- Paperback: 516 pages
- Publisher: Harper (18 July 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007213530
- ISBN-13: 978-0007213535
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.3 x 19.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Scent of Death Paperback – 18 Jul 2013
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‘An absolutely gripping, absorbing historical crime thriller … If you like CJ Sansom, or Hilary Mantel or Philippa Gregory, I think you’d absolutely love Andrew Taylor’s The Scent of Death’ PETER JAMES
‘If you’re wondering “what should I read next?” try it – because it opens up a whole new world for you’ LEE CHILD
‘The key to what makes this book work is that Taylor contrives a brilliant mystery plot, and yet the historical detail is just so compelling … The language is interesting, the historical detail is fascinating and the central mystery is absolutely gripping … The Scent of Death is a perfect read for anyone who likes a mystery that’s as finely crafted as a Swiss watch – Andrew Taylor is at the top of his game’ MARK BILLINGHAM
‘Andrew Taylor has built this beautiful and exquisite stage set, so everything we need to know about Manhattan in the 1770s is right there … What makes a crime novel work – you’ve got to have a cracking good story, you’ve got to want to know what happened. And here, you’ve got all of it’ KATE MOSSE
‘Andrew Taylor is arguably the most consummate writer of historical fiction today. He achieves to perfection the crucial balance between the mystery to be solved and the historical context surrounding it. A mesmeric read’ The Times
‘An absorbing and harrowing epic historical detective novel … Taylor is as good at this period as C. J. Sansom is at Tudor England, and like him pulls off novels that work both as literary fiction and detective stories’ Independent
‘Andrew Taylor has been producing superb historical fiction since long before Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker wins bestowed literary respectability on the genre’ Daily Telegraph
‘Taylor once again shows how skilful a historical novelist he is’ The Sunday Times
About the Author
Andrew Taylor is the author of a number of novels, including the Dougal and Lydmouth crime series, the psychological thrillers Bleeding Heart Square and The Anatomy of Ghosts, the ground-breaking Roth Trilogy, which was adapted into the acclaimed drama Fallen Angel, and The American Boy, his No. 1 bestselling historical novel which was a 2005
Richard & Judy Book Club choice.
He has won many awards, including the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, an Edgar Scroll from the Mystery Writers of America, the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award (the only author to win it twice) and the CWA’s prestigious Diamond Dagger, awarded for sustained excellence in crime writing. He also writes for the Spectator.
He lives with his wife Caroline in the Forest of Dean.
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Top Customer Reviews
The American Boy was his breakout and anyone who hasn't read his tale of the young Edgar Allen Poe's boyhood in England should put it top of their reading list. I was struck then by a sense of time and place that took me deeper, more powerfully into an era than anything else I'd ever read. There's a quality to the dialogue that feels so rawly authentic; the language, the pace, the careful courtesies that hide murder and mayhem.. nobody manages this era with this kind of skill.
The Scent of Death has that same powerful evocation. It's set in 1778 in New York, an enclave of the English Crown at the height of the Revolution; a place almost under siege, that depends on ships from England for provisions, while wrestling with the growing distinction between Americans and English. Into this comes Edward Savill, a Clerk from the American Office who nurtures hopes of preferment if he does his job well and whose slow realisation that he has, instead, been sidelined by his wife's cousin, a man who `does not like her more than half' (which is to say, he despises her) , who is his boss.
Because this is a historical thriller, Samuel is present when a body is fished out of the water as his boat comes in and another is found soon after his arrival.Read more ›
The story is about Edward Savill, a clerk sent from London to investigate the claims for compensation by the colonists who have suffered losses. Even before his arrival in Manhattan, it is clear that nothing is really as it first appears and he soon finds himself embroiled in murder investigations and is tempted into affairs which are, perhaps, best left undiscovered.
As his tour of duty is extended and extended he finds himself involved with the family of Wintour family and when the husband returns from the army he is inveigled into undertaking a mission into enemy territory, the real purpose of which he could not have guessed at. When Savill receives bad news about his marriage and his posting finally arrives from England, he at last learns the truth and how in the fires of conflict, all is at the mercy of the armies who require gold to help them continue to wage war.
This is an excellent novel with brilliant attention to historical detail and to the characterisation of individuals. The slave trade and slavery in general is also explored and the inhumanity of lovers torn apart, mothers separated from their babies and the terrible crime of black daring to love white against the backdrop of the slave trade is laid bare in dramatic fashion.
The author creates a compelling picture of revolutionary America in the late eighteenth century.
This is a slow moving, atmospheric story, with the author painting a realistic picture of a provincial New York, swarming with refugees and under attack. Edward Savill is a well meaning, gentle man, who tries to do his best to make sense of events as they threaten to overwhelm him. Who killed Mr Pickett, why does the Wintour's beautiful daughter in law not want to return to her family home and who is the child that Savill hears crying at night? What is his role in this city and who should he trust? One of the strongest parts of the narrative is when Savill ventures beyond the city of New York, into a country lawless and at war. I have never read anything by Andrew Taylor before, but I was very impressed with this novel and will certainly read more of his work. This book has a great deal of depth and would be ideal for a book club read, with much to discuss.
I have never read a book by Andrew Taylor before this, so I wasn't sure what to expect. However, I really quite enjoyed this book! Having never read anything about The American War Of Independence, I must admit I did find it a little bit hard to get into the story at first, but within a few chapters I had settled into the narrative.
The descriptions in the book were very well-written. As soon as Savill arrived in America I could sense the atmosphere, and everything was so vivid that I could picture every single clearly in my mind. It was as if I'd been transported back in time, wow. Andrew Taylor has clearly done his research and it shows, for me the descriptions and setting were my favourite part of the story.
There is a lot to devour and uncover in this book. The Scent Of Death is brilliant for fans of historical novels or anyone with interest in the American War Of Independence. Not only that, but there is mystery, adventure, murder and suspense, making this an intriguing and compelling read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the first book I've read by Andrew Taylor, and it won't be the last! Set in New York at the time of the American Revolutionary War, it gives a gritty and realistic account... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Enfield Lad
Another excellent read from Andrew Taylor. The setting is a small besieged community in New York during the American civil war, well observed with a well paced plotPublished 5 months ago by Lyn Brown
I enjoyed this as a novel with historical content - the style is inclined to be hackneyed. Lovely clean copy arrived promptly.Published 6 months ago by jean hawkins
As ever, Andrew Taylor's writing is compelling and informative. 18th C America is not much written about, which is surprising, given the political dynamics of the time. Read morePublished 15 months ago by JANE WILSON
Very enjoyable. Andrew Taylor deals with a period of history that is new to me - America in the 18th century just after the Declaration of Independence - his description of the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Stephanie