‘Morgan’s hilarious 17th century romp combines an authentic slice of history with a tantalising storyline… Colourful turns of phrase and witty descriptions – like a bawdy P.G. Wodehouse – leave you with a keen sense of the period. This is a frolicking good read’ Daily Mail
‘Fidelis Morgan’s tale of love and greed and alchemy in 1699 is a heady compound of wit, wisdom and wildness. It’s an unsentimental warts-and-all portrait that reeks of authenticity, written with a brio that reflects the age’ Val McDermid
‘A lusty, audacious historical romp …all the bawdiness of London at the turn of the 18th century is brought to life’ Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian
‘Thigh-slapping, exclamatory stuff … loudly, lustily, enthusiastically done’ Literary Review
‘The perfect autumn read’ Marie Claire
From the Back Cover
London 1699. The Countess Ashby de la Zouche, former mistress to Charles II, has fallen on hard times – in fact she has fallen into the notorious debtors' prison, the Fleet. In order to scrape a living, she embarks on a career gathering salacious information for one of London's scandal sheets, assisted by her ex-maidservant Alphiew. A welcome additional source of income opens when they are approached by a stranger who wants them to follow her husband for proof of adultery. But the uncomfortable job of trailing after the handsome merchant in the depths of winter, whether to the half-constructed St Paul's Cathedral or through the notorious dives south of Fleet Street, ends abruptly in a Covent Garden Churchyard.
The Countess and Alpiew, now implicated in the murder, get sucked into a complex labyrinth of deceit and violence, the key to which might lie in the abstruse science of alchemy. The more they investigate, the more involved the picture become, involving everyone form the lowest of the low backstreet criminals to some of the most influential people in the land.
'Unnatural Fire' is a wonderfully, lively, audacious novel with a cast of characters that leap off the page. But underlying the vivacity and humour is a riveting mystery which perfectly captures the darker side of London at the turn of the 18th Century.
PRAISE FOR FIDELIS MORGAN
'The Well Known Troublemaker'
'A book crammed with bright ideas – fascinating'
LORNA SAGE, 'Observer'
'The Female Wits'
'Overdue and delightful restoration of women playwrights of the Restoration'
About the Author
Fidelis Morgan is an actor and an expert in Restoration comedy. Acclaimed for her stage plays, Pamela and Hangover Square, she also collaborated with Lynda la Plante on Channel 4’s tense, psychological thriller Killer Net. She has written non-fiction studies of charismatic female figures from the 17th and 18th centuries, and contributed to the bestselling Virago anthology Wicked. In Unnatural Fire, she combines historical interest with her lifelong passion for crime fiction.