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The Last Days of Newgate (Pyke Mysteries) [Paperback]

Andrew Pepper
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

5 July 2007 Pyke Mysteries (Book 1)
St Giles, London, 1829: three people have been brutally murdered and the city simmers with anger and political unrest. Pyke, sometime Bow Street Runner, sometime crook, finds himself accidentally embroiled in the murder investigation but quickly realises that he has stumbled into something more sinister and far-reaching. In his pursuit of the murderer, Pyke ruffles the feathers of some powerful people and, falsely accused of murder himself, he soon faces a death sentence and the gallows of the Old Bailey. Imprisoned, and with only his uncle and the headstrong, aristocratic daughter of his greatest enemy who believe in him, Pyke must engineer his escape, find the real killer and untangle the web of politics that has been spun around him. From the gutters of Seven Dials to the cells of Newgate prison, from the turmoil of 1800s Belfast to the highest levels of murky, pre-Victorian politics, THE LAST DAYS OF NEWGATE is a gripping, darkly atmospheric story with a fantastic, pragmatic - and reluctantly heroic - hero.

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The Last Days of Newgate (Pyke Mysteries) + The Revenge Of Captain Paine: A Pyke Mystery (Pyke Mysteries) + Kill-Devil And Water: A Pyke Mystery (Pyke Mysteries)
Price For All Three: 19.58

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753821680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753821688
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Hard-hitting." --"Publishers Weekly"

About the Author

Andrew Pepper lives in Belfast where he is a lecturer in English at Queen's University.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable thriller 7 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are many positive and negative reviews for this author but I felt that it would be worth giving this book a try anyway.

I am very glad that I did!

It is always a matter of personal taste but the story carried me along and I enjoyed the pace.

Is Pyke a man I would like to have as a friend, no!

Is he someone I would like to date my daughter, no!

Is he an entertaining fictional character that I can enjoy reading about, of course.

On the strength of my enjoyment of this book I bought the other novels straight away - I feel that they are just as good. If you want to have complete historical accuracy in your reads or you worry more about sentence construction then maybe this author isn't for you - but if an engaging tale is what you want, give him a go.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Atmospheric Novel 12 Sep 2007
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
This book charts the path of Pyke, a sometime Bow Street Runner and sometime crook and takes place in the London of 1829. For those who have read James McGee's Ratcatcher and Resurrectionist there are similarities, both in the main character, Pyke and of course the period that the book takes place. I enjoyed this book as I did the two mentioned above. The pre-Victorian era conjures up a picture of dark London streets, with mist rising from the river. A place where only the brave or foolish would venture out alone at night.

The author is a new one to me, which was a pleasant surprise, because I now have a new source of books, always a joy. I found the book well researched, the characters believable and more importantly it was a very enjoyable read. Since this book was written I believe the author has added at least one other book to the series.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first in a classic series? 31 Aug 2006
In an age in which we're overcrowded with more detectives and crime-fiction protagonists than we can possibly keep track off, Andrew Pepper has delivered a central character who is truly unforgettable. `Pyke' is an extraordinarily vivid, and quite unsettling, creation. On his own, he would make this a compulsive read. But better yet, Pepper clearly knows what to do with him. His brilliant novel turns C19th London into a distinctive and authentic hard-boiled city - edgy, confusing, threatening, labyrinthine and teeming with shadow-bound forces. The stench of gin and laudanum comes reeking off the page.

The novel is set in 1829, when ideals and realities that we might call our own - concerning the nature of the State, of justice, of social control, of national identity - are still coming into existence. As such, the book shows them to be, at best, murky and ambiguous. And, as with the best historical novels, this makes Last Days of Newgate very relevant to today.

But none of this is added-on or laborious. Pepper effortlessly makes full use of the historical setting, while keeping his eye on the action, his foot firmly on the accelerator. He has a great filmic writing style, both cajoling and startling, and a genuinely page-turning sense of pace and suspense. While a hard-boiled sensibility is to the fore, the book is packed full with good old-fashioned heroic elements: here there be narrow escapes, trysts with maidens, and feats of daring-do aplenty. There's also a teasingly well-handled `will they? won't they?' love interest. In all, this is a fantastic read and an auspicious debut.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This book is advertised as the First Pyke mystery, so presumably there are more to come. It will be interesting to see how Pyke progresses, and I will definitely read the next one, despite some of the weaknesses of this particular novel.

