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Unnatural Fire Paperback – 6 Nov 2000

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Crime; 1st edition (6 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002326957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002326957
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,205,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘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

‘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

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'
'The Times'

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Unnatural Fire by Fidelis Morgan
Fan me ye winds! If you're lusting after a great story told by a master (mistress?), buy this book. Anastasia Ashby dela Zouche, Baroness Penge, Countess of Clapham is a new star in the murder mystery firmament. Down on her luck, to all intents and purposes past her prime, the Countess is forced to show her mettle and proves to be shrewd, resourceful and not above a little wheeling and dealing but always with a strong sense of honour and noblesse oblige. Perfect. The most exciting and original detective since Falco, I loved the Countess and her wily side-kick, Alpiew. In our genre-obsessed culture Unnatural Fire will no doubt be straitjacketed as an historical thriller but it's much more than that - not only a brilliant(often gory)murder mystery, a subtle reflection on the nature of love, loyalty and friendship, a cracking, beautifully written yarn which effortlessly brings to life the seething social and intellectual backdrop of Restoration London (Morgan ingeniously uses the different stages of the alchemical process to structure her book) but it's also VERY FUNNY. I hated coming to the end of Unnatural Fire - always a good sign and I'm praying that there'll be a series.
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Format: Paperback
Unnatural Fire is the best historical crime story that I have read in a very long time. Packed full of the sights and scents of London and full of fascinating snippets of historical information, the story crackles with life. The characters are funny and well drawn and the plot twists are cunning. A great read!
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By A Customer on 29 Mar. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a wonderfully funny, original book. I thought it was a delight from cover to cover. One reviewer said she found it a 'slog' - I can only imagine she was reading something completely different to the rest of us. I understand there is a series and I will be ordering the rest immediately. Thank you Ms Morgan, for such brilliant entertainment!
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Format: Paperback
Thanks to Fidelis Morgan, the UK's leading expert on Restoration women dramatists, a considerable body of work by seventeenth century women writers has been rescued from obscurity. It is no surprise that she has chosen to set her new novel 'Unnatural Fire' in those turbulent times and to enrich it with her considerable knowledge of seventeenth century social history and manners to produce what is a highly original and more importantly, very funny book. No jobs for the boys here! Her detective duo are a decrepit former mistress of Charles II and her superannuated maidservant. She has very cleverly structured the story around the alchemical process which although it will delight the initiate will not baffle the average reader. It is full of the sounds, sights and smells of another age and Ms Morgan writes with her tongue very firmly in her cheek making many allusions to present-day mores and manners. The characters are larger than life and the mystery is sustained right to the end. Full marks to Ms Morgan for daring to invent characters who are 'ladies of a certain age' at least there are no soppy romantic heroines to get in the way of the plot! One can imagine a very canny producer buying up the rights to what could easily become a comedy classic. What a change to hear the chief sleuth addressed as 'Madam' instead of 'Guv'nor'! I shall certainly look forward to the sequel!
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Format: Paperback
Unnatural Fire is a brilliant crime thriller set in London in the 1699. All the characters are beautifully drawn, but Lady Anastasia and her servant Alpiew will become classic detectives as Fidelis Morgan, hopefully, writes a whole string of these novels. My knowledge of London of the time is very sketchy, but on each page one learns so many fascinating facts, without them feeling spoonfed or that one is being given a history lesson. The plot twist and turns just as the alleyways of London down which the reader is led. Looking forward to the next in the series. A real page turner!!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Discovered Ashby thanks to having read Paul O'Grady's autobiography, in which he mentions how good the Fidelis Morgan books are. I love the mixture of murder mystery and comedy, which mixed with well researched historical facts and brilliant characters make these novels a real delight.
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Format: Paperback
Enjoyable romp, but do you know what I mean when I say something has been *over* researched? It feels like period details are being inserted just for the sake of themselves and the author is overly pleased with herself for having learnt the contents of a posset cup.
I'm not the biggest fan of murder mysteries but I enjoyed the characters, even if they're slightly broadly drawn...
On the whole I'd say I enjoyed it...
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A very unusual crime drama. Both comedic and dramatic. The characters were all brought to life brilliantly. Couldn't put it down!
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