July 28, 2014

Susan Spann's Blade of the Samurai - Guest Post and {Giveaway}

The Rope and the Sword: Justice in Medieval Japan

Prisons existed in medieval Japan, but mostly as holding areas for commoners accused of crimes. Unlike modern prisons, which house convicted criminals for the duration of their sentences, medieval Japanese prisons were not designed or intended for long-term incarcerations.

The medieval Japanese justice system was actually a pair of parallel systems: one for commoners, and the other for samurai.
By the 16th century—the era when I set my Shinobi Mysteries—Japan had a highly developed system of courts and law enforcement. Magistrates presided over courts in every major city (and many towns had magistrates as well). Magistrates acted like modern judges, resolving disputes and conducting trials when commoners were accused of crimes. Although the magistrates themselves were members of the noble (samurai) class, but their actions and jurisdiction generally focused on commoners.

Beneath the magistrates, a group of “assistant magistrates” (called yoriki) acted as supervisors for the “beat cops” (known as dōshin) who patrolled the cities and arrested those accused of crimes. Like the magistrates, yoriki and dōshin were always members of the samurai class. However, policemen were usually low-ranked samurai, where the magistrates came from “better” families.

Although the police force was composed entirely of nobles, samurai rarely used the police or the justice system to resolve their own disputes. By law, samurai had the right to address legal matters privately—by violence if necessary. Samurai families generally tried to resolve minor issues through negotiation, but where that failed, samurai justice was delivered on the edge of a sword.

Like the justice system, punishments meted out to criminals often depended on the social class or rank of the convicted (or condemned). 

As the highest-ranking social group, samurai had special privileges where punishment was concerned. For serious crimes, a samurai often had the right to commit seppuku– a form of ritual suicide in which a samurai sliced his own belly with a dagger, spilling his intestines (and ensuring himself a slow and painful death). The samurai was usually allowed a “second,” called the kaishakunin, who stood behind the “self-determining”
samurai with a sword, and ended the samurai’s life with a merciful strike to the neck after the fatal stomach cut was completed.
In medieval Japan, ritual suicide by seppuku restored a samurai’s honor, and that of his family, preventing the need for a feud between the wrongdoer’s clan and the clan of his victim. However, only samurai were allowed the option of seppuku—and the “honor” was not extended to every samurai who committed a crime.

Among commoners, the sentence for serious crimes was generally death by hanging. Unlike seppuku, which restored a condemned man’s honor, hanging was a degrading and defiling form of death. It shamed the convict and also his (or her) family. Hangings generally took place in public, and were sometimes followed by decapitation and display of the criminal’s head as a warning to the rest of the population.

In an ironically “modern” twist, the Japanese justice system treated women as equal to men, at least where punishment was concerned. Female criminals went to the gallows alongside their male counterparts.

Medieval Japanese justice plays a major role in my mystery series, which looks at crimes among commoners as well as among the samurai. The newest Shinobi Mystery, Blade of the Samurai, involves the murder of the shogun’s cousin. Magistrates play less of a role in this novel than they did in the first Shinobi Mystery, Claws of the Cat, but in exchange, readers get a glimpse inside the walls of the shogun’s palace.

The next book in the series, Flask of the Drunken Master (Minotaur, July 2015), involves the murder of a brewer. Since brewers were commoners, Flask involves the other side of Japanese justice ... and execution.

For people living in medieval Japan, crime and punishment were inseparable from the larger ideals of honor, respect, and social class. Serious crimes were an unforgivable disrespect for the law and the social order. A major crime created a debt that could only be “repaid” with the criminal’s life—a truth that transcended even the sharp class lines that pervaded every aspect of medieval Japanese culture.

About the book
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Minotaur Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover

Series: Shinobi Mystery
Genre: Historical Mystery

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June, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori receives a pre-dawn visit from Kazu, a fellow shinobi working undercover at the shogunate. Hours before, the Shogun’s cousin, Saburo, was stabbed to death in the Shogun’s palace. The murder weapon: Kazu’s personal dagger. Kazu says he’s innocent, and begs for Hiro’s help, but his story gives Hiro reason to doubt the young shinobi’s claims.

When the Shogun summons Hiro and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest under Hiro’s protection, to find the killer, Hiro finds himself forced to choose between friendship and personal honor.

