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The Devil's Acre [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Plampin
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

A novel of intrigue, violence and conflicted loyalties from the author of The Street Philosopher.

What price to take hold of the devil’s right hand?

Spring, 1853. After a triumphant display at the Great Exhibition in London, the legendary American entrepreneur and inventor Colonel Samuel Colt expands his gun-making business into England. He acquires a riverside warehouse in Pimlico and sets about converting it into a pistol works capable of mass producing his patented revolvers on an unprecedented scale – aware that the prospect of war with Russia means huge profits.

The young, ambitious Edward Lowry is hired by Colt to act as his London secretary. Although initially impressed by the Colonel’s dynamic approach to his trade, Edward comes to suspect that the American’s intentions in the Metropolis are not all they appear.

Meanwhile, the secretary becomes romantically involved with Caroline Knox, a headstrong woman from the machine floor – who he discovers is caught up in a plot to steal revolvers from the factory’s stores. Among the workforce Colt has gathered from the seething mass of London’s poor are a gang of desperate Irish immigrants, embittered refugees from the potato famine, who intend to use these stolen six-shooters for a political assassination in the name of revenge. As pistols start to go missing, divided loyalties and hidden agendas make the gun-maker’s factory the setting for a tense story of intrigue, betrayal and murder.

Product Description



‘A galloping good story’ The Times

‘Lust, avarice, envy, revenge all play their part in this brilliantly told, well-paced story, which also begs the question, so relevant today, of just how close to action journalists and recorders of war should be allowed’ Daily Mail

‘Plampin’s historical research is impressive, as is his command of detail….his true gift of descriptive power’
Independent on Sunday


Praise for THE STREET PHILOSOPHER: 'A galloping good story' The Times 'Lust, avarice, envy, revenge all play their part in this brilliantly told, well-paced story, which also begs the question, so relevant today, of just how close to action journalists and recorders of war should be allowed' Daily Mail 'Plampin's historical research is impressive, as is his command of detail!.his true gift of descriptive power' Independent on Sunday

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 647 KB
  • Print Length: 435 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007273975
  • Publisher: Harper (24 Jun. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003YFJ6TE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #170,867 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling at its' best! 2 July 2010
What a superb book, I can't remember the last time an author quite captures the atmosphere of Victorian England as well. The story of Colonel Samuel Colt opening a factory in Pimlico in London and his endeavours to establish the Colt revolver as the weapon of choice for the British Army is simply incredible. The Crimean War is also in the background less than in "The Street Philosopher" but overall a super book. More of the same please!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling story 2 May 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having read Matthew Plampin's first novel, I eagerly awaited this one & have not been disappointed.The synopsis of the story has been stated in earlier reviews,but I wanted to add that I feel there is a real depth to the characters & one cares what happens to them.The larger than life Colonel Sam Colt could be pictured clearly.The fact that there was a Colt factory in London was a revelation to me & the research into the life & times as lived by the characters is faultless.I like the fact that he imparts a great deal of knowledge without patronising the reader,& has given this reader a taste for exploring more historical novels.Bring on the next one Matthew Plampin, lets have more plot,murders & a bit of political intrigue.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read 15 Mar. 2010
By eah
In his second novel Matthew Plampin delivers another gripping story packed with interesting characters. The historical detail is once again there in exactly the right measures to allow the reader to imagine the scene in 1853 but does not take away from the intriguing story of romance, secret plots and even murder. The characters are believable and well described with the story evolving at a good pace right to the last page. A very enjoyable book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is THE way to absorb history 1 Mar. 2011
The inspiration for this historical novel is the Colt weapons factory, which actually did exist on the banks of the Thames in London in the 1850s.

Colonel Samuel Colt was an American gun manufacturer who established a factory in London. When Matthew Plampin learned of this, he became fascinated by both the factory and its owner - the bombastic Colonel Samuel Colt - great scope, indeed, to imagine all sorts of intrigues, illicit dealings and sabotage by London rivals who resented the presence of the American. And this is what we read about in 'The Devil's Acre'.

