If you love historical fiction, and a rollicking good murder mystery, then you’ll enjoy this novel as much as I did.
The action’s set in the middle of The Great Fire of London, September 1666, and only six years after Charles II regained his throne. In the previous twenty years to that, hundreds of thousands had died in the Civil War between Crown and Parliament, and Oliver Cromwell had ruled with an iron fist.
There are still difficulties and unease between those who supported one side or the other in the recent Civil War, and one of the main characters, Catherine Lovett, has a fugitive Regicide for a parent; that’s someone who assisted at the execution of Charles the first. The narrator, James Marwood, is also the son of a traitor, and he is forced to work as a government informer, dangerous work. In the aftermath of the Great Fire, a murdered man is found in the ashes of St Paul’s cathedral, and so the action begins.
Various personages from history appear in engaging ways in this novel, including Dr Wren, the famous architect, and Charles the Second himself, but Cat Lovett, and her struggles to defend herself from her rapacious uncle and cousin, make for a fantastic story, especially when she’s hell-bent on revenge for wrongs done to her.
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