The investigation reveals a plot to assassinate the Shogun and overthrow the ruling Ashikaga clan. With Lord Oda’s enemy forces approaching Kyoto, and the murderer poised to strike again, Hiro must use his assassin’s skills to reveal the killer’s identity and protect the Shogun at any cost. Kazu, now trapped in the city, still refuses to explain his whereabouts at the time of the murder. But a suspicious shogunate maid, Saburo’s wife, and the Shogun’s stable master also had reasons to want Saburo dead. With the Shogun demanding the murderer’s head before Lord Oda reaches the city, Hiro and Father Mateo must produce the killer in time … or die in his place.

Blade of the Samurai is a complex mystery that will transport readers to a thrilling and unforgettable adventure in 16th century Japan.

Book One of the Shinobi Mysteries series, Claws of the Cat, was released in 2013.

Praise for Blast of the Samurai

“The second Hiro Hattori mystery (after 2013’s Claws of the Cat) finds the sixteenth-century ninja—and unofficial investigator—presented with an interesting problem…A strong second entry in a very promising series.”—Booklist

“Hiro and Father Mateo’s second adventure (Claws of the Cat, 2013) combines enlightenment on 16th-century Japanese life with a sharp and well-integrated mystery.”—Kirkus Reveiws

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About the Author
Susan Spann acquired her love of books and reading during her preschool days in Santa Monica, California. As a child she read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest. When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, horseback riding, online gaming, and raising seahorses and rare corals in her highly distracting marine aquarium. Susan lives in Sacramento with her husband, son, three cats, one bird, and a multitude of assorted aquatic creatures.

For more information please visit Susan Spann’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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July 24, 2014

Caddy Rowland - Making History, Bohemian Style (Part 7)

Please welcome back historical fiction author and artist, Caddy Rowland, our monthly contributor here at Historical Fiction Connection.

Au Lapin Agile

Last month I blogged about one of the two most popular places for artists to hang out during the whole bohemian era. The other was a notorious, raucous cabaret named Au Lapin Agile. Au Lapin Agile had been in existence since around 1850. People often gathered there for sing-alongs. Bawdy, graphic songs about bawdy, graphic subjects sometimes were the songs chosen. Inflammatory political songs were also popular. Other times French chansons (love songs) ruled the night.

The Au Lapin Agile had a variety of clientele. Wagoneers with their knives stuck in the table tops as they drank, local villagers, artists, writers, pimps, down and outers and anarchists all gathered there. The name of the place was Cabaret Das Assassins for awhile because a band of assassins broke in and killed the owner’s son. For most of the nineteenth century, it was a rough place to hang out.

In 1875 an artist named Andre Gill painted a sign that hung outside the building. A rabbit in a chef hat jumping out of a saucepan was the theme; a tribute to one of the dishes served there. Le Lapin a Gill, which meant "Gill's Rabbit”, was soon what most people called the cabaret. The name evolved into Cabaret Au Lapin Agile (The Nimble Rabbit Cabaret). Most simply called it Au Lapin Agile or Lapin Agile. It became even more popular with artists, but still also drew the same questionable crowd in addition to those slumming it for an evening of daring fun.

Andre Gill’s Artwork for the Cabaret

There is conflicting information on who owned this cabaret during most of its history. Some information shows a woman owned it for awhile (during the time the sign was painted). She had been a singer at another venue. Other references say the artist who painted the sign (Andre Gill) owned it for a time. Whoever owned it did little to discourage nefarious sorts from frequenting the place, but they were also very generous to artists.

Paintings could be exchanged for a meal. At the end of the night any artist who had no money to eat would be given soup. Artists were allowed to become as drunk as they wished, fight, and eventually pass out at one of the tables. They were not to be disturbed. Police weren’t called. The artists would find their way out in the morning.

Painters, writers, comedians, sculptors, poets, musicians and singers all hung out at Au Lapin Agile toward the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Ownership had changed and a man named Frédé ran it. A previous cabaret owner, he also used to push a wagon of goods around town. Therefore, he owned a donkey. The donkey was allowed to roam around the various tables in front of the cabaret, as was a flea bitten dog. Frédé would play his guitar or cello most nights. Patrons once again sang along.

