The Shadows of London
The damage caused by the Great Fire still overshadows the capital. When a man’s brutally disfigured body is discovered in the ruins of an ancient almshouse, architect Cat Hakesby is ordered to stop restoration work. It is obvious he has been murdered, and Whitehall secretary James Marwood is ordered to investigate.
It’s possible the victim could be one of two local men who have vanished – the first, a feckless French tutor connected to the almshouse’s owner;
the second, a possibly treacherous employee of the Council of Foreign Plantations.
The pressure on Marwood mounts as Charles II’s most influential courtiers, Lord Arlington and the Duke of Buckingham, show an interest in his activities – and Marwood soon begins to suspect the murder trail may lead right to the heart of government.
Meanwhile, a young, impoverished Frenchwoman has caught the eye of the king, a quiet affair that will have monumental consequences…
If Andrew Taylor is energised by the acclaim (and multiple prizes) his writing routinely accords him, he will be pleased to receive more of the same for The Shadows of London (HarperCollins, £20). In 1671, memories of the devastation wrought by the Great Fire are everywhere. In an almshouse, a disfigured corpse is discovered, interrupting architect Cat Hakesby’s restoration. Whitehall secretary James Marwood suspects that the involvement of Charles II’s formidable courtiers Arlington and Buckingham points to some high-level skulduggery. This is Taylor at his unassailable best.
Andrew Taylor offers us a completely convincing portrait of life in the city and at court in Restoration London. An absolute delight in a series that goes from strength to strength.
Taylor’s storytelling brio is on full display."<br />
This novel has all the charm of earlier titles in the series but with added substance. It is the result of both research and imagination, and shows Taylor’s skill in making use of the language of the time without falling into either anachronism or deadening accuracy.
With a mixture of real and fictional characters, this tale of intrigue and power imbalance is well up to standard in a series that has set a benchmark for this historical mystery fiction.
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