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The Thief Taker PDF, ePub eBook The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor's hood and mask... When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer's mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London and reveal the dark The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor's hood and mask... When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer's mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie's own past. Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide. In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.

30 review for The Thief Taker

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kate Brown

    Well, that's a few hours of my life I shall never get back. An unbelievable farrago, so badly researched that I found myself actually looking up things I knew were wrong just in case I was mistaken after all. The story itself is trivial - one potentially interesting idea, the debasement of the currency, is very lightly touched on at the end, and all the witchery seems to be abandoned without us ever knowing any more about it. This may well be because there are more books to come. The 'secret sce Well, that's a few hours of my life I shall never get back. An unbelievable farrago, so badly researched that I found myself actually looking up things I knew were wrong just in case I was mistaken after all. The story itself is trivial - one potentially interesting idea, the debasement of the currency, is very lightly touched on at the end, and all the witchery seems to be abandoned without us ever knowing any more about it. This may well be because there are more books to come. The 'secret scene' doesn't help much, and its Pinterest link doesn't work. The characters are inconsistently drawn, with no particular effort to pull together motives and habits from their past into a coherent whole, and no development in our knowledge of them or theirs of themselves. Charlie just about stands up, I suppose (though his occasionally selflessly tender heart isn't credibly embedded into his Artful Dodger background). But Maria is a cipher and the relationship between them is embarrassing. As for the other characters, Thomas and Teresa give absolutely no insight into why they behave as they do (it's really not enough to hint at post traumatic stress disorder), and the glimpses of others, royal or common, are cartoonish. But it's the history that really makes me cringe. Where shall I start? Tower Bridge or Regent Street? Her idea of 17thC London is bananas, not to put too fine a point on it. Actually, her idea of London at any period is bonkers, and I am stunned to find that she is apparently English and a journalist, which would suggest that she should know London. She has clearly no idea at all what the City of London actually is, or was. It is a discrete authority with very precise boundaries, and is presided over by the Lord Mayor of London (not 'Mayor Lawrence', he was no Boris, but always Lord Mayor, or Sir John). Westminster is another discrete city, a Royal one, no Mayor here. The wards and parishes between the two and out towards the suburbs were all under varying jurisdictions. The autor continually confuses all of these. The two major journeys that Charlie and Maria take are nonsensical - from Covent Garden, where the tavern is supposed to be, to Holborn, where I think Maria is supposed to live though there is some confusion, could not have included Cockspur Street (which is the other side of St Martin in the Fields). They might have gone via Cock Lane, but how could an author do that and simply witter on about Charterhouse when the reeking mess of Smithfield and the ancient priory of St Bartholomew are right in your way? And what Londoner, nay, what intelligent human being with access to Google Maps, could put Wapping several hours ride from Stratford? Or FOUR HOURS downstream from the Tower? And C Quinn has worked at The Times? Here are a few really terrible howlers of the dozens I've bookmarked. Life is too short to mention them all: Foundling Hospital (p. 19). There was no Foundling Hospital in pre-Fire London. There were two City Orphanages and they weren't run by nuns. +++++ Why do you not eat the biscuits straightaway ? The crown stamped on them shows your crime. (p. 26) Ships biscuit was not marked for the Navy until Victorian times. Nor was there a regular supply to the Navy until Pepys started to reorganise it. Nor, in fact, were there naval uniforms as such at the time. All that navy *blue* and gold braid came later. +++++ A set of new guards had been posted on Shaftesbury Circus. Plague security was certainly stepping up, thought Charlie. (p. 27) Shaftesbury Circus did not and does not exist. Shaftesbury (of Shaftesbury Avenue) lived in the 19thC. The place I think she means would have been deep in the slum of St Giles in the Fields, oddly enough where the first Plague cases were identified in 1665. Somewhere to avoid, erm, like the plague. ++++ The King’s mistress Louise Keroulle was walking across the room.(p. 61) The author doesn't even spell her name correctly. Louise de Keroualle was not the King's Mistress until after 1670. She had no brother George. and was made Duchess of Portsmouth in 1673. ++++ Ordinarily the smuggler brought in tobacco, wine, lace and silk to avoid paying duty at Tower Bridge. (p. 67) This is ridiculous. Tower Bridge was built in the late 19thC. +++++ The whole Mother Mitchell storyline is bizarre - she lives apparently in Mayfair, which was quite literally an open field in 1665, with a small market called Shepherds Market. The development of townhouses in Mayfair came in the 1680's. Later she is supposed to live in Regent Street, which is not Mayfair, is of course named after the Prince Regent, and was laid out in 1825. +++++ Marc-Anthony appears to be able to transport a sedan-chair single-handed (did she think it was a kind of rickshaw?) and takes Charlie to a bear-baiting. Bear baiting was actually suppressed during the Plague but in any case the bear-gardens were on the South Bank. Later on they talk of Regents Park, which again was named for the Prince Regent and was much later.(p. 74) Marc-Anthony also has ... a cottage in the little hamlet of Greenwich . He commuted once a week into the City by rowboat through the marshlands at Deptford Creek.(p. 68) This is also bizarre. Greenwich harboured a Royal Palace and is quite a grand little place. Deptford was and is marshy, but was also the home of enormous Royal Dockyards. It's perhaps an hour's rowing upriver to the Tower (past Wapping, by the way). Why would a boatman commute once a week such a short distance? +++++ ‘The actress Lynette? She is your wife?’ ‘Was my wife.’ ‘But she is known all over the city.’(p. 191) This is also just silly. The names of the (very few) actresses performing in the 1660's are very well known and there is neither any Lynette nor would anyone have spoken of her like that. She would have been 'Mistress Tuesday' or whatever her own name was. +++++ the chill of Cripplegate (p. 386) The whole Fenchurch/Aldersgate/Cripplegate mess only tells me again that the author never looked at a map. +++++ Oh yes. Buboils. Buboils? Since when? *Buboes* is and was the name for the swellings. Interestingly, there's not a single hit on Google for this idiotic word buboils. What was the editor thinking of when he or she passed this book fit for publication? I checked all these points in half-an-hour on Wikipedia, hardly a PhD research project. I can't think that C S Quinn has ever done any research at all, let alone historical.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    In the 1660s, thief takers solved the cases that were beneath the dignity of the typical London watchmen. The poorer sort of people, who had experienced a crime or theft, would come to men like the title character in this story for justice. He would attempt to track down the perpetrator by finding the property that they took and fenced. Usually, the thief taker could either get the property back for his client or turn the thief in to the higher authorities. But, the punishments back then were so In the 1660s, thief takers solved the cases that were beneath the dignity of the typical London watchmen. The poorer sort of people, who had experienced a crime or theft, would come to men like the title character in this story for justice. He would attempt to track down the perpetrator by finding the property that they took and fenced. Usually, the thief taker could either get the property back for his client or turn the thief in to the higher authorities. But, the punishments back then were so barbaric- chopping off a hand, splitting noses- that the thief taker would usually just let the criminal go with a warning to not steal again or advise him to find a different clientele. Charlie Tuesday is a thief taker in London. One day, a beautiful young woman comes to him for help in solving her sister's murder. Normally, he doesn't work on any cases larger than theft but the money that is offered is more than he can refuse. From the strange mutilation of the body, he determines that there's more to this crime than meets the eye. As the plague descends on London, he and Anna-Maria race to stop the murderer from striking again and, perhaps, even threatening the throne of England itself. The Thief Taker's scenery is lush. The customs, clothing, and food from 1665 are so different from what we have now. The reader is whisked away to a world that is the same in some ways (human behavior and emotions) and so different in other ways (social structures and occupations). I didn't even know what a thief taker was until I read this book. The story is an intricate mystery with the murders, possible witchcraft, and treason. I didn't see the ending coming at all. It could be that I don't read that many mysteries, but I thought that it was really well done. Another fascinating piece to this story are the plague victims. The horrific conditions that the author describes, like bodies rotting in the streets and the Thames becoming clogged with corpses around London Bridge, actually took place. Because of these icky details, The Thief Taker occasionally veers towards the horror genre but never really crosses that line. I kept picturing the rotting plague victims as zombies. In some ways, they're similar. Contact with a plague victim could bring infection. Sometimes, the main character would come across a body that would appear dead, but wasn't dead. At one point in the story, a character describes the plague victims who are wandering the streets in search of mercy as the "walking dead." It was very creepy. Also, the societal breakdown that accompanied the plague was so quick. Every moment the characters were in the London streets was filled with tension. The reader didn't know if a plague victim was going to pop out of a quarantined house or if a thug was going to try to commit a robbery in a dark alley. Readers who like the historical fiction of Philippa Gregory, Judith Merkle Riley, and Sarah Dunant may enjoy this. I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads program.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maxine (Booklover Catlady)