Frédé playing his guitar

In the early 1900's Picasso also made Au Lapin Agile a favorite haunt. He did a painting titled Au Lapin Agile in which he was represented as a harlequin. Frédé is shown playing the guitar. It belonged to the cabaret and Frédé sold the painting in 1912 for $20! In 1989 it was auctioned for $40.7 MILLION dollars.

Au Lapin Agile by Pablo Picasso

Forty million would buy quite a few rounds of drinks—and perhaps feed a donkey and dog as well.

*Au Lapin Agile still exists today. They put on evening shows in the old French style.

Historical Fiction by Caddy Rowland: 

Contact and Social Media Info. For Caddy Rowland:

Author Email: caddyauthor@gmail.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims

July 21, 2014

M.J. Neary's Never Be At Peace - Guest Post

A pugnacious orphan from a bleak Dublin suburb, Helena Molony dreams of liberating Ireland. Her fantasies take shape when the indomitable Maud Gonne informally adopts her and sets her on a path to theatrical stardom - and political martyrdom. Swept up in the Gaelic Revival, Helena succumbs to the romantic advances of Bulmer Hobson, an egotistical Fenian leader with a talent for turning friends into enemies. After their affair ends in a bitter ideological rift, she turns to Sean Connolly, a married fellow-actor from the Abbey Theatre, a man idolised in the nationalist circles. As Ireland prepares to strike against the British rule on Easter Monday, Helena and her comrades find themselves caught in a whirlwind of deceit, violence, broken alliances and questionable sacrifices. In the words of Patrick Pearse, "Ireland unfree shall never be at peace". For the survivors of the Rising, the battle will continue for decades after the last shot had been fired.

"You cannot march into a battle with one hand tied behind your back!" With those words the legendary Maud Gonne (1866 – 1953), W.B. Yeats' muse, advocated for women's participation in the nationalistic movement in Ireland. Given that Maud had spent her childhood at a boarding school in France, it is not surprising that her traditional Anglo-Irish father had little influence over her. Contrary to popular assumptions, you do not learn obedience and conformity in boarding schools. You learn independence and elusiveness. It is no wonder that Maud defied the expectations of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy class into which she was born by embracing social activism, feminism and nationalism, the three concepts she believed went hand in hand. In 1900 women were excluded from political organizations and even cultural societies. When she approached the National Land League, she was told that ladies were not admitted. Interestingly enough, even though women were taught that ultimate fulfillment could only be achieved through marriage and motherhood, fifty percent of women in Ireland remained unmarried, fending for themselves in a rather inhospitable job market that favored men. Unhindered by the restrictions of the day, Maud went on to create her own organization called Daughters of Erin. It was the first step towards the integration of women into Ireland's nationalistic movement.

It was Maud Gonne's habit of having intimate relationships only with those men who shared her political ideals. In her 20s she had carried on with Lucien Millevoye, a married French politician. To him Maud had born two children, a boy who had died in infancy and a girl Iseult who had gone to become a noted beauty. Splitting her time between France and Ireland, Maud engaged in a turbulent emotional romance with W.B. Yeats and starred in his play Cathleen Ní Houlihan. She had rejected Yeats' marriage proposals at least three times, because he was not sufficiently patriotic. She went on to marry Major John MacBride, an Irish nationalist a few years her junior. Their marriage ended up falling apart due to allegations of domestic violence. MacBride was later executed for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising. Yeats, who hated MacBride for obvious reasons, briefly mentioned him in his poem "Easter, 1916" as "a drunken, vain-glorious lout."

I did not make Maud Gonne the focal figure in my latest novel Never Be at Peace (Fireship Press, 2014). She is already an iconic figure and does not need any more exposure. Rather, I chose to focus on the underrated heroine Maud had informally adopted and groomed to be her . This earnest and ferocious Irishwoman was Helena Molony (1884-1967). A quintessential lower-middle class Dublin girl with frizzy auburn hair, freckles and a button nose, Helena was earnest and idealistic. Orphaned at a young age, she had no blood relatives except for her older brother Frank, who already was involved in nationalistic politics. On Frank's urging, she attended a Daughters of Erin meeting hosted at Maud's house. When Helena arrived, the house was being raided by the police. When questioned by the constable whether or not she was a member, the girl boldly stated that indeed she was. Moved by the young girl's audacity, Maud took her under her wing and made her the secretary of the new organization. That day Helena's fate was sealed. There was no turning back. Peaceful, boring life was not an option. Helena continued to cultivate her acting talent and went to become an actress at the Abbey Theatre co-founded by Yeats and Lady Gregory.

