Blood & Sugar
Genre : Fiction
Published : 24 Jan 2019 - Mantle
BLOOD & SUGAR is the thrilling debut historical crime novel from Laura Shepherd-Robinson.

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark.

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .

To discover what happened to Tad, Harry is forced to pick up the threads of his friend's investigation, delving into the heart of the conspiracy Tad had unearthed. His investigation will threaten his political prospects, his family’s happiness, and force a reckoning with his past, risking the revelation of secrets that have the power to destroy him.

And that is only if he can survive the mortal dangers awaiting him in Deptford...


A page-turner of a crime thriller . . . This is a world conveyed with convincing, terrible clarity.

C. J. Sansom

Striking historical thriller.

Andrew Taylor

BLOOD AND SUGAR is a remarkably assured debut. With meticulous research Shepherd-Robinson has created a dark and visceral eighteenth century world that exposes disturbing truths about the slave trade.

Elizabeth Freemantle

Utterly compelling . . . The next star of historical crime fiction has arrived.

R. N. Morris

A book to be savoured . . . A story both bold and heartbreaking. I can’t recommend it enough.

Jo Jakeman, author of STICKS AND STONES

Every colour, sound and smell of 1870s Deptford flew off the page and the depth of the characters, without exception, was extraordinary.

Caz Frear, author of SWEET LITTLE LIES

Intriguing, intelligent, inspired writing.

Abi Silver, author of THE ALADDIN TRIAL

A truly addictive read about such a terrible and important part of our history.

Jenny Quintana, author of THE MISSING GIRL

With a hugely likeable hero at its heart, this rich and beautifully written debut marks out Laura Shepherd-Robinson as a major new talent.

Fiona Cummins

A "gripping and original book . . . I could envisage every scene and was swept along with the vivid, strong characters.

Karen Hamilton

An immersive and exhilarating crime novel that dissects the brutal underbelly of eighteenth century London with razor blade clarity.

Holly Seddon

With her magnificent debut, Laura Shepherd-Robinson has at once proved herself a star. BLOOD AND SUGAR is immersive, bold and breath-taking, a tense and gripping historical thriller that shines an unwavering light on a dark period in British history. Unmissable.

Antonia Hodgson

It's captivating from the first page to the very last. BLOOD AND SUGAR is so well-written that I could smell the Deptford docks and the desperation emanating from the pages. Elegant, thrilling and utterly fascinating, this book has it all.

Marnie Riches

BLOOD & SUGAR had me gripped me from the start and didn't let go... I had a hard time believing this was a first novel and I can’t wait for the next one.

Martyn Waites

A highly evocative and compelling tale which delves deep into the one of the murkiest and most shameful periods in British history with courage, heart and a keen eye for the inherent corruption of the slave trade.

Rachel Edwards

A "fantastic debut".

Will Dean, author of DARK PINES

The stink of Deptford drips from every page as the idealism of the abolitionists meets the greed of the slave-traders, all resulting in a deliciously slippery and duplicitous stew.

Mary Paulson-Ellis, author of THE OTHER MRS WALKER

Beautifully and sensitively written, Blood & Sugar is a compulsive read which shines an unflinching light on a horrific and shameful time in our history. This haunting mystery has been seared into my memory like a brand. A triumph of a debut.

Angela Clarke

This is a tightly plotted debut from Shepherd-Robinson, who manages to pack in a huge amount of sordid detail about slavery without lapsing into heavy-handed exposition.

Antonia Senior, The Times

A passionate indictment of British involvement in the slave trade but it never neglects its duty to chill and thrill.

Sunday Express

Unflinching in its refusal to sentimentalise motives or to row back on the savagery of the times.

Daily Mail

This assured debut tackles slavery and the price of profit as a war hero finds himself dragged into a murder case in 18th-century Deptford that has far wider implications.


BLOOD & SUGAR is a powerful, thoroughly absorbing thriller.

BBC History Magazine

A novel that mixes a tightly plotted crime story with vivid details of Georgian England.

The Sunday Times

'"Shepherd-Robinson. . . brings the period splendidly to life in her horrible but irresistible portrayal of Deptford".

The Daily Telegraph

Laura Shepherd-Robinson's impressive historical crime novel... [is a] vivid, visceral page-turner

Sunday Express S Magazine

In this stunning debut Shepherd-Robinson shines an unflinching light on a truly dark period of British history.

Daily Express

Showing 5 of 27 reviews

Other books by Laura Shepherd-Robinson