John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.
Set in Oliver Cromwell’s London, this is the first of a series of books about Damian Seeker. Seeker is a man who is feared by all. He has a vast network of informers and spies who can help trample down any seditious movement against the State.
In this novel, Elias Ellingworth, an outspoken opponent of the regime is caught red-handed at the murder scene of one of Cromwell’s top men, the bloody knife still in his hand. Yet, after hearing the evidence of the victim’s widow, Seeker is not entirely convinced that Ellingworth is the killer and moves to find the true murderer before Ellingworth is sentenced and put to death. A scapegoat is needed. Will Seeker solve the mystery in time?
This historical novel is clearly well-researched. Most of the action is set in and around the River Thames which is the life-blood of the city bringing traders and other visitors to the city though we do spend a sojourn in Oxford, a hive of subversion. The newly-fashionable coffee houses are places where Londoners and travellers alike meet and share political views as well as gossip and other news. There is a certain air of paranoia as there could be spies around anywhere at any time. It is in a coffee house where a large part of the action takes place. Meanwhile, there is an assassination plot to be thwarted, opium-dealing and an illegal slave trade into the bargain as well.
The book is undoubtedly entertaining and a must for fans of historical novels. My only complaint is that, I found it a bit turgid and slow in some places. Nevertheless, a thumbs-up for an above-average historical novel.