One of Helena's responsibilities was editing the organization's literary journal, to which many literary voices of the era contributed. Through her activism she met many fellow-nationalists who came from various walks of life. Contrary to popular assumptions, not all Irish nationalists were Irish, Catholic and economically disadvantaged. One of Helena's comrades, her future lover-turn-adversary, was Bulmer Hobson, a charismatic Ulsterman of from a liberal Quaker family of predominantly English blood. The members of Bulmer's immediate circle did not understand his interest in Irish nationalism, given that he did not have strong genetic links to that culture. Nevertheless, he was one of Ulster's most prominent nationalists who greatly contributed to the revival of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in the north. One of the sources of friction between Helena and Bulmer was that she championed the labor cause, he did not fully understand her concern for the poor. Unlike Helena, Bulmer had the support of a solid, prosperous family. His father was a successful businessman. His mother was a feminist writer and freelance archeologist. And his older sister was Ireland's first female architect. Although not grossly privileged, Bulmer did not have firsthand experience with addiction, destitution and abuse. In his social strata, unemployment did not necessarily mean starvation. Bulmer spent long periods of time "searching for himself". Holding down a job was not a priority for him. A few times he got fired for putting his nationalistic activities first. Apparently, his parents did not pressure him too aggressively into gainful employment. Authenticity and staying true to one's self rank pretty highly on the list of priorities for Quakers. Bulmer could go for years without a steady income, and his parents would always give him money for food and clothes. Even though he and Helena shared a vision for a liberated Ireland, Bulmer could not help rolling his eyes whenever Helena mentioned the interests of the working class. In my novel I took this opportunity to elaborate on the socioeconomic disparity between the two lovers.

James Connolly's Death
by  Alissa Mendenhall

The final ideological rift between Helena and Bulmer happened over the idea of an armed rising. Helena fully supported a rebellion, especially in light of England's involvement in World War I, especially since Germany promised to help the Irish. It did not matter to her that the chances of a military success were non-existent. Like Patrick Pearse, she believed in the symbolic power of bloodshed and martyrdom. Bulmer, on another hand, felt that a premature rising would be a waste of human life. A romantic in every other respect, he showed strange pragmatism. He went as far as trying to stop the ill-fated rising. This act of defiance had nearly cost him his life. He was kidnapped and held at gunpoint until the rising was well underway, while his former love Helena was on the roof of the City Hall with her comrades-at-arms.

When it came time to choose which military organization to join, Helena Molony chose the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) over Cumann na mBan (translated as Women's League), because in the ICA women were allowed to join on the same level as men, where as Cuman naBhan was a medical adjacent unit to the Irish Volunteers. She objected to the idea that women were only good for bandaging the wounds of their male comrades'. Irish girls were also damn good at making gunshot holes in their enemies. Helena's combat experience was short-lived. On Easter Tuesday, she was captured along with the surviving contingent of the Irish Citizen Army. The girls were separated from their male comrades and locked up in a filthy store where they waited out the rest of the uprising.

Even though Maud Gonne did not participate in the hostilities of 1916, she monitored the events closely and even hired an attorney to defend her former protegee - an act of compassion that Helena proudly declined. For her it was an honor to be imprisoned for what she believed in. Interestingly, Maud admitted to hating violence and regarded an armed rebellion a necessary evil. "I have always hated war and am by nature and philosophy a pacifist, but it is the English who are forcing war on us, and the first principle of war is to kill the enemy." It's questionable whether or not Helena shared the same distaste for violence. It could be that she actually derived some pleasure out of physical hostilities. In 1911 during the royal visit protests, Helena was arrested for throwing rocks at the king's portrait. While serving her time in jail, she actually worried that Maud might find her behavior childish and embarrassing. Imagine Helena's delight when she received a telegram from Maud stating "Well done!" For Helena, being congratulated on an act of juvenile hooliganism was the highest form of validation. In spite of all the hardship she had witnessed, she still retained that pugnacious tomboy side. In my novel, I wanted to explore the psychological complexity of a rebel's psyche. The fine line between heroism and hooliganism is very fine. A martyr is just one step away from becoming a traitor. That's what makes it interesting for a writer to explore the events of that era. It's not just black and white - or in Ireland's case, green and orange.