    You should be really glad you never will have to worry (too much) about the bubonic plague, seriously!. After reading this wonderful book of exceptional storytelling I am! This for me, is storytelling at it's finest, thrown in some history and add a dash of adventure and mystery and you are on to a winner. So what's the book about? The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask. When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tu You should be really glad you never will have to worry (too much) about the bubonic plague, seriously!. After reading this wonderful book of exceptional storytelling I am! This for me, is storytelling at it's finest, thrown in some history and add a dash of adventure and mystery and you are on to a winner. So what's the book about? The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask. When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London – and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past. Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide. In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all. My Review: I loved this book, not usually a massive fan of books with a historical theme I went for it anyway. It did not disappoint me. Before I get into my thoughts to share with you, indulge me for a moment in a brief and true history lesson to set the scene. The Great Plague of London in 1665 was the last in a long series of plague epidemics that first began in London in June 1499. The Great Plague killed between 75,000 and 100,000 of London’s rapidly expanding population of about 460,000. First suspected in late 1664, London’s plague began to spread in earnest eastwards in April 1665 from the destitute suburb of St. Giles through rat-infested alleys to the crowded and squalid parishes of Whitechapel and Stepney on its way to the walled City of London. By September 1665, the death rate had reached 8,000 per week. Let that sink in. Scary huh? So, this book is set in 1665 when the Great Plague of London was at it's peak. The men that everyone seeks out when a household member is suspecting to be ill with the plague were called the Plague Doctors. After reading this book I quickly concurred that in the world C.S. Quinn created these people didn't come with much of a bedside manner, but how the imagination runs riot with imagery! Nor very pleasant visitors, no indeed. Charlie summoned the image of a plague doctor to mind. In their dark capes, ghoulish masks and crystal eye-glasses they frightened adults as well as children. The long metal beaks were stuffed with camphor and vinegar to protect the wearer from the foul air, lending the doctors an acrid stench. And their treatments almost always involved blood-letting and lancing of plague buboils. Certainly he crossed over the road if he saw one. Nice huh? This book has wonderfully descriptive words all the way through it, I really felt transported back to this dreadful and dangerous time in history and was caught up in the whole story. Pure escapism at it's finest. Charlie is a thief-taker, hired to find the thieves that stole from those who had the money to pay him his fees. But he gets asked an unusual request from a pretty young woman to please help find who killed her sister in her bed whilst she was I'll. From that very moment, against all instinct and judgement, Charlie is really in the thick of it. The story is interwoven with a few different stories at the same time, seamlessly done. Each story line is really interesting and of course they all come together as they should at the end to complete the overall book. Charlie is quick to realise that the murdered woman he saw was not killed by any ordinary person but that evil was abound in London. The signs were there. Pure evil, witchcraft indeed. Gasp! The mystery is how he is connected to it all, around his neck he wears a key (see the book cover) and he knows not what it is for. It is from this that the rest of the story evolves as Charlie follows the steps of the murderer and the clues they leave behind. Who is this person? Why are they killing the way they do? Why the witchcraft? What is the message? What is the master plan? The story changes point of view between different characters such as the King, the Mayor of London, Charlie and most interestingly the person themselves that murdered in such a foul and evil way and has little intention of stopping. I found the characters fascinating and well written. Charlie comes across as bold, courageous and somewhat charming, raises as an orphan as a young boy he kind of pulls on the heart strings a bit, but he's so clever and so interesting to follow in this book. The evil murderer/plague doctor character is disturbing, and the way this character develops and is unraveled through the book is brilliant. By the end I was looking back on where I went with this character and think it was some very clever book writing. You will hopefully love this aspect of the book too. It's hard to share more without spoilers but I can say the book is extremely enjoyable, it has everything you want to escape with a good book, the plot is excellent, it has enough twists and turns that you can't work it all out for yourself. Some of the imagery conjured up around the ugliness of being riddled with the plague might put you off food for a while. Seriously nasty stuff that was! The book is also a lot of fun, a bit of a romp as we walk the streets with the beggars, the hungry, the prostitutes, the gamblers, the thief takers, the plague doctors, the watchmen and of course those cursed with the plague. You can almost SMELL how bad it was back then just by descriptions. It's history with well written interesting story around it, the historical base used as a base for the rest of the exciting journey. It's not a slow read, nor does it hurtle along too quickly. It's just right. I loved the ending and how it all came together, I had not predicted most of it so was surprised and delighted. I had moments of horror reading of the plague, the death pits with up to a thousand bodies thrown in, the sickness, the poverty and the sheer helplessness of the whole situation. A fascinating, entertaining, superbly written debut novel. I think C.S. Quinn got all the elements right in pulling this book together. I really enjoyed it and absorbed and hung on to every word. Recommended for anyone really, you don't have to be a fan of historical novels, it's a darn good read. 11/9/14 - I've just bumped my rating from a 4 star to 5 star. It's because this book keeps coming back to me days after reading it. It's been so memorable. Not a lot of books do that with me. I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Linda (Miss Greedybooks)

