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.
The Great Plague, that killed 100,000 citizens, has passed. Londoners celebrate survival in different ways. Some with praising God. Many, including the Merry Monarch and his court, with sin. They drink. They gamble. They indulge in carnal delights.
666 is the number of the Beast, this the year foretold when Christ will return. To slay the Devil. To bring the New Jerusalem. A gang of fanatics – the Saints - choose to hasten that prophesied day. They will kidnap, rape, murder. Above all, they will kill a king. For in the renegade Captain Blood they have the perfect assassin.
Two men - the highwayman William Coke and the thief-taker Pitman - are recruited to stop them. Both fall victim to the Saint’s foul plots. All seems lost…
Yet in the early hours of September 2nd, 1666, something starts that will overtake them all – fanatics, princes, soldiers and fops, actresses and holy murderers. For the year of the Beast is three quarters done and the Devil has not yet had his due.
London’s a tinder box. Politically, sexually, religiously. Literally. It is about to burn.
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“Fast, exciting historical adventure, to be read in huge gulps. A runaway carriage of a book.”
―Conn Iggulden, author of War of the Roses
“PLAGUE is one of those books where you turn the last page and wish there were more. The very best of history, mystery, romance and sheer fun. (Well, and a few rats…) London itself is as vivid a character as the actors, adventurers and intriguers who people its all-too-few pages.”
“It’s vintage Humphreys, which is to say that it is beautifully written. I have long been a huge fan of his writing voice which is a perfect mixture of style, pin-point description, humour and a certain wry wisdom. His characters are larger than life but always credible. And so it was with Plague, which from the opening pages was a pacy, exciting read. It’s a brilliant depiction of seventeenth century London in all its glory and grime against the grim backdrop of the eponymous plague. A great read all round, and for my money Chris is better than Sansom and more than deserves equal success.”
Chris Humphreys has excelled himself in this richly glorious white-knuckle ride through a London torn apart by recent civil war and caught on the edge of plague. The language is lyrical and lovely and feels utterly grounded in the time. The plot is a perfect crime thriller with something new round each corner: always unexpected, always satisfying. The Thief and the Thief taker are both wounded, vulnerable, damaged men, but the synergy of the two together is a glory to watch and I loved it. This matches the earthy lyricism of Pepys with the crime-crafting talents of a Rankin or a Cornwell in a vibrant, utterly immersive wonder of a novel. Impossible to put down. Read it.”