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on 20 August 2015
This is the first novel I have read by Peter Tonkin and I'm afraid I did not find his writing style at all to my taste. His extensive use of overblown narrative results in vast paragraphs of description which are at best uninteresting, if not downright tedious.
The storyline is scholarly, but lacks a compelling climax.
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on 7 November 2015
Unfortunately it is full of unnecessary descriptive narrative which gets a bit boring and confusing at times. Having read this first book of Tonkins Elizabethan murder mysteries I am disappointed and will not read any more
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on 6 March 2017
Enjoyable and well-researched. I liked the main character, and look forward to checking out the rest of the series
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on 9 June 2017
Fascinating story that moves through a basic London that rings true
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on 20 March 2014
This wasn't the best book of its kind I have read. The English was a bit convoluted, and the plot complicated!
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on 17 August 2014
This is one of the most boring books I have come across for a long long time. It is poorly written and just not my cup of tea. If you want period drama, beautifully written and captivatingly told, try Hilary Mantel.
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on 19 April 2017
sorry but gave up after 3 chapters.Not my style all.think 3 stars is generous.Doesn't flow at all.Couldn't get to like the characters at all.All seemed pointless.Havent a clue what was happening.Very disapointing indeed.Try a sample before you buy.Good luck!!
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on 3 December 2013
I have read another of Tonkin's books in the past, The Coffin Ship, and enjoyed it very much so was very happy to find this title. I think I preferred this one ever so slightly, the characters are great and Tonkin manages to cover many aspects of Elizabethan society from the rich, aristocratic men of court to the playwright in his theatre. It is very well-written and kept me hooked until the very last page. A must read for any crimefic fans!
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on 3 December 2013
I really enjoyed this novel. Set in Elizabethan London when Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is first performed on stage, the cleverly woven web of rivalry and intrigue seems to have spread to its audience when one of the cast ends up dead. I liked the use of Romeo and Juliet lines as intrinsic to the murder as it was something new and different. The novel moved along at a quick pace, was easy to read and highly enjoyable. Would definitely recommend.
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on 19 August 2016
The first in the Tom Musgrave series, and, by using a series of dates and incidents between 1587 and 1594, the author has very cleverly introduced us to the principal characters, their backgrounds, and how they met, at the same time as setting the long-term scene for the mystery to follow. It's only when you get to the end that you realize just how well planned the whole novel is. The book starts in the middle of a battle, with a cipher and an exploding wall, and the pace never really slackens. There are murders, gruesome poisonings, dastardly deeds, threats of torture and the rack, clever street fights, the Stews of Southwark and so much more! The detailed action of the main plot begins during the first ever performance of 'Romeo and Juliet', and William Shakespeare takes on his other, often-speculated-upon, role as a spy, even while he's playing several roles on stage and writing the next play for the theatre. The real hero, however, is Tom Musgrave, Master of Defence and, helpfully, Master of Logic, a man who has loyal friends with their own, equally valuable, skills. Several real historical persons have parts to play in this tale, and the story itself contains many references to literary works which would have been more familiar to them than to the average modern reader, but they are explained simply, and the pace of the novel is so rapid that it really doesn't matter if you don't recognize them. What is a fascinating bonus is the weaponry used, where the rapier is a new weapon, where Spanish sword blades are being replaced (by those who can afford them) by German Solingen steel, and the gunsmith is so ahead of things as to be able to arm Tom Musgrave with a revolver, rather than the standard pistol.

My only gripe with the Kindle edition is that, as is all too often the case, insufficient attention has been paid to the proof-reading; while the errors in punctuation are just a pest, what are really irritating after the first few times you spot them are the words which have a split in them ( 'un welcome'; 'com plain' - I stopped counting after the first dozen), and the careless breaking up of text where a sentence is spread at random over three lines, with large gaps in between. I enjoyed the story too much to cut the star rating, but the book would be better for a revision of these errors. It's still a brilliant read, and I've gone on to buy the rest of the series. Highly recommended.
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