    This book was awarded to me by NetGalley. I enjoyed this historical fiction very much. The Plague doctor was totally frightening! Descriptions were spot on. Just the time period in London during the plague and what people would do had me on the edge of my seat and add the mystery involved here, it was a great suspense telling! A girl goes to a thief-taker to help solve the murder of her sister, the interaction between Charlie and Anne-Marie was superb. All of the characters were well defined in t This book was awarded to me by NetGalley. I enjoyed this historical fiction very much. The Plague doctor was totally frightening! Descriptions were spot on. Just the time period in London during the plague and what people would do had me on the edge of my seat and add the mystery involved here, it was a great suspense telling! A girl goes to a thief-taker to help solve the murder of her sister, the interaction between Charlie and Anne-Marie was superb. All of the characters were well defined in their dealings with each other. It kept in line and in time very well. The witchcraft aspect in those days was worked in well. It was the last few chapters, the reveal, that was a bit disappointing. I liked the tension between Charlie and Marie (as he told her he would call her - loved that bit) and when they became soft toward each other was not what I wanted - ok when she was drunk though. As high spirited as she was and what she said about her betrothed (what happened to him anyway?). I did not think she would fall for someone she clearly thought to be so much below her station (even though he was a better person and saved her life - more than once) - maybe if he had become rich at the end, she would have changed her mind - showing her colors again. And he could have put her off for that. The relationships at the last few chapters were a little confusing, the plague doctor, his wife, the mayor, and his assistant, and the King's guard. Maybe I was not catching on to what I should have? I will not put in spoilers about what I did get, but it seemed a little muddled, or maybe it was in my head that was the muddle? I guess there were other things I was hoping for; things that were built up over the story seemed to get let go. Charlie's brother, what happened to him? The mystery of their mother was just plopped out there and not treated as I thought it would be. The trunk, where did it go? What else did it hold? Over-all I really did like this book, I was just hoping for some other information at the end.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    What a disappointment! I don't mean to sound like an ass, but I simply cannot believe this author writes for her day job. The syntax is abrupt and choppy and...painful. She evidently has no idea how to work a comma. The dialogue between lower-class characters that doesn't contain contractions is enough to rip you right out of the story. This is appallingly amateurish. I've read better fan fiction written by high school students! I read more than I probably should have; the blurb made the book sound What a disappointment! I don't mean to sound like an ass, but I simply cannot believe this author writes for her day job. The syntax is abrupt and choppy and...painful. She evidently has no idea how to work a comma. The dialogue between lower-class characters that doesn't contain contractions is enough to rip you right out of the story. This is appallingly amateurish. I've read better fan fiction written by high school students! I read more than I probably should have; the blurb made the book sound like something right up my alley. Sadly, it never improved. Nice idea. Wretched, unprofessional execution. Total waste of time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    9 SEP 2014 -- Squee! I won! I CANNOT wait for this book to arrive. Thank you!Thank you!Thank you! Book has arrived. Will start reading tomorrow, Saturday, 20 SEP 2014. I leafed through and found where the author thanks Philipa Gregory, an author I do not care for. I presented this question to my Dear Friend, Bettie: Bettie, will you please tell me something? This young lady thanks Philipa Gregory. Please tell me this book is nothing like Gregory's books; is it? As much as I want to read The Thief 9 SEP 2014 -- Squee! I won! I CANNOT wait for this book to arrive. Thank you!Thank you!Thank you! Book has arrived. Will start reading tomorrow, Saturday, 20 SEP 2014. I leafed through and found where the author thanks Philipa Gregory, an author I do not care for. I presented this question to my Dear Friend, Bettie: Bettie, will you please tell me something? This young lady thanks Philipa Gregory. Please tell me this book is nothing like Gregory's books; is it? As much as I want to read The Thief Taker, I will be sad, very sad, if it is like Gregory's drivel. I hope to the blue sky and beyond that this does not turn out to be a copycat Gregory book in style, fiddling with historical facts, or in any other manner. Because, I am so very looking forward to reading and liking this book, I will be royally angry! And, having reached the end, I can say The Thief Taker is absolutely nothing like Gregory's books and I hope the author never again feels the need to drop names. You, Ms Quinn, are good enough to sail your own boat in your own name. 25 SEP 2014 -- Super! This book left me breathless while travelling the plague-rotted streets of London with Charlie and Maria. Thomas Malvern is a very bad man. I was afriad of him and the author's spot-on descriptions of his plague doctor outfit. I look forward to more adventures with Charlie (with or without Maria). Disclosure: I won this book here and was also approved for a galley copy at Netgalley (on the same day). I deeply appreciate the opportunity to read and review The Thief Taker. While I may not have written an over-long review containing a synopsis of the book (others have already provided that), I hope this review demonstrates the excitement I felt while reading The Thief Taker. Plus, as soon as I turned the last page, I turned to the first page and read it through a second time. Terrific.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    Two sad, plague infested stars. The Thief Taker tells the story of 1665 plague infested London, and thief taker (aka dude who will chase down thieves and stolen items for a fee) Charlie Tuesday as he tracks down a vile murderer dressed like a plague doctor, mixing with witchcraft and political upheaval along the way. First, the positives. I'm hardly an expert on 17th century British history, but the novel certainly seems well researched. There's a great amount of attention and care given to histor Two sad, plague infested stars. The Thief Taker tells the story of 1665 plague infested London, and thief taker (aka dude who will chase down thieves and stolen items for a fee) Charlie Tuesday as he tracks down a vile murderer dressed like a plague doctor, mixing with witchcraft and political upheaval along the way. First, the positives. I'm hardly an expert on 17th century British history, but the novel certainly seems well researched. There's a great amount of attention and care given to historical detail. To a history dunce like me, it read as believable enough, but any history experts will likely disagree. I also liked the level of creepiness. The author doesn't shy away from horror, both plague-derived and man made. The story's biggest weakness is in the writing. The sentences are choppy, bland, and structured repetitively. I found the plot to be mostly interesting, but the poor writing kept me from getting invested. I also found the romance, or whatever you may call it, between Charlie and Maria to be heavily choreographed and unbelievable. I don't mind reading a book where I know from the beginning that two characters will end up together. But in this case, almost every step was predicable and combined with a lack of chemistry, it did not work for me. This is a minor complaint, but it sometimes felt like the plague victims were written more like zombies than the dying. It was worst in scene outside the tavern in Wapping. The plague victims groan, shuffle, and are referred to as "walking men." Then they attack a boarded up house only to be repelled by gunfire? Total zombie territory. My biggest WTF is the ending. (view spoiler)[Seriously, what in the fucking fuck was that? A) That fake out with Maria was one of the dumbest things I've ever read. She drew on the plague tokens with makeup? And her bodice protected her from being seriously injured by the bullet? I read in the afterword that the author changed her mind about Maria dying and decided to let her live. And that's fine. But if you want to let a character live, maybe reconsider rewriting their death scene. B) All of Malvern's plans were failed by birds escaping. Birds. I'd just like to point that out. C) What was the point of Teresa and the witchcraft thing? I feel like the book could have been a lot clearer on Thomas & Teresa's motivations. D) Everyone seems to forget that Charlie is wanted for murder and witchcraft. They just walk off and leave Malvern, the guilty party! Of course, I don't give a shit if Charlie gets arrested, because he's immortal. Oh you didn't notice that? He flopped around in dead corpses a couple of times and went into every known plague zone, but doesn't ever die. The only explanation is that he's immortal. So if he gets sentenced to death, I'm not particularly worried. E) I'm only half kidding about that immortal shit. It makes as much sense as anything else did with the chest, the key, and the piles of rotting food. (hide spoiler)] The Thief Taker has some good history, but the writing really isn't strong enough to hold up +400 pages of plot, and it really could have benefited from some revisions. Goodreads provided me with a free copy to read and review. Thanks Goodreads!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ellinor

