I have read in long time. A rip roaring read. Can’t wait for book two. If you like art combined with science then this is for you – Robyn Carter Amazon US, 29 June 2013

Rare Book RARE TRAITS is a wonderful book. It presents the story of an ageless artist struggling to conceal his gift in an age of DNA analysis and facial recognition cameras. The thing that makes this book special is how it uses the forensic and art restoration sciences to propel an historic thriller. The details and the story make this book great. I’ve read many books by independent authors and my main criticism has been their lack of originality; the bad guys are always psycho pedophiles and the hero is always a wise-ass forced to resign from some agency due to their inability to serve the man. In RARE TRAITS, our hero is a talented artist, who also know how to use his hands. It’s rare fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to the next installment. If you’re looking for something different that is incredibly well-written, RARE TRAITS is the book for you, highly recommended – Wright Forbucks on Amazon US, 14 April 2013

Rare Traits, a Review My mind is boggled by the scope of history, art and science in this story. It’s long, but never boring. The villains’ end was a little creative, but ok.
All in all, a terrific piece of work and a pleasure to read. Took me two and a half nights of couldn’t-put-down.
5 stars and a Tremendous – Louise3anne on Amazon US, 14 April 2013

First Class Read A sci-fi, social history and thriller story in one book with a new twist on an old idea (immortality). Highly believable, written with conviction. Could not put it down. Recommended to people of all ages. Would make a good film!  – Andrew Foster on Amazon UK, 5 March 2013

Great Little Book Every once in a while you run across a great little book that absolutely suprises you…this one is it. Looking forward to more books by Mr. Clarke – Eddie Aycock on Amazon US, 11 March 2013

This is a Great Read I loved this book. Very well written and engaging. The weaving of past and future was so believable that I may start looking for the immortals among us 🙂 – Kelly A Magruder on Amazon US, 3 March 2013

Eagerly awaiting next book I read this in no time at all – kept wanting to pick it up again and not put it down. Great (and believable) mix of subjects in this tale – J Cantwell  on Amazon US, 22 February 2013

A Very Interesting Combination I downloaded this book because I am interested in history and books with a historic background. The scifi twist that the author has given to the story makes it that much more interesting, because of the continuing quest for perfect health and victory over the ageing process we all must face. The developments in computers and advanced software imaging analysis as well as the advances in genetic sciences that we have seen lately, make the whole story very realistic. I like the style and tempo of the novel and I look forward to reading the author’s next book. – Casagrande Luigi on Amazon Italia 4 January 2013

Rare Traits Good enjoyable light read. For anyone having been in the areas covered by this book you will enjoy it more. Plus it has a neat ending – Judge on Amazon US, 30 December 2012

Very entertaining It takes a lot for me to start reading a book and it takes even more for me to finish it! I found the plot to be great. Often I would put the book down only to pick it up again to see what happens next. The book combines a very unique combination of history and current scientific knowledge to create a great story – Michael Moss on Amazon US, 23 December 2012

Put it down if you can… Read, learn and inwardly digest” is the saying. This is a book with which you can do all that and enjoy a cracking good story at the same time, and when you have done all that, you’ll want to read it all over again! – Brymaguk on Amazon UK, 22 December 2012

A Clever Thriller This splendid and original story is a real page-turner: ideal for anyone snowed in over the holidays or otherwise with a few hours on their hands, for they will not find it easy to put it down. From its fifteenth-century opening salvo to its surprising twentieth-century denouement it kept me guessing all the way. David Clarke has brilliantly interleaved his knowledge of the complex science involved with his professional forensic expertise and with his art-historical interests into a story of great conviction and energy. I can’t wait for the two promised sequels – keep writing, David! – Cedric Harben on Amazon US, 22 Dec 2012

Rare Traits. Rare Treat I’m a fan of art and science fiction, so when I heard about Rare Traits, I knew I wanted to read it. When I finally did, I didn’t put it down until I was finished.
The characters are compelling, especially the main character. Plus, I really enjoyed the incorporation of genetics and little pieces of the art world and history through out the book. I feel like I learned something at the same time as having a relaxing and compelling read.
I can’t wait until the next book comes out so I can know more – Leigh Shulman on Amazon US, 3 December 2012

Fascinating and unputdownable! This didn’t seem like the type of book I would normally read but gave it a go upon a friend’s recommendation and I was definitely not disappointed!
This book is fabulous, I looked forward to reading it every night and often stayed up far too late – its one that gets into your head and I found myself thinking about it during the day which has not happened for years. I was sad when it ended – now we need the film version! – Alice on Amazon US, 23 November 2012