About the author
Marina Julia Neary is an award-winning historical essayist, multilingual arts & entertainment journalist, novelist, dramatist and poet.Her areas of expertise include British steampunk, French Romanticism and Irish nationalism.

Her latest novel, Never Be At Peace, is garnering rave reviews from prominent authors, historians and critics. Her novel Wynfield’s Kingdom(Fireship Press, 2009) was featured in the March 2010 edition of First Edition Magazine in the UK, followed by the sequel Wynfield’s War in 2010. She is also the author of two historical plays, Hugo in London (licensing available through Heuer Press), and the sequel Lady with a Lamp: The Untold Story of Florence Nightingale (illustrated edition available through Fireship Press).

Her poems have been organized in a collection Bipolar Express (Flutter Press, 2010).Her sci-fi novelette, My Salieiri Complex is available as an e-book through Gypsy Shadow Press. Neary currently serves as an editorial reviewer and steady contributor for Bewildering Stories magazine.

July 16, 2014

Deborah Hill's The Heir - Guest Post

Here’s the question: how does the writer wrap the plot around history?

I take it as given that history can't change. Nor am I fond of narrative, which I use very sparingly. My characters, by their actions, have to tell us what is happening. A segment of The House of Kingsley Merrick, the second novel of the Kingsland Series, demonstrates the possibilities and the problems.

The scene is Cape Cod, the era is the beginning of the Civil War. One problem is that nothing happened on Cape Cod that relates to the war, except, of course, for young men volunteering. I struggled on through it 35 years ago, when I first wrote and published these books. This victory, that victory – frankly rather boring, but I didn’t know what else to do, and eventually the war ended, thank goodness.

But now! With the internet at my fingertips, I made a wonderful discovery: THE STONE FLEET.

The Fleet consisted of defunct whaling ships in New Bedford, MA, bought for a song by the government, fitted out with removable plugs and loaded with stones from the fields of local farmers. At a certain date the fleet was to sail for Charleston, the plugs pulled, and the ships sunk in the harbor, blocking it. Well, if not exactly on Cape Cod, New Bedford is close enough.

Was there a possibility that Kingsley could watch the fleet leave? If he could get himself to the top right of the map, sail south-west down past Falmouth, the ships would be sailing right past him.

As it turns out, he boards a schooner hired by old captains, helping the father of his beloved to climb on, along with the beloved herself. (Not an easy feat to arrange, but I persevered.) History was not violated, the action involved the Cape, and my characters were there, witnessing the event while starting to move forward and into their love affair.

In fact, the dithering and delay of the Union army and navy caused the fleet, which was sunk on schedule, to break up in the tides and currents of Charleston Harbor, providing no barrier at all. But this was not my concern! My characters are living in the moment, when everyone believes the fleet’s mission to be viable.

More troubling was the fact that the date of departure from New Bedford was top secret. But I decided that the captains knew someone important (after all, they’d spent their lives at sea and must have been acquainted with naval personnel of one sort or another.) Deep water mariners stick together; surely someone would be willing to humor them.

Someone does. Problem resolved. The story moves on and into the love affair, which we all have been waiting for. And that is, at least, one instance of how the plot can be made to wrap itself around history.

About the book
In the third book of a series chronicling 200 years of an American family’s triumphs and troubles, a young man returns to his roots to reclaim his heritage.
“I married into this family. Its ancestors did interesting things, and since they aren’t my own, I was able turn their story into historical fiction with a lot more freedom anyone related to them could have done.”-Deborah Hill, The Kingsland Series.

Thirty-five years ago, while living in Cape Cod, author Deborah Hill became captivated by the memoirs of her husband’s mariner ancestor and began to research the family’s history. In a pre-Internet world, Hill found herself pouring through old library books and ancient church records, and began to piece together the saga of the fictional Merrick family. The result was The Kingsland Series, a historically accurate, adventure-filled, spicy trilogy, which will conclude with the release of The Heir in March.