    I'm always looking for good historical fiction and especially historical crime - something which is unfortunately very rare. The Thief Taker immediately caught my eye: it seemed to be intelligent historical fiction and there seemed to be no love story involved (or at least wasn't the main focus). The novel is set in London during the great plague. People are dying by the dozens, hundreds, thousands. But with all these deaths there is one which is different: a young girl is dreadfully murdered - I'm always looking for good historical fiction and especially historical crime - something which is unfortunately very rare. The Thief Taker immediately caught my eye: it seemed to be intelligent historical fiction and there seemed to be no love story involved (or at least wasn't the main focus). The novel is set in London during the great plague. People are dying by the dozens, hundreds, thousands. But with all these deaths there is one which is different: a young girl is dreadfully murdered - by a plague doctor. At the crime scene a dark spell seems to have been performed but parts of the spell seem to be missing. Charlie Tuesday, a young thief taker, is asked to investigate the murder by the dead girl's sister. What starts as the hunt for a madman soon turns into the investigation of a plot against the king... I really enjoyed reading The Thief Taker. I liked how pitiless C.S. Quinn described the plague and its horrors. I knew how many people had died but I never imagined how dreadful it really was. I also liked the characters. Charlie is clever, even though he only had a simple education. Maria at times seems arrogant but really has a good heart. I have some issues with the crime, though. I was a bit surprised but who the murderer was. But I found that the solution of the murders ended a bit abruptly. I also have some problems with insane people committing crimes. Crimes committed by sane people just seem so moch more real. The book had an open ending. I usually prefer books and especially crime novels to have a closed ending. But in this case I didn't mind. In fact, I'm really looking forward to reading the next volume and finding out more about the plot and Charlie's past.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Yzabel Ginsberg

    (I got an ARC courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.) When it comes to knowing whether you liked a book or not, some are really hard to place. This novel is one of those. I really liked its atmosphere: London in 1665, the way its streets and buildings were depicted, how travelling from one place to another was so much different from what we know today, the many people we get to see, all both divided and united in a common fear. The plague is raging, and everyone wants out... or t (I got an ARC courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.) When it comes to knowing whether you liked a book or not, some are really hard to place. This novel is one of those. I really liked its atmosphere: London in 1665, the way its streets and buildings were depicted, how travelling from one place to another was so much different from what we know today, the many people we get to see, all both divided and united in a common fear. The plague is raging, and everyone wants out... or tries to do with what they have, including remedies and protective measures that we would definitely find stupid today, but that must have made sense at some point. The illness is sometimes depicted in really gruesome ways, and it helps enforcing the constant fear, the terror as soon as someone realises his spouse or her friend is developing "plague tokens". The description of the plague doctor was also very vivd, instilling dread as soon as he appeared. The interactions between Charlie and Anna-Maria were quite funny at times—he the boy left in an orphanage and proficient in the ways of the street, she a young woman with the manners and expectations of someone born in a good, though impoverished family. At first, I had my fears that she would be a dead weight, but fortunately she proved she had resources of her own when it came to improvising and remaining strong throughout their journey to find who killed her sister. However, I thought the plot on too many convenient occurrences (that happened by chance, and not because Charlie or Maria already had the relationships or resources needed). For instance, a character who discovered one of the victims' corpses later appears to work for another character that Charlie happens to know, and is also a relation of yet another character that Charlie also happens to know. All right, a lot of people had either fled or died from the plague, but surely the world can't be such a small place all the time? I would have accepted those coincidences easily if they had been of Charlie's making, but here they were too much on the deus ex machina side. I also found the last chapters to be a muddle of sorts. Some things happened, yet when I thought about them, I realised that I didn't see them actually happen in a chapter, and that there logically wouldn't have had time for them to happen; the narrative should have shown them to the reader, at least. Revelations about the real identity of the murderer left me wondering if I had completely missed something, or if it was just confusing. Same with how everyone was related within the plot. I felt as if everything was dumped on me all at once, too abruptly, and in a way that didn't always make sense. Finally, I wished a few more elements had been explained. What of Charlie's brother? What secrets did the papers hold? Was there actually some intriguing at the Court, considering how many hints were dropped that the King knew something, or that some of the people close to him were involved in some conspiracy? (Unless this book is the beginning of a series, in which case such information may be revealed in the next installment, but I'm not so sure about that.) Conclusion: I really liked the depiction of plague-ravaged London in the 17th century, but the plot didn't cut it so much for me in the end. 2.5 stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆

    This is a hard book to rate and I almost (ALMOST) feel bad about giving this 2 stars. Overall I did enjoy it. Enough, at least, that I'd probably read the next one. On the other hand, I did put it down for months at a time and only finished it when I didn't have more interesting things to read. There were two issues, really, that I had. The second and lesser one was something I could've probably lived with (joke not really intended) but the first was a deal breaker. The First: THE ENDING. WTF? I r This is a hard book to rate and I almost (ALMOST) feel bad about giving this 2 stars. Overall I did enjoy it. Enough, at least, that I'd probably read the next one. On the other hand, I did put it down for months at a time and only finished it when I didn't have more interesting things to read. There were two issues, really, that I had. The second and lesser one was something I could've probably lived with (joke not really intended) but the first was a deal breaker. The First: THE ENDING. WTF? I really hated this ending on every level. The 'who done it' person was totally ridiculous and introduced right at the end. I really, really hate that. That's not a twist. That's poor plotting. The motives of the villain were also some of the most stereotypical ones you'll ever find. I was like 'did this author just ... Yup. She just went there...' and then I found a corner to cry in. On top of the villain just springing up from Somewhere, we are then hit with a second plot that has nothing to do with anything. It's like the murderer is dealt with (in a rather ridiculously easy way) and BAM! A new plot line... right at the end of the fucking book. The Second: DEAD BODIES! I might've ignored this but by the end (on top of everything about), I just ... couldn't. It almost felt the author went out of her way to put dead bodies in every scene of this book. Even in places where there should be no dead bodies... at all. By the end I was totally reading this book to see if there was a scene without dead bodies and there were few. In a way it was almost amazing because it was done so creatively... But there were still dead bodies. XD Here an example: they were going through a marsh/bog area where there were no people around. I mean, they were slogging through water and worried they'd get sucked in. This was apparently a very out of the place but a short cut (instead of going all the way around.) So, no houses. No people. Nothing. The MC trips, swears, then what do we see? No, guess! You have to guess! That's right. A body. But it wasn't just one body. Nope. Suddenly, all around them, dozens of bodies mysteriously float to the surface. Our heroes surmise that these bodies must've been here for a year because apparently there'd been a battle close by. Up they pop, all these gear all in place and everything. How the hell did they stay all clothed and shit after a year? How did that one body floating up queue the others to rise as well? I seriously lost count of the bodies he tripped over. I am SO not joking. I wish I were but I'm not. I don't think he even tripped over anything else. How the hell did he miss all the bodies he was (always) surprised he stumbled over. Like, the corpse is right there. It's not hiding. Yet he's always surprised. We also get a scene of him jumping out of a upstairs window to land on a ... wait for it! wait for it! pile of dead plague victims. When he saw the wagon, he was like 'awesome! Those dead bodies will lessen the fall!' I had like 5 facepalms after that. It was so utterly random and needless. I sadly went into that scene with the notion that the MC couldn't trip over a body here and I was mistaken. D:

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jason Parent

    I'm not sure if this book was technically sound (some head jumps that only editors, not readers, care about). I would have to go back and re-read to see if the twist really worked. But despite any shortcomings (again, if any) in those departments, I thoroughly enjoyed this book about a man who is essentially a 1600s, plague-ridden-London version of a PI who unwittingly becomes the prime murder suspect in a heinous murder. Loved the characters, both bad and good, and particularly the dynamics bet I'm not sure if this book was technically sound (some head jumps that only editors, not readers, care about). I would have to go back and re-read to see if the twist really worked. But despite any shortcomings (again, if any) in those departments, I thoroughly enjoyed this book about a man who is essentially a 1600s, plague-ridden-London version of a PI who unwittingly becomes the prime murder suspect in a heinous murder. Loved the characters, both bad and good, and particularly the dynamics between them. The plot and dialog kept me page turning. A few loose ends I can live with, particularly now that I know it is a series. This book rocked. Horror, mystery, real human drama steeped in historical relevance. I will be reading the next one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    2 1/2 stars *I received a free copy of this book through a GoodReads contest. My thanks to the author. I think the stars were lined up against this book from the get-go. On October 2, 2014 I received notice that I was a Goodreads winner of this book – YAY!... but the book never arrived. Next, I notified Amazon Publishing that I never received the book… and it still didn’t come. At last, on November 20th the book FINALLY showed up… but the holidays were fast approaching and I didn’t have time to rea 2 1/2 stars *I received a free copy of this book through a GoodReads contest. My thanks to the author. I think the stars were lined up against this book from the get-go. On October 2, 2014 I received notice that I was a Goodreads winner of this book – YAY!... but the book never arrived. Next, I notified Amazon Publishing that I never received the book… and it still didn’t come. At last, on November 20th the book FINALLY showed up… but the holidays were fast approaching and I didn’t have time to read it. I then forgot all about it. I saw the book sitting on my shelf, and on February 9th I sat down to read it. Oh joy! Within the first 2 pages I felt an immediate connection with the story. (I LOVE when that happens!) While touring in Europe last fall, I viewed an actual plague doctor's costume, mask and all. Creepy looking, isn’t it? Unfortunately, that was the high point of the book for me. The more I read, the further I got bogged down in descriptions of plague victims that were a bit too graphic for me. To tell you the truth, at times I felt like I was reading a book about zombies! And I didn’t much like it. The book seemed to go on and on, and quite frankly I became bored to tears. It started to smell like a series to me, and I just KNEW that my questions were not going to be answered in the end, which made it harder and harder to finish reading it. But finish it I did, and knew that I was honor bound to write a review as soon as I got back from my trip to Florida… AND BOO HOO...I DIDN’T WANT TO! I finished the book last month. This is my review. Mea culpa. NOTE: Why do I SO resent reading something when I “have” to? I read over a hundred books a year, and this book should have only taken a couple of days to polish off. But if I am not enjoying a book, I start to dread picking it up and will do anything other than read. Stupid of me, huh? If I just would have finished the damn thing, I could have moved on to something that might have been more to my liking.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Things I learned while reading this book: 1.) If you are reading about any kind of disease outbreak, it is best to avoid reading while eating. Seriously, I made that mistake twice. 2.) If I see a plague doctor walking toward me on the street, I'm running the other direction. 3.) Always carry a little cream blush. This novel was a dark and gritty look at plague invested London. I definetly did not get the impression this novel was for the faint of heart. See the above notice about eating and read Things I learned while reading this book: 1.) If you are reading about any kind of disease outbreak, it is best to avoid reading while eating. Seriously, I made that mistake twice. 2.) If I see a plague doctor walking toward me on the street, I'm running the other direction. 3.) Always carry a little cream blush. This novel was a dark and gritty look at plague invested London. I definetly did not get the impression this novel was for the faint of heart. See the above notice about eating and reading. I would also caution readers to keep an extra light on while reading. Note: I don't know how seriously anyone wants to take my warnings. I am a person who does everything possible to avoid horror movies. The one knock I have was the plot. It was predictable. Other than trying to track down a killer, the protagonists didn't really have any struggles. There were a lot of things that fell into their laps. There were a few plot twists at the end that saved this book. Without those plot twists, this book would have suffered from what I am calling "big red bow syndrome". This is a condition in which the author ends a story by wrapping everything up in a pretty package with a big red bow and more or less gives the reader everything they want. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't. I am very interested in seeing where the author takes Charlie and Maria. I have read this book is to be the first in a series. With the Great London Fire on the horizon I see potential for a brilliant series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daphne

