WINNER OF THE CWA HISTORICAL DAGGER AWARD 2014.
Longlisted for the John Creasey Dagger Award for best debut crime novel of 2014.
London, 1727 - and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels, and coffeehouses to the hell of a debtors' prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol's rutheless governor and his cronies.
The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules - even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the Captain's beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: to the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet.
Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom's choice is clear: Get to the truth of the murder - or be the next to die.
A twisting mystery, a dazzling evocation of early 18th-Century London, The Devil in the Marshalsea is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.
©2014 Antonia Hodgson (P)2014 Hodder & Stoughton
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"One of the best audio books I've chosen recently"
I liked both the naive but brave and resourceful narrator and his enigmatic cell mate, Fleet. They reminded me a bit of Davy and Long John Silver in Treasure Island.
This was a an atmospheric novel which also had plenty of suspense and twists and turns. I thought it was very well written and researched. Who knew that the old Marshalsea operated like a kind of concentration camp, killing poor people through brutality and starvation in the plain centre of London? Unlike the previous reviewer, I didn't find it at all repetitive, though that's often a criticism I make of audiobooks. I thought the narrator was great and didn't mind the sound effect either!
"Promising but flawed."
This is very well researched and an enjoyable, fast-paced story but I felt the writing lacked depth and would have benefited from better editing . It was sufficiently engaging however, for me to try the next in the series providing Audible sorts out the sound track. My listening enjoyment of the book was really marred and my patience sorely tried by the awful and too often repeated musical refrain.
The standout character for me was not the hero,Tom, but Samuel Fleet, a sophisticated and genuinely enigmatic character who I wished has been at the heart of this novel and indeed in future books in the series. I particularly liked the selected bibliography of source materials at the end and the integration of real and imagined characters.
gripping, atmospheric, detailed
good story, but too many repeats of narration which weren't deleted, lack of editing became annoying through the course of the book
"Brilliant book let down a little by the editing"
Dirty smelly history
The War of the Roses trilogy by Iggulden - same gritty realism you can almost smell with well drawn characters.
Not his fault - the recording was badly done - first one ever - I could hear him swallowing; there were a number of repeats, one of which even included his apology as he re- read it. I actuallly liked him as a narrator.
I found the beginning rather slow and was not totally convinced; but once he got to the prison I was hooked and could have listened to it in one go
First time I have experienced this - but poor editing, as mentioned, the narrator swallowing and lines repeated in error. I perservered as I was enjoying the book and the narrator. I wanted to give it 5 stars for performance but could not - though not the narrators fault.
"A good mystery."
A good mystery kept my attention all the way through. The only downside to the story I thought was the last hour with the conclusion of the relationship between Tom and Charles that all seemed a bit rushed and far fetched after all the other twists and turns.
The narration was good, overall a good listen.
"let down by poor editing"
Have listened to all 3 books in this series, well read, with good characters and plots, but severely let down by poor editing and regularly repeated lines.
"Full of twists and turns you don't see coming."
A really enjoyable audio. Most gripping. Very well read as the voice matched the storytelling perfectly.
"Great story, shame about the technical recording"
I really enjoyed this one, and I'm going to listen to the second story, but the recording was not the greatest - throughout there are places where the recording repeated itself, and was a bit confusing the first time. I'm surprised that this wasn't checked. This is why I've given it 4 stars. Otherwise I'd have given it five. Joseph Kloska does a good job - let down by the technical bit.
"Poor editing let this great book down"
An unusual story that was performed really well was let down by very shoddy editing. Lines were repeated throughout, sometimes two or three times, performed in different ways. How any editor listened to this and gave it the OK is unbelievable. I would be furious if I were the author.
"Good story, well-narrated, dreadful editing"
An atmospheric book, beautifully-written and well-read. Good characters. But the narrator's mistakes have been left in the edit. This meant I frequently heard the same lines twice. Once he even apologises to the sound recordist. Despite that, it is very diverting and one of the best historic fictions stories I've read in some time.
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