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The Watermen Hardcover – 31 Mar 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; First Edition edition (31 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857380540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857380548
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 416,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Patrick Easter is a find. A first-rate historical thriller, particularly memorable for its evocation of the Georgian underworld and the crime-ridden Thames ... it's fortunate for us that there are more to come' Andrew Taylor.

'Wonderfully atmospheric. The reek of tar and the creak of timbers rises up from every page. Carries you along on a floodtide of excitement' Rory Clements.

From the Inside Flap

It is 1798 in the Port of London: a cruel figure holds sway over the underworld. His name is Boylin. His face is scarred by lime and his back by the two hundred lashes he received following a naval court martial. He holds Captain Tom Pascoe responsible for his suffering. They meet again when Pascoe becomes River Surveyor for the newly formed marine police. They've had orders to investigate a sudden fall in government revenue that is affecting the nation's ability to fight the way against Napoleon and stem the rising tide of Irish rebellion. Pascoe knows that Boylin is behind it, but he can't prove anything - yet. The Watermen is a thrillingly authentic crime novel set against the violent backdrop of London's 18th century docks, the first in a series starring former naval officer Tom Pascoe.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very disappointing. I thought "New author, may be a series which I will enjoy". The book plods along, there are very few believable characters. At the end of the book I had formed no view of any of the characters, they remained quite faceless and I knew no more of the water police than before I opened the book. I certainly knew nothing of the thriving river Thames and its waterside villages. Absolutely no comparison with any books of the Napoleonic era set on land or sea which I have read.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this like wading through treacle. The characters didn't come to life, there is little description or originality of phrase. Many stock phrases are used over again, for example on pages 80/81, 'An outline of a man appeared,' is repeated twice. Several characters have 'ruddy complexions' but no personalities. I was expecting something along the lines of C.J. Sansom, but what a let down. Nothing jumps off the page and the whole thing is a dead read that runs more like a report than a work of creative fiction. No colour, no atmosphere, no being unable to put the book down. To add to this, a glaring inaccuracy. The nurse character would not have existed in the way Mr.Easter portrays her. There were no nurses in hospitals at the end of the eighteenth century, only surgeons, those who were tutored by them and some attendants. If this character had found herself helping out in a hospital, she would certainly not have been the kind of girl to have a romantic involvement with. Even 50 years later, nursing was not considered respectable. Hospitals, particularly the Royal London, were charitable organisations for the sick poor, so it is highly improbable that the main character would have received any treatment there from a pretty nurse in a consulting room. No A&E in 1798. Sorry, rubbish. Mr. Easter may very well have been attached to the River Police but as a nurse, I know about the history of hospitals and the author should either research better or stick to what he knows.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes, a decent start for a new historical/detective series. This genre has churned out many books, a good number unreadable though: this one I would put in the in-between range (but with the risk of falling into the unreadable pit if some things are not improved). The plot is ok but characterisation and environmental description are lacking a bit for my taste. Maybe more history wouldn't be bad either. At times there are some repetitive actions but all in all it was an entertaining, quick and easy read . I might try the second one.
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Format: Hardcover
The Watermen - it's the end of the eighteenth century and the Napoleonic Wars are raging over on the continent. In the heart of gang controlled London, revenue is being bled from the shipping industry through relatively sophisticated organised crime networks. Theft rates have now reached a point where central Government has begun to take notice and the honourable gentlemen are becoming very worried at the effect that this will have on the war effort. Enough is enough and the river police are born...

This plot intrigued me from the very beginning and I was fully expecting a Dickensian like depiction of London's underworld. And whilst the author nailed the descriptions of the buildings and waterways and thoroughly conveyed an atmosphere of poverty and insecurity, his characterisation was ever so slightly wooden. The criminals were lukewarm and the central protagonist and his sidekick often devoid of real emotion. In addition, the relationship between Boylin the criminal and Pascoe the river surveyor was slightly underplayed. The author intended to create a real sense of animosity and hatred between the pair, yet Boylin was often portrayed as a quivering coward and Pascoe as a benevolent saint.

The author also attempted to weave together several strands and subthemes which would be brought together in a breathtaking revelatory climax. Unfortunately, many of the twists could be spotted a mile off and as such, when you arrived at the revelation it was a bit of a damp squib. That was slightly frustrating and it also created a situation where you felt like you had skipped ahead and was thus waiting for the book to catch up with you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is clear that the author has done his research and tried to be as faithful as possible to the reality of late 18th century life. I liked the fact that Capt. Pascoe and his lady friend needed a chaperone when they met up for the sake of decency as so many historical novelists dispense with these inconvenient niceties in favour of characters with anachronistic views. Unfortunately the characters didn't really take off maybe because the story is told from so many points of view you never get to know any of them. There also a lot of clichés in the writing which doesn't help. It's still an interesting setting though and I found I kept imagining it as a TV series, which could really work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, this one is definitely splitting the readers! Pace the one-star reviewers, I enjoyed this series opener. The characters are decently drawn and their motivations clear. Even the villains have an emotional life that explains their actions. Life on the Thames is atmospherically described, and the addition of a glossary of the used nautical terms is, for this land-lubber, most useful.
Although the denouement is a bit of a let down, it was led into nicely and is understandably what might have happened. Overall, this was a nice introduction to the series and I look forward to the next book.
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