    I'm almost tempted to give this one a third store for absolutely absurdity of it. I'd recommend this book for a rowdy book club that wants to play a drinking game that involves taking a shot each time the main character stumbles, jumps, hugs, or walks across a bloated plague corpse. *NOTE* At least one member of your book club will end up the hospital due to alcohol poisoning. There is literally a point in the story where the two main characters use year old floating corpses as a CORPSE BRIDGE, a I'm almost tempted to give this one a third store for absolutely absurdity of it. I'd recommend this book for a rowdy book club that wants to play a drinking game that involves taking a shot each time the main character stumbles, jumps, hugs, or walks across a bloated plague corpse. *NOTE* At least one member of your book club will end up the hospital due to alcohol poisoning. There is literally a point in the story where the two main characters use year old floating corpses as a CORPSE BRIDGE, and proceed to walk across their bloated corpse. They even take a moment, mid-corpse-stride, to clumsily embrace and stare longingly into one another's eyes. I can't even imagine attempting to make something up like that. Then there is the part where the world's most inept pigeon becomes the final plot point that allows our heroes to emerge victorious. Here is how it goes: 1. Evil guy releases pigeon with note attached. 2. Evil guy and good guy have a five minute conversation about how evil guy is going to win. 3. Good guy eventually finds that he is laying on the gun that he had fallen on top of when evil guy knocked him into the pit of fake plague bodies that are actually fake shillings wrapped to resemble plague bodies. 4. Evil and good guy talked a little bit more. 5. Good guy finally grabs gun, and shoots inept pigeon from the sky, even though he has never shot a gun before. Seriously, this scene would have taken at least ten minutes to play out. In that time the pigeon is apparently floating in the air helicopter style. I don't even have words.

  16. 4 out of 5

    AdiTurbo

    DNF at 31%, not written well enough, not very engaging. Plot pretty implausible and characters not well developed. It seems that the research done wasn't good enough, either.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    I'd call this a low level pick, but still a pick. It introduces Charlie Tuesday, and London in 1665. The Black Plague is rampant, and Charlie gets involved in a murder case. For a guy who usually finds missing people and things, it's a big stretch. And, of course, there's a beautiful woman involved. There are gruesome details, nefarious villains, and more. Full review at my book blog, TheBibliophage.com.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wart Hill

    [I received a free ARC of this book via NetGalley. This fact has no bearing on my review] You can read this and other reviews at Things I Find While Shelving Charlie Tuesday is a thief taker - he finds stolen items for people. When he is enlisted to help find a murderer, he's a little wary - not his usual sort of job - but the money is good, even if he just looks at the crime scene, so why not? Except there's a symbol on the body that matches one on an item he's had since arriving at the foundling [I received a free ARC of this book via NetGalley. This fact has no bearing on my review] You can read this and other reviews at Things I Find While Shelving Charlie Tuesday is a thief taker - he finds stolen items for people. When he is enlisted to help find a murderer, he's a little wary - not his usual sort of job - but the money is good, even if he just looks at the crime scene, so why not? Except there's a symbol on the body that matches one on an item he's had since arriving at the foundling hospital, so the girl who hired him - Anna Maria - thinks he's the murderer. Now he's on a mission to prove his innocence and untangle a the web of mystery surrounding not only this first murder, but all the ones that follow. Hard enough to begin with, but London is also being decimated by the Plague. His suspects and witnesses could be long gone by the time he even discovers their connections to the case. But he and Anna Maria (once he's convinced her he did not, in fact, murder her sister) are determined to bring the killer to justice. This book is such a page turner! I was hooked from the start and the twists and turns in the plot are intriguing and just when I thought I had the mystery figured out, I had a new theory, and then a new one. AND THEN THE REVEAL OMG! And the characters are fantastic. From Charlie and Anna Maria themselves to Bitey (who has wooden teeth and likes to raise pigs), they're all so well developed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    I received this ARC from Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review. In the Acknowledgments section of this book, C.S. Quinn says that she wasn't published at first, because they wanted Philippa Gregory. Nothing against Ms. Gregory, but The Thief Taker is, in my opinion, just as well-researched but much more fun than any novelization on the War of the Roses. It is a thrilling historical mystery, set in London while afflicted by the plague. I hate it when I can see all the twists coming a mile I received this ARC from Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review. In the Acknowledgments section of this book, C.S. Quinn says that she wasn't published at first, because they wanted Philippa Gregory. Nothing against Ms. Gregory, but The Thief Taker is, in my opinion, just as well-researched but much more fun than any novelization on the War of the Roses. It is a thrilling historical mystery, set in London while afflicted by the plague. I hate it when I can see all the twists coming a mile away, but in this case I was genuinely surprised over and over again. This is an absolute page-turner (or button-smasher, in my case). I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical novels, whodunits, thrillers and well-written books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    A very exciting romp through plague infested London. Definitely on a par with the Hangman's Daughter series. I really enjoy the pace of this book. There isn't a single page of wasted storytelling. Several plot lines weaving and converging in a finely crafted and well researched tale. I like how this book relies on your imagination to fill in some of the worst details without laying them out. I felt like I needed a bath and to check for plague sores after reading this.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    Set in London in 1665, the first book in this series introduces readers to Charlie Tuesday, a thief taker - which basically means that he finds lost items for a fee. That's his usual gig anyway but the plague is hitting London hard and that means that a whole lot of people are either dying or leaving town for safer pastures, the consequence of which is that Charlie is having a hard time making his rent. Enter Maria, whose sister was brutally murdered in the prologue, who is dead set on seeing th Set in London in 1665, the first book in this series introduces readers to Charlie Tuesday, a thief taker - which basically means that he finds lost items for a fee. That's his usual gig anyway but the plague is hitting London hard and that means that a whole lot of people are either dying or leaving town for safer pastures, the consequence of which is that Charlie is having a hard time making his rent. Enter Maria, whose sister was brutally murdered in the prologue, who is dead set on seeing the killer found and brought to justice and who is willing to pay to see it done. Now, here is where I have issues with the basic plot. I can understand Maria's anger and need for justice BUT, with the plague ravaging London and corpses piling up in mass graves and infection spreading faster than anyone can deal with, it just seems to me that Maria should have other matters taking precedence at this particular time...like survival. Of course, I never really liked Maria. It's nothing I can put my finger on or point to and say, "Oh yes, that's why I don't like her". I just never warmed to her and I didn't buy any of her actions but, then again, I consider it a matter of high stupidity to keep rushing into areas that are hardest hit with the plague just on the off chance of finding a clue. And the ending, as it pertains to her...I was really tempted to deduct a full star for that. It's clear she's meant to be the romantic love interest but from where I sit, there is zero/zip/zilch spark with Charlie. To be fair to Maria, Charlie was also charging into plague infested areas of London and earning his fee isn't his only motivation. There's a mystery surrounding his mother and the strange key she left with him. I gather this element of the narrative will serve as longer arc through the series. I'm curious enough about that to give the second book in this series a try. I found the mystery in this one a bit iffy and confusing. Sitting here now, having just finished reading this last night, I'm having difficulty understanding what the killer's motivation was.

