The Devil in the Marshalsea: Thomas Hawkins Book 1 Hardcover – 27 Mar 2014
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A splendid debut ... this is a truly spellbinding tale. (Guardian)
Hodgson's utterly compelling debut is fiendishly plotted and dripping with atmosphere. I cannot wait for Tom Hawkin's next adventure. (Mark Billingham)
It is the mesh of lies and duplicity that draws you into this brilliant first novel ...a blood-drenched investigation that twists and turns in the vortex of Georgian society (The Times)
Historical fiction just doesn't get any better than this. Magnificent! (Jeffery Deaver)
The pace is relentless ...an absolutely superb debut novel (Crime Review)
A murderer on the loose . . . in prison.See all Product description
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In practise, the murder plot exists solely to allow Hodgson to showcase the extraordinary (and, amazingly, historically accurate) story of the Marshalsea, a wholly corrupt institution where those with money can find bars, restaurants and servants, while those without are subject to horrendous conditions and random acts of brutality. This is an immaculately realised and little known chapter of London history. At times, the plot is a little confusing - there are perhaps two or three too many characters - but Hawkins is a likeable narrator, stumbling into one disaster after another, little more than a puppet to the power-brokers around him.
Absorbing period drama, set in the squalor of this infamous prison. Richly drawn characters bring the story to life, of a young man forced to face death but grasping redemption as he attempts to bring a killer to justice . Fascinating historical gems throughout the story. But best of all its at the end after the story finished you find out that some of the characters depicted were real people! Brilliantly written, deservedly a best seller.
Imagine owing money to creditors and falling on hard times. In 1727, you would be sent to a debtor’s prison, which could possibly be the death of you. Debtor’s prisons were run for profit and prisoners were expected to pay for meals and accommodation. They were forced to negotiate their debts and treated as criminals. Social hierarchies were very much in existence, with rooms for the ‘masters’ who could pay and the ‘common’ cattle class for those who could not. Death and torture were a part of life. Into this setting, comes Tom Hawkins. Hawkins is your eighteenth century lad; a bloke into women, booze and gambling. His only means of escape from this hellish place is to solve a murder. A man is said to be haunting the place, the ghost of Captain Roberts. Roberts was murdered and his room mate is the prime suspect. Hawkins is soon risking his life, in a place where danger is round every corner and it is impossible to know who to trust.
Based on what actually took place in the Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison, Hodgson takes us on a marvellous and terrifying journey. Hodgson creates this amazing world, where you can imagine the depravity and insanitary conditions. Tom Hawkins must use all of his cunning, leave his naivety behind and see beneath the grime and the deception. There is something about him, that charms and captivates. At heart, he is a good man. He suffers and he cares. This is a mystery, with a prison full of suspects and the clock ticking.
Absolutely enjoyable and incredibly well paced. I raced through this, completely addicted to the gritty, down to earth feel of a nightmarish prison and eighteenth century life. Thomas Hawkins has a new fan in me! Recommended.
If you love historical fiction, detective books, or just great books, then pick up her Thomas Hawkins books now. A must read. You learn all about the squalor and trials of living in London. You want to find out who the devil really is. Smoke and mirrors.
Book 1 is A Devil in the Marshalsea. Book 2 is The Last Confessions of Thomas Hawkins. Book 3 is A Death at Fountains Abbey. I have read them all and loved them all.
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