A Rare Book I loved this book It had a very good Plot.I liked the flashbacks of the main character into his previous personas and the art . The science was just enough and their was no real violence . You felt that this could easily happen in the not too distant future. The characters in the book were fleshed out and you felt that these were real characters and you felt that he had knowledge of the area where it was set. I am waiting to buy the next volume of this book – Noora on Amazon UK, 20 November 2012

Thoroughly Engrossing! Although I am not a great fan of Sci-Fi I do love time travel & history related subjects. This book is so engrossing – the story weaves a compelling narrative through the ages & each character is brought to life beautifully. Stretching over 500 years, the story stitches each part together seamlessly. As thrillers go, I couldn’t put this book down and got to many a 2am before reluctantly having to! – James Loxton on Amazon UK, 14 November 2012

Fantastic bringing together of science and art! I picked this book because I enjoy medical and scientific thrillers, having a scientific background myself, and the level of science here was just right for the layman but also, in light of recent discoveries, profoundly accurate for those with more detailed understanding. What made this book stand out from the crowd though, was the melding of a scientific storyline with art history – certainly I’ve not come across anything like this before – absolutely brilliant. If you read a lot of books of the same genre, after a while they seem to follow a set pattern; this book is unique and certainly I found I couldn’t put it down. Eagerly await the next work from this author! – Katherine on Amazon UK, 7 November 2012

One of the Best Reads of 2012! I was already well into another novel when I downloaded Rare Traits, started reading the first chapter out of curiosity and was immediately hooked – I simply couldn’t put it down!
Drawing on his own experiences in scientific crime investigation and forensics, author David Clarke succeeds in weaving a very believable plot but one where there are so many twists and turns it’s impossible to predict how it will all end.
If you enjoyed Dan’s Brown’s books, you’ll going to love Rare Traits! I’m now itching to get my hands on parts 2 and 3 of this trilogy 🙂  – Marion Harrington (“MazzaClarinet”) Málaga, Spain on Amazon US, 5 November 2012

Brilliant – worth each and every five stars I have just finished reading Rare Traits and am now at a loss to find another such compelling read – It took me a while to finish as I just did not want to get to the end and finally reached the unexpected conclusion at 2-30am last night – This is a first book by David Clark and I urge him to write many more – a great story and well researched – I shall be first in line for any future books and cant wait for the sequel to Rare Traits – A great find – thank you David for a book that just couldn’t be put down – Wendy Channing on Amazon US, 5 November 2012

Brilliant I just couldn’t put this down – but to make it last I did put it down – but I was reading in the early hours and when I woke up and if there is a sequel I just cant wait – I found this is in the freebies – but would willing pay the full price – A well deserved 5 stars – Wendy Channing on Amazon UK, 4 November 2012

A real page-turner Rare Traits is an original and thrilling read that is hard to put down. It is well researched and follows the passage of time with fascinating detail. David Clarke demonstrates a detailed knowledge of genetics and art history and weaves this into an exciting plot with a surprising ending that leaves you wanting more – Tracy Pemberton on Amazon US, 1 November 2012

Excellent Spin The theme of immortality is not a new one. However, Clarke puts an interesting spin on it, and approaches it from an angle most authors don’t. While our hero is only practically immortal (he can still die by violence, just not disease or natural causes), we get to see both the benefits and inconveniences such a gift would have (most writers focus on the good end of things, not watching your loved one die, over and over). We also watch the cultural issues which occur with this–from witch hunters to mad scientists. While there are some typos (nothing a reprint/reissue wouldn’t fix), it is very well written and positively captivating. I wound up staying up past two in the morning to finish it. I think my favorite part is where our hero is also an artist (I may be biased there, as an artist myself). He paints in the same style throughout his lengthy life under various names, thoroughly baffling an art historian. The focus on our hero’s takes the book beyond “I’m different and scientists want to lock me up and experiment on me.” I look forward to reading more from the author – Linda Ratcliff on Amazon US, 28 October 2012

[*Note  from DGC : A revised edition of Rare Traits was uploaded for both the Kindle and the paperback versions on 21 November (plus a further revision in March 2013) and I hope that the typo issue has now been fully addressed. If you have already bought a copy of the Kindle version, you can re-download  your copy at no cost from Amazon and replace the older version on your Kindle.]

