by C. S. Quinn
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Page Count: 542
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Format: Trade Paperback
How got: free copy via GR giveaway
First attention getter: that giveaway
Hidden in London is a legendary power. A fabled chest guards secrets more precious than gold.
But in 1666 secrets are deadly, and London is burning…
Charlie Tuesday is the city’s best thief taker. But one case still eludes him, a mysterious key entrusted by the mother he barely knew. The key opens a chest of priceless papers—papers said to hold the dark alchemy of a lost Brotherhood.
As flames ravage the city, the thief taker must track the chest into London’s blackest heart, where smugglers trade and sorcerers conjure. What Charlie begins to unravel is more ancient and powerful than he ever dreamed.
But time is running out and fire is the greatest purge of all.
Star Rating - 4
A rousing tale of fire, intrigue, survival, and suspense, this book definitely doesn’t let the reader get bored. I found myself swept along for the adventure right along with Charlie and Lily. Yet, I felt that this book suffered if you haven’t read book 1. Another reviewer mentioned that it could stand alone, but I found myself getting lost in certain chapters without that background knowledge. Still, a fast-paced book that entertains and keeps the heart pumping.
The reader gets a real sense for the London streets and times of 1666. I get the feeling the author is intimately familiar with London as a place. She describes street layouts and buildings with incredible detail. Her exploration of the intrigue at Charles II’s court and the inner workings of how alchemy works added to the great world that Quinn built.
I liked her writing style, with shorter chapters and constantly changing POVs. Usually, this would actually irritate me as that format is an easy way to get lost in a deluge of POVs or shifting scenes. Yet, the way the author told her story with near constant action and a limited number of POVs make this format successful here. The shorter chapters kept me moving like crazy as London burned and Charlie and Lily raced towards a confrontation with Blackstone.
Both Charlie and Lily are great leads to tell this story through. They’re gritty, strong, and street-smart. They thought on their feet, which was important as the Great Fire of London was raging and death stalked their steps at every turn. I loved going with them on their journey to find out Charlie’s past, to defeat Blackstone, and learn to trust each other.
The earlier Blackstone chapters, though, threw me for a spin. I felt like I was missing something when they talked about his motivations, Teresa, and the secret rites he did with “his” boys. As I haven’t read the first book, I don’t know if these missing pieces would be present or not. Yet, I was confused more than once in trying to see how this all fit in with the overall story of the book. In the last third, everything made more sense and came together. Yet there are still points mentioned in the Blackstone chapters I don’t see how they worked into the overall storyline.
I’d still recommend this work to lovers of suspenseful adventure tales in historical fiction, despite the foggy points in some chapters. Another reader may get those points more than I did. This book still has the great suspense, background, and characters to carry it through and recommend it. I enjoyed the experience of reading it.
Note: Book received for free from publisher via GoodReads giveaway in exchange for honest opinion.