Humphreys (The French Executioner) brings to life the Restoration period, persuasively capturing the festive atmosphere inspired by the Stuarts' return to the throne after Oliver Cromwell's puritanical "reign." In stark contrast to this cultural atmosphere are the physical conditions of 1665 London: the steaming cesspits, the rank odors of its unwashed inhabitants and the grimy streets populated by rats. Those claimed by the plague are marked not only by the black "buboes" on their bodies but also by the crosses and bible verses painted in red on their barricaded doors. Some attribute this devastation to God's wrath toward the realm's licentiousness and wait for the "End of Days" foretold in the book of Revelation. One fanatical group resorts to murder in an effort to hasten this Apocalypse and, in response, a motley crew of inventive and memorable characters are united, including a cavalier ex-soldier turned highwayman, the simple yet loyal urchin he rescued from the street, an intimidating and capable thief-taker and a beguiling stage actress who work together to avenge the murders already committed and to prevent another. Humphreys' expressive writing style and ability to weave a tale from these engaging characters' respective points of view makes for a rich and addictive read, ideal for fans of historical fiction. Agent: Simon Trewin, William Morris Endeavor. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/30/2014 Release date: 07/01/2014 Genre: Fiction
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