This atmospheric thriller treats astronomy and the French Revolution. Nicely-written with intriguing characters, the author evokes the mood of late eighteenth century England.
Excellent historical fiction with a serial killer thrown into the middle of things. It was a good picture of life in London in 1795.
A super historical mystery. Great plot and character development. Redfern's first novel will be hard to beat.
Jonathan Absey is a clerk in the London Home Office, charged with intercepting suspicious mails from foreigners. And in 1795, after the French Revolution, there are a lot of French foreigners in London. Many of them yearn for a restoration of the old monarchic order in their homeland, and together with the English, support the French Royalists who fight the revolutionary government in Paris. Consequently spies for both sides abound in London.
Auguste and Guy Montpellier have found a home outside of London, where Guy can engage in his search for the missing planet Selene, which, according to calculations at that time, should exist in the gap between Mars and Jupiter. His older sister Auguste supports his hobby and has created a circle of friends and fellow astronomers around them. Jonathan urges his brother Alexander to join this group to find out whether the Montpelliers are spies for the French government.
French spies are paid in French gold, and it is such gold that is stolen from prostitutes in London, after they are strangled to death. One of them was Jonathan's daughter, and he is certain that the gold will lead him not only to the spies, but also to his daughter's killer.
This is a very rich tale, thoroughly enjoyable to read. It also gives you a good understanding of what life was like in London at this time. An intelligent whodunit.
A jack-the-ripper-flavored story, set in 18th-century London - but with
enough original elements to make it a more than worthwhile read.
Jonathan Absey is a government clerk whose career has not been going very
well since he went out on a limb to get his estranged brother a pardon for
homosexual acts - and it's gone from bad to worse as he becomes obsessed
with finding the killer of his daughter. Since the girl, also estranged,
was a prostitute at the time, he's officially discouraged from pursuing
the case... but when more and more women of his daughter's description
keep turning up dead, it's hard for him to concentrate on his offical
assignment: scouring the mails for signs of French espionage.
But both murders and spies seem to lead to a group of odd and enigmatic
astronomers, obsessed with finding a new planet that they call Selene.
Cover-ups, betrayals, madness, perversion and violence will ensue before
all is revealed in this dark and gripping mystery.