  22. 4 out of 5

    ☕Laura

    Ratings (1 to 5) Writing: 3 Plot: 4 Characters: 3 Emotional impact: 4 Overall rating: 3.5 Favorite quote: "Best to take one day at a time in this uncertain life and be grateful for those days that treat you well."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    [I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.] London, 1665, plague is ravaging the streets alongside a satanic serial killer. After the brutal murder of her sister, Anna-Maria seeks the help of a local Thief-Taker, Charlie Tuesday to help bring the killer to justice. Unbeknownst to Charlie, a token left on the body happens to match the symbol on the key he wears around his neck. A key which Charlie knows very little about aside from the fact that his mother [I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.] London, 1665, plague is ravaging the streets alongside a satanic serial killer. After the brutal murder of her sister, Anna-Maria seeks the help of a local Thief-Taker, Charlie Tuesday to help bring the killer to justice. Unbeknownst to Charlie, a token left on the body happens to match the symbol on the key he wears around his neck. A key which Charlie knows very little about aside from the fact that his mother left it with him as a child when he and his brother Rowan were left at the Foundling Hospital. To clear his name and follow the only clue he has ever had to where he might come from, Charlie and Maria pursue the killer through the streets of London. For a first time novelist, I am highly impressed with The Thief Taker. It is a well written novel that keeps you on your toes until the end. I had a hunch who the killer might be, but I was only half right, and boy did that surprise me! The characters are very well written and likeable. The detail and the gore of the zombie-like plague victims latching onto people gave me heebie-jeebies. And if they weren't scary enough, the bird-like Plague Doctor was of nightmares. My only complaint would be haphazard “clues” that Charlie and Maria follow that seem a little too lucky not to be coincidental.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Overall, this was a little bit of an uneven book. I loved seeing London (my old home town) through completely different eyes. Of course, I've heard of the plague, but I've never actually envisaged what it was like to live through that and C.S. Quinn is not afraid to show that in all its gruesome detail. The terror as it spread, the breakdown of society as people fled London, and the sheer magnitude of the impact all come through strongly. One line stood out about how it first struck people you d Overall, this was a little bit of an uneven book. I loved seeing London (my old home town) through completely different eyes. Of course, I've heard of the plague, but I've never actually envisaged what it was like to live through that and C.S. Quinn is not afraid to show that in all its gruesome detail. The terror as it spread, the breakdown of society as people fled London, and the sheer magnitude of the impact all come through strongly. One line stood out about how it first struck people you didn't know, then people you were familiar with, then people you loved ... What did not work so well for me was the overall plot. As other reviewers have mentioned, there were a few too convenient escapes or resolutions. And there were a couple of places in the book where I suspended disbelief because of confusion, for example (view spoiler)[ the bit where Charlie talks to the priest about Malvern, and Charlie is talking about the murder of girls and dark magic and the priest, having said that he knows about the girls and heard rumors that Malvern is a corpse collector, says "Thomas Malvern would never do or say anything contrary to his Catholic faith." (hide spoiler)] . But, I did find myself looking forward to getting back to the book and was definitely interested to read all the way to the end to solve the mystery. Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the ARC.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Charlie grew up in a foundling home with his brother and in this episode comes close to finding his origins. A part of them was revealed, and a part of them was whisked away for further reading~ a good clue to further episodes. Charlie's love interest Maria fits nicely into his group of significant others who are well developed characters. So stay tuned. Historical novel reading gives me great and readable insight into periods of time I wish to learn more about. Several of my ancestors came to th Charlie grew up in a foundling home with his brother and in this episode comes close to finding his origins. A part of them was revealed, and a part of them was whisked away for further reading~ a good clue to further episodes. Charlie's love interest Maria fits nicely into his group of significant others who are well developed characters. So stay tuned. Historical novel reading gives me great and readable insight into periods of time I wish to learn more about. Several of my ancestors came to the US in the 1640s, was it to escape such troubles? I definitely need to know more about this. I am glad to know that Charlie Oakley's Thief Taker enterprise is thriving after this plague epidemic, as I hope to read a sequel. The writing was vivid and in some cases graphic, which I hope was specific to the plague and not Charlie's entire life, or he will not survive much longer. C.S.Quinn is a fine writer for this genre, which is probably adventure with a touch of horror. Definitely recommended for those that relish murder and thrills with their history.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    I was given this by netgalley for a honest review enjoyed this book but felt the overall plot could been stronger but seems have been researched in detail in the period just after the restoration and the mishaps of the latter part of the 1660's. will look forward in interest how the second in the series goes as feel there is promise in historical fiction in an area which has recently been ignored.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hayley Noble