The story, in brief revolves around a corrupt yet 'honourable' Bow Street Runner, Pyke and his investigation of the slaughter of a young Irish couple and their new born baby in one of London's worst slums. He is pulled into the investigation which is filtered through the backdrop of peasant unrest, rotten politicians, the Catholic Emancipation Bill and the disbanding of the Bow Street Runners to make way for the Metropolitan Police Force under Peel. The story takes in religious dissent and romance along the way.

The main fault I have to find, which will not bother others in the slightest I expect, is the relentless toll of violence throughout these pages. It amazes me that there is anyone left by the end of the book as people are tortured and mercilessly hacked down left, right and centre. I am by no means a prude, but it seems in some places that the plot merely becomes the device to get us to the next gruesome set piece in the book, which is a shame. There are places where the violence works well, and there are places where I was left thinking 'here we go again'.

The plot is interesting and has some good twists and turns which keep you guessing and wanting to read on. The historical setting is quite well drawn, although at times the author becomes a little didactic and you feel that yes he has done his research, but no we don't need great, undigested gobbets of it flinging into the text. There are times when it is all smoothly incorporated, so you know it can be done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable 6 Jan 2008
The last days of Newgate by Andrew Pepper is a historical novel set in 1829's. It follows Pyke, a member of the Bow Street Runners (a prototypical police force) and his efforts to solve a grizzly murder and clear his own name. While I'm well aware it's a work of fiction and as such can't be taken as a true representation of reality, it certainly paints a bleak and bloody picture of regency Britain.

This is not the prim and proper England of Jane Austin's Mr Darcy. This is a filthy, dangerous, poverty stricken slum of an England. A place where there is crime on every street and death round every corner. The fogs are grey and the morals even greyer. It is, in short, not a very nice place to live.

The plot races through the book so fast it almost falls out of your hands. Pyke is commissioned by a loathsome aristocrat to investigate robberies at his brother's bank. Things quickly escalate out of all control, with murder, politics, and religious tensions all churning together into a complicated and intriguing brew. The majority of the action takes place on the grim back streets of London, but we also get a look at Belfast and a fascinating account of life inside Newgate prison. I can't attest to the accuracy of the history it presents, but it certainly seems very authentic to me.

Pyke battles his way through the proceedings by exploiting his loved ones and brutally killing every second person he comes across. He is the very definition of anti-hero. Normally I am not attracted to amoral protagonists, preferring my heroes to be a little cleaner cut, but for some reason I really took to Pyke, and will certainly attempt to follow him on any subsequent adventures.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I loved this book and others I have read in the series. I read about 2-3 books per week and these books are memorable - for all the right reasons.
Published 12 months ago by Jenny bb
5.0 out of 5 stars A gritty, edge of seat, atmospheric crime
Not normally my genre as I'm usually a Fantasy fan. However, probably my 2nd favourite, historical English crime.

I loved this book. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Catherine L. Vickers
5.0 out of 5 stars a breath of fresh reading
Great writing. Grreat ideas. Great imagination. Great characters. This is an absolute must for lovers of the genrre. Read more
Published 21 months ago by lovereading
4.0 out of 5 stars Pyke has a long way to go!
For fans of period British crime stories, "The Last Days of Newgate" by Andrew Pepper is likely to fill the bill. Read more
Published on 12 Mar 2012 by Billy J. Hobbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable. Couldn't put it down.
I have only just discovered the Pyke series and I am so glad I have - as I have found it so refreshing. Read more
Published on 12 Jan 2012 by S Clark H
1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously?
First book of a currently five novel series titles `A Pyke Mystery' which is set in 1800s London. The series follows an acutely unpleasant man called Pyke as he investigates a... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by Eden
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read
mr pepper will take you back to london in the eighteen thirtys and you will want to read the rest of mr pyke
Published on 8 July 2010 by jinks
5.0 out of 5 stars peters review
this book was recommended to me by my daughter and I was very sceptical, but she compared it to the series of books by C. Read more
Published on 7 Jun 2010 by Peter Buchanan
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear.
This is dreadful. Try this sentence; 'He also knew for a fact that Goddard and Townsend were, by no means, Vines's men. Read more
Published on 2 Sep 2009 by Mr. Dean Glover
1.0 out of 5 stars If You Can't Write, Make it Sadistic
I bought this book because other readers gave it four or five stars. Did we read the same novel? Is it a guy thing? Read more
Published on 30 July 2009 by Nancy Swing
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