Published this week by The Drowned City By K.J. Maitland is a historical mystery, full of intrigue. If you are looking for a page turner with a difference this Easter weekend then look no further! Huge thanks to Caitlin Raynor for my gifted copy.
The story begins in the depth of Newgate Jail. It is the strange and dangerous year 1606 the Gunpowder Plot still dominates the political and religious temperature of the time. Suspicion permeates every quarter and the hunt for sorcery, witchcraft and other unholy arts is at it’s peak.
Daniel Pursglove, as we come to know him, is being held, awaiting sentence for suspected sorcery. But when, a year to the day from the Gunpowder plot, a strange tidal surge floods the city of Bristol many miles away, Daniel unexpectedly earns a reprieve. Sent by the shadowy and powerful Charles FitzAlan to investigate, Daniel’s continued freedom relies entirely on what he discovers.
King James, paranoid and in fear of losing his power, requires absolute proof of a Jesuit plot. A plot he believes to have been aided by the power of witchcraft. And there is one particular conspirator that is wanted above all others; Spero Pettingar. If Daniel can deliver news of this man, his freedom is certain. If he can’t, then an uncertain fate awaits him.
But the town of Bristol is in turmoil. At the best of times this port is a shadowy place, full of outcasts and spies, hidey holes and a ruled by a violent gang living with the castle walls. And this isn’t the best of times. The flood and it’s aftermath have reeked havoc on the place and everyone is intend on surviving in anyway they can.
Shortly after his arrival Daniel finds himself caught up in a series of grisly murders, each connected by something only he connects with. But the link between the victims is unclear and at times strays too close to home.
Do these murders hold the key to wider intrigues and plots? Or are they leading Daniel down a false and dangerous path, one that leads even further from his potential freedom?
This is novel to lose yourself in. With a plot that twists and turns, but never disappoints, it is a story that never stands still but rather claims and reclaims your attention again and again.
The foulness of the age, both in sounds, sights and beliefs resonances throughout. This is an underworld of filth, of crime but also of hard won survival. Everyone is trying to stay one step ahead and no one is quite what they seem.
The sense of tension, the feeling of the world being unstable, uncertain and not to be trusted is present and tangible throughout. The text is alive with possibilities and the reader is never quite sure where you are going to end up next.
This is the first in a new series of historical mysteries and the scene is most definitely set for more intrigue and excitement to come.
I can’t wait!
The Drowned City by K.J.Maitland is released by Headline on 1st April 2021