Did I enjoy this book? Yes, enough that I read it to the end but not enough that I would recommend it to a friend. Maybe I've become a mystery junkie, needing some suspense to drive the plot and this was notably absent. Also, there was a large cast of characters and the point of view switched quite frequently from character to character. I found myself rereading sentences rather more often than I liked.

On the plus side, I loved the historical detail - this is the way to absorb history. What was it like to be an American in London in 1850? How did people respond to Americans in London? What was the political situation? What were the Irish doing in London in 1850? Who were the Molly MacGuires? Of course, Matthew Plampin cannot give us definitive answers, but in exploring through fiction, we find things out that we didn't know before and I really enjoyed this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great way to learn some history 12 Feb. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story follows Samuel Colt who comes to London from US to set up a factory in the early 1850s. You will find out about his attempts to sell his newly invented revolver to the UK military.
The characters are all introduced within the first few chapters and are immediately recognisable as strong characters which have plenty of room for development. There is a large factual element to the book but several of the main people have been invented to fill in the gaps in the story which have not been recorded. I read the book with a pc to hand so that I could get some background as I went along. The story is very interesting and manages to cover Victorian politics, harsh living conditions and the massive progression of the industrial revolution all in one book.
Language used is appropriate to the period and it is worth reading the book slowly in order to soak up the slightly unfamiliar words and soak up the atmosphere.
A good combination of factual information and exciting dramatisation gives a book which is recommended. You will need to have an interest In history but,if you have, then you will enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Devil's Acre 22 Jun. 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER
I read Illumination by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it, so was glad to see this offering. Set in London in 1853, where American entrepreneur Colonel Samuel Colt sets up a state-of-the-art weapons factory to turn out his famous revolvers by the thousands. The story turns around Colt's ambitions to set up a factory churning out guns for the British Army, and others who see the opportunity to use Colt's factory for their own nefarious purposes against the Government.

I did not enjoy this book as much as I did Illumination. It took an historical episode and wove a story around it, but I found the characters generally flat and unconvincing. The story made too little of Edward Lowry and too much of Caroline and some of the Irish characters. I did not find them to be fully drawn characters about whom I could really care what happened to them. Unfortunately, the experience of this book was not as satisfying for me as I had found in reading Illumination. A pity, but I shall definitely look for more of the author's works. One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Commendable subject, poor ending
As the President of the Londony Navy Colt Club, I commend the author on picking up Sam Colts London Factory from the sidelines of history and bringing it back to life. Read more
Published on 4 Nov. 2012 by Thomas Raymann
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I thought this was well written with a good pace and like the way the historical characters inter-played with the fictional ones. All in all, a good read
Published on 4 Feb. 2011 by Shaun
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I have just read this book for the second time and it is even better re visited!
Published on 4 Nov. 2010 by Viviboo
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener
I found this novel a real eye opener since I knew very little about Colonel Colt, especially the fact that he even set up a works in London. Read more
Published on 27 Oct. 2010 by Mike Davey
1.0 out of 5 stars Devil's acre
This was bought after reading the synopsys,I have started to read it twice,not a book to 'get into'easily,no 'hook' in the plot,it is a chore to read if I were to be truefull,shame... Read more
Published on 18 Oct. 2010 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I found this an enjoyable read, especially as I live fairly close to where much of the action takes place. Read more
Published on 6 Oct. 2010 by David Bradshaw
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really got into this book
Bought this due to being on book club reading list, not really my sort of thing, found it difficult to get into.
Published on 24 Sept. 2010 by S. M. Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars The Devil's Acre
Saw the review on the Channel 4 Book Club programme and thought it must be good for my partner who hardly ever reads novels, he cant put it down....praise indeed!
Published on 21 Sept. 2010 by Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars A really enjoyable read!
I've just finished reading The Devil's Acre and absolutely loved it! For me, the novel had a real sense of pace in terms of story and character development, and I found it a... Read more
Published on 21 Sept. 2010 by Firefly193
3.0 out of 5 stars Just so!
Have just finished the Devil's Acre. Having really enjoyed the Street Philosopher and read the encouraging reviews up to press, I was keen to make myself comfortable and... Read more
Published on 5 Sept. 2010 by Amazon Customer
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