The Heir follows Steven Sinclaire, who grows up with the malicious husband whom his mother, Emily Merrick, tricked into marrying her. Steven endures the humiliations this man inflicts on him by escaping into his memories of Kingsland, the Merrick family’s estate on Cape Cod Bay. Refusing to study at Harvard University, as is expected of him, Steven flees to Kingsland where he learns to value the skills and hard work of the countrymen he meets. When he saves enough, he attends the college of his own choice, and then enters the world of corporate America. Years later, after having inherited the Kingsland Estate, he again returns, hoping to find an alternative to his generation’s frantic post-war climb – and a way to restore his own honor and that of his family.

This is the House, the first book in the Kingsland Series, was originally published in 1976 and sold over 700,000 copies. Set on Cape Cod in the years following the American Revolution, it is the story of Molly Deems, a woman who marries Captain Elijah Merrick in order to escape her mother’s shame. The captain is the ancestor of the author’s hus-band, and the story is based on his own memoir, which Hill has also edited and published as Recollections of a Cape Cod Mariner. The second title in the series, The House of Kingsley Merrick, picking up twenty years after the previous novel ended, follows the title character from Cape Cod to Australia and back to Cape Cod, where he seeks retribution for persecutions he endured as a youth. Both books were re-issued two years ago, coinciding with the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

About the author
Deborah Hill graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Creative Writing and was an elementary school counselor for many years. She currently lives in Brockton, Massachusetts. The Heir by Deborah Hill (published by North Road Publishing, RRP $17.95, e-book RRP $10.99) is available online at retailers including Amazon.com and all good bookstores. For more information, please visit www.DeborahHillBooks.com.

July 11, 2014

Devil in the Marshalsea - Spotlight and {Giveaway}

About the book
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Formats: eBook, Paperback

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Thrilling new historical fiction starring a scoundrel with a heart of gold and set in the darkest debtors’ prison in Georgian London, where people fall dead as quickly as they fall in love and no one is as they seem.

It’s 1727. Tom Hawkins is damned if he’s going to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a country parson. Not for him a quiet life of prayer and propriety. His preference is for wine, women, and cards. But there’s a sense of honor there too, and Tom won’t pull family strings to get himself out of debt—not even when faced with the appalling horrors of London’s notorious debtors’ prison: The Marshalsea Gaol.

Within moments of his arrival in the Marshalsea, Hawkins learns there’s a murderer on the loose, a ghost is haunting the gaol, and that he’ll have to scrounge up the money to pay for his food, bed, and drink. He’s quick to accept an offer of free room and board from the mysterious Samuel Fleet—only to find out just hours later that it was Fleet’s last roommate who turned up dead. Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder—or be the next to die.

Praise for The Devil in the Marshalsea
“Hodgson…conjures up scenes of Dickensian squalor and marries them to a crackerjack plot, in her impressive first novel…Hodgson makes the stench, as well as the despair, almost palpable, besides expertly dropping fair clues. Fans of Iain Pears and Charles Palliser will hope for a sequel.” –Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

“The plot develops almost as many intricate turns as there are passages in the Marshalsea…Hodgson’s plotting is clever…the local color hair-raising.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Satisfyingly twisty debut thriller…so well detailed that one can almost smell the corruption, and the irrepressibly roguish Tom makes a winning hero.” —Booklist

“Historical fiction just doesn’t get any better than this. A riveting, fast-paced story…Magnificent!” —Jeffery Deaver, author of the bestselling The Kill Room and Edge

“Antonia Hodgson’s London of 1727 offers that rare achievement in historical fiction: a time and place suspensefully different from our own, yet real. The Devil in the Marshalsea reminds us at every turn that we ourselves may not have evolved far from its world of debtors and creditors, crime and generosity, appetite and pathos. A damn’d good read.” —Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian and The Swan Thieves

“A wonderfully convincing picture of the seamier side of 18th-century life. The narrative whips along. Antonia Hodgson has a real feel for how people thought and spoke at the time—and, God knows, that’s a rare talent.” —Andrew Taylor, author of An Unpardonable Crime and The Four Last Things

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About the author
Antonia Hodgson is the editor in chief of Little, Brown UK. She lives in London and can see the last fragments of the old city wall from her living room. The Devil in the Marshalsea is her first novel.

For more information please visit Antonia Hodgson’s website. You can also find her on Goodreads and Twitter.

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Read my review of this terrific book here.

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