    I feel a little bit on the fence with this book. As a 'fantasy' book I did enjoy the basics of the plot. We follow Charlie a thief taker in London in the height of the plague, as a thief taker he helps solve the petty thefts that are below the guardsmen, however when he encounters Maria - a pretty young woman whose sister has been brutally murdered, he can't help but get involved, especially with the amount of money she is offering. This leads them on a murder mystery trail through the plague ri I feel a little bit on the fence with this book. As a 'fantasy' book I did enjoy the basics of the plot. We follow Charlie a thief taker in London in the height of the plague, as a thief taker he helps solve the petty thefts that are below the guardsmen, however when he encounters Maria - a pretty young woman whose sister has been brutally murdered, he can't help but get involved, especially with the amount of money she is offering. This leads them on a murder mystery trail through the plague riddled streets of London. Discovering that these murders are from less than a mad man, but someone involved in witchcraft, with a passion for destroying England anyway they can. As I said, in terms of basic plot this story is enjoyable but it does have many plot holes. It brings up the subject of witchcraft and how it could possibly be related to these murders, and even though it does explore this, it seems to forget about that part of the story and never really goes into detail or explains it. It is the same with Charlie's childhood, there are obviously some secrets lurking there, Quinn builds it up and builds it up, then touches upon the subject and then we are almost supposed to forget about it. It doesn't make sense. It also doesn't help that the writing is really clunky, we jump around so much that, even though it isn't hard to keep up, it is irritating. However this book falls into the historical fiction category, and that, in my opinion, is where it fails. I appreciate that this is a fiction book, I appreciate the parts involving the king are fiction to fit into the story, etc. I can forgive the odd historical mistake for that reason, but to not even research basic stuff is pretty lazy. I'm talking not talking about the minor things like a wrong street name, I'm talking about the fact that the kings mistress's name is wrong. If you are going to involve the royal family as part of the story, at least get their names correct! I am not a huge history buff, so if I'm even noticing these historical mistakes that you know that Quinn needed to do her research more thoroughly. One of the big things I loved was the way the plague victims were portrayed like zombies, even referred to as the walking dead at times. From a quick glance through other reviews I know a lot of people didn't like this, but it really worked for me. It gave the book a slightly more spookier feel, and I found myself almost on edge waiting for one to jump out and infect a main character. I feel the disease and the actions of people having it were extremely realistic and well written, people would have been terrified of being touched, and these people would have been in so much agony they would have been begging for anyone to end it for them. I enjoyed Charlie and Maria's relationship too, although it was completely predictable, but I felt invested enough in it to want them to come together. This was an ok book, I'm not too sure how it can be part of a series but I will defiantly read the next one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    C. A. Powell

    I enjoyed this book way more than I was expecting too. I'm always lured by historical thrillers. Especially if it is set in Britain's past. This story was most unusual. It is about a Thief-Taker who must take on a task way out of his normal perimeters of work. He must investigate a serial murderer stalking plague-ridden London of 1665 during the Restoration era of King Charles II. The story is unashamedly farfetched, but that is what makes it. There are all sorts of boundaries that the writer pre I enjoyed this book way more than I was expecting too. I'm always lured by historical thrillers. Especially if it is set in Britain's past. This story was most unusual. It is about a Thief-Taker who must take on a task way out of his normal perimeters of work. He must investigate a serial murderer stalking plague-ridden London of 1665 during the Restoration era of King Charles II. The story is unashamedly farfetched, but that is what makes it. There are all sorts of boundaries that the writer presents. Like checkpoints in various districts of London. Outside of London, in the countryside, there are groups of vigilante patrols hell-bent on killing refugees fleeing the plague. This is to contain it. The author makes a wonderful and diabolical way of showing the dying plague-ridden victims. They are contained in districts. They look like something from the walking dead. Like zombies, except in need of help and desperate to beseech anyone for spiritual or any other type of charity. Obviously, uninfected Londoners are desperate to be out of their way. It gets rather claustrophobic at times as one pictures these wretched and diseased people crawling and staggering towards you. This is a crime/historical/horror story. In parts, it is rather gory. We have a serial killer dressed as a plague doctor. A Thief Taker who is well out of his league trying to hunt the killer. He is also well out of his league with the gorgeous well to do lady who has hired him. I can't help thinking this would make a grand modern Hammer House Horror production as a movie. I suppose it is classified as a historical crime story. However, I would class it as Horror too. My only nitpick is one. The beginning was great. The first third of the story was engrossing. The middle third of the story petered down a bit. I thought it was going to lose its way. But then in the final third the whole tale bounced back with a second wind. A very good read and a rather unusual and compelling story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I loved this book. For one thing, I have probably an unhealthy obsession with plague, so just about any book set during the Black Death or the Great Plague is going to grab my attention. Also, this was a gross, gripping mystery. So much gore and death and a genuinely interesting story! I loved Charlie Tuesday. He reminded me a kind of a lot, actually, of Crispin Guest, only a lot later in time. Not a perfect match but similar. The story was intriguing and I did NOT see the twist at the end - wel I loved this book. For one thing, I have probably an unhealthy obsession with plague, so just about any book set during the Black Death or the Great Plague is going to grab my attention. Also, this was a gross, gripping mystery. So much gore and death and a genuinely interesting story! I loved Charlie Tuesday. He reminded me a kind of a lot, actually, of Crispin Guest, only a lot later in time. Not a perfect match but similar. The story was intriguing and I did NOT see the twist at the end - well done, CS Quinn! I usually spot the twist a mile away! I listened to this on Audible and the narrator had a dead sexy voice. Not a Benedict Cumberbatch level of knee-melt, but still an appropriately British level of sexiness that made me want to meet Charlie Tuesday in a dark alley sometime.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hadenmaiden

    I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. It is a historical thriller, not of the kind of historical fiction that I am more used to. It is set in London at the time of the plaque, and as the author points out in the acknowledgments, it isn’t like Phillippa Gregory at all. Coincidentally, I had thought this myself several times whilst reading the book; having read and enjoyed a couple of Ms Gregory’s books set in the same time period, and involving I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. It is a historical thriller, not of the kind of historical fiction that I am more used to. It is set in London at the time of the plaque, and as the author points out in the acknowledgments, it isn’t like Phillippa Gregory at all. Coincidentally, I had thought this myself several times whilst reading the book; having read and enjoyed a couple of Ms Gregory’s books set in the same time period, and involving a couple of the same characters. As the characters of Charles II, Catherine, and one of his mistresses, Louise developed, they showed in a different light to the ones in which Ms Gregory had portrayed them. All in all, I found this positive – after all, we are talking about a period over 300 years ago, and to a large extent what we know of any of the characters of that time is bound to be modern day interpretation of events. The story is based around a young man whose profession of Thief-Taker is something like a bounty hunter/private detective character who goes by the name of Charlie Tuesday. His surname being adopted after he and his brother were left as foundlings, it being the custom to name children by the day of the week on which they were left. Charlie is approached by a young woman who asks for help solving the murder of her sister. Reluctant to become involved, as his speciality is finding thieves, not murderers, Charlie is enticed to at least ‘take a look’ when offered a substantial sum at a time when he is in real need of cash. From there the tale becomes complicated by intrigue, smuggling, witchcraft and mystery. To say much more would spoil the experience for other readers. For readers of conventional historical fiction, I would say that this book might not be what you would expect. There is certainly some fairly graphic description of the sights, sounds and smells that abound, and isn’t for the faint hearted. It is, however, a cracking story, which keeps on developing right to the end. Charlie is a very likeable chap, and endearingly human in his failings and weaknesses. At the same time he’s wily, brave and mysterious. I look forward to getting to know him better in the next book which must surely follow.

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