Friday, April 22, 2016

FIRE - C C Humphreys

First came Plague, now comes Fire. The epic tale of the hunt for a serial killer threatening London's rich and poor during the Great Fire of London. Perfect for fans of S J Parris and C J Sansom. 1666. The Great Plague has passed. Londoners celebrate survival in different ways. They drink. They gamble. They indulge in carnal delights. But 666 is the number of the Beast, the year foretold when Christ will return. A gang of fanatics - the Saints - choose to hasten that prophesied day. They will kidnap, rape, murder. Above all, they will kill a king. Two men - the highwayman William Coke and the thief-taker Pitman - are recruited to stop them. Then in the early hours of September 2nd, 1666, something starts that will overtake them all...London's a tinder box. Politically, sexually, religiously. Literally. It is about to burn.

REVIEW BY ANITA DAVISON

This novel is the second which features the adventures of former highwayman Captain Coke, who is haunted by his experiences during the English Civil War, and a thief-taker named Pitman, both once on opposing sides, but become partners, joined by Sarah Chalker, an actress and the Captain’s betrothed. An attempt on King Charles II takes place at the theatre, orchestrated by a fanatical group of Fifth Monarchists who read God’s instructions to rid the country of its sovereign into various signs, omens and compilation of numbers.

The language and banter between Coke and Pitman is delightfully authentic, without being difficult to read, and the character of King Charles is exactly as one would imagine him. He consults his timepiece during a meeting saying he must go because, ‘I am late for. . . something.’

Coke and Pitman thwart the naive, would-be assassin, but Blood and his cohorts have a scheme to not only bring their fanatical views to fruition, but make life unbearable for Coke and his new wife, which they manage with heart wrenching lack of pity.

Mr Humphreys takes the author’s rule to ‘put your character in a hole and throw rocks at them’ very seriously in this book as he takes the reader into the gritty, merciless side of 17th Century London life played out with its corrupt infrastructure, disease and dirt ridden streets where despair is never far away, then complicates everything when the great fire begins on September 3rd A thrilling roller coaster of a story with some engaging characters, all of whom I hope to read more about.


Anita Davison author of ‘Royalist Rebel’ under the name Anita Seymour and Murder on the Minneapolis, a Victorian cosy mystery.  

Anita's Blog: http://thedisorganisedauthor.blogspot.co.uk
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