Gripping! An enthralling read that gripped me from the start. I found it really hard to put down when I needed to get on with other things and could easily have read it at one sitting. Hard to believe that this is David’s first book and I cannot wait for the sequel!  – RA Marshall on Amazon UK, 28 October 2012

A very enjoyable read I just could not put this book down – literally. I kept telling myself “just one more chapter” until, at gone three in the morning, the book was finished. “Rare Traits” winds its riveting, enthralling tale among the prejudices, suspicion, disbelief, fear, jealousy, and intolerance that would have met one gifted with ‘eternal youth’ through the ages. The premises that underpin this tale seem reasonable, which makes this story both plausible and also a little disturbing.
I got this book in its first week of publication while searching for SciFi freebies. Although I got it for free, I happily paid the asking price to download a copy to my wife’s Kindle so that she could enjoy it too. Heartily recommended, and I can’t wait for the next!  – Geoff on Amazon UK, 23 October 2012

Compelling The idea of immortality is always fascinating, but Rare Traits shows that it brings problems of its own. Not ageing can attract unwanted attention and outliving your family by several centuries can cause a lot of pain. These are just a couple of the issues in Rare Traits, a book I found it impossible to put down. The trawl through the artistic history of (mostly) the Western world is fascinating and the main character is eminently likeable. Add in some near-death experiences and you have the recipe for an enthralling read – Sharon Hurley Hall on Amazon UK & US, 22 October 2012

Fascinating Story This story of John Andrews (aka Stephano de Luca) is a story out of time. A man who, through natural genetic selection is born and cannot die. The story of his life though the ages is quite astounding. How he has to adapt to new places, languages, and customs as he lives his long life makes for an action packed read. Mr. Clarke is a brilliant and gifted story teller. I look forward to more work from this author – TomT on Amazon US, 21 October 2012

Keeps you up at night, wanting to read just that little bit more  Rare Traits is a compelling read – it’s fast-paced and moves smoothly between the historical and modern day chapters, leaving you wanting to read the next installment of each. The climax is completely unexpected and…thrilling! Looking forward to reading the sequels in the trilogy – Lea Woodward on Amazon UK & US, 19 October 2012

✭✭✭✭ Four Star Reviews ✭✭✭✭

Rare Traits follows the many lives of an Italian Artist Rare Traits follows the many lives of an Italian Artist from the Renaissance to modern day. An interesting and fast paced read – Bonnie Shiffern on Amazon US 18 March 2015

Ambitious but it gets there! I picked up a copy of Rare Traits in a Hong Kong bookshop about a month ago, read the back cover and put it down again. I could see straight away that it was a very clever idea, but I was unconvinced that the writer would be able to make it work and I was suspicious as it was an Indie book. I had visions of a Dan Brown wannabe! This weekend I finally bought it on a whim and I have to say I had no idea that my scepticism would retrospectively prove to be such an insult to David Clarke! This is an excellent book! As one or two reviewers have said; there are a couple of coincidences which don’t really convince you, and at times you get rather lost in the multiple identities and offspring of this ancient painter! The joy of this book is not just the thrill of a leap through history and a well told story blending high culture with cutting edge science. It is the unexpected sadness of it all; here is a multiple widower, condemned to see generations of his children grow old and die, a man who holds wife after wife in his arms as she breathes her last.The author handles it very well – tragedy is not rammed down your throat – it is more an unspoken sadness that permeates the character and the book. So much is about the main character’s incredible resilience – he learns to accept and cope with an extraordinary fate that he can never escape. There is an optimistic side too. For every fiery priest hunting the ‘devil’s spawn’ there are loyal friends and devoted family who take him for what he is and protect him as a good father and a prodigious artistic talent. Mercifully the book avoids the trap of generational comparisons; we don’t get treated to silly excitements over cars or trains or the first man in space. Instead we see humans as they are – good and bad – whether in this century, or three centuries back. More generally the plot is good and there are as many twists and turns as you’d find on a Lake District road. My advice is read this book – you won’t be disappointed. – Phil Biblio on Amazon UK 1 September 2013

Enjoyable read, following an artist as he experiences life through hundreds of years An artist discovers that he is immortal and then must hide from societies across many ages or risk death. The joys and sorrows he live through over the ages as he outlives those he loves and those who try to find and kill him make this an exciting tale. The eventual discovery by modern science of his history and his family due to his unmistakable contributions to art around the world makes this a fairly believable tale – Richard J Glass on Amazon US, 27 December 2012

Thanks! This book was great fun, clever and thought provoking. It very succcessfully distracted me from something else I was supposed to be reading for work and kept my attention right up to the last page! Thank you – Margie on Amazon UK, 7 November 2012


“Really enjoyed the book.  Hurry and finish the other two – can’t wait to read them!” – email from Robyn Carter, New Zealand, 2 November 2012

I’ve downloaded this and totally gripped already after only a couple of chapters. If you enjoyed Dan Brown, you’ll love this!

Marion Harrington on Facebook

Can’t put it down….a real page turner!’ – Tracy Pemberton on Facebook

…I suppose it will be possible to have a conversation with my wife when she finishes ‘Rare Traits’ but then… it’ll be my turn to read it!

Roger Marshall – by email

We couldn’t agree on who should read ‘Rare Traits’ first so we bought two copies!’ Roger Andrews – by email