This is a great murder mystery set against the backdrop of the popish plot. The murder of a young boy, found drained of blood, attracts the interest of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, who engages the scientist Robert Hooke to investigate. With the help of his assistant Henry Hunt, Hooke is drawn into a web of conspiracy and deceit as he tracks down the murderer.
I know the general history of this period pretty well and the depictions of real individuals was spot on. Lloyd clearly took the time to make sure his research was spot on, and the immersion in the period was very well done. Hunt and Hooke themselves are historical figures, but again I never once doubted the authenticity of the author’s portrayal – and I am highly critical when it comes to that aspect of historical fiction.
Lloyd really excels in his descriptions of London, and his understanding of Seventeenth Century science and medicine at the dawn of the Enlightenment. I certainly learned some stuff that I didn’t know, and the plot had twists and turns that kept me engaged to the end. What I really liked is the subtle clues that were peppered through the story, so that whilst the reveal was unexpected, it was there all along with hindsight. That is very clever writing.
There’s a new book in this series out which will have to go on my – ever expanding – reading list. Highly recommended.