In today’s book review post I’m sharing my thoughts on a book that I read around the time I moved house last year. That seems crazy to me because that was well over a year ago! It just goes to show how far behind I am on some of my reviews. Needless to say that after today’s post I can take one more off my list and I hope you enjoy hearing my thoughts on this book.
The Thief Taker appealed to me for its setting. It seemed apt given that we were in the height of our first wave of the pandemic locally at the time I read the book. Maybe that isn’t the best choice for anyone who is superstitious; I am not however and I went on to enjoy this book!
The Thief Taker – C. S. Quinn
The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…
When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London – and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.
Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.
In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.
As I said in my introduction, the main reason I wanted to read this book was to indulge in the setting. British history ironically wasn’t touched on all that much as part of my education. It was there a bit, but I spent most of my time studying the world wars, the Cold War and the economic Boom and Bust in the 1920’s and 30’s. With that in mind, I wanted to try something new. This particular book appealed because in addition it also had an element of mystery – a murder to be solved. It’s a genre that I read from time to time and more often than not enjoy, so I felt it was a safe bet to try something new but equally with a touch of familiarity.
I really enjoyed the mystery element. Can I say that I expected the book and the plot would turn out the way you did? Absolutely not! The story had a far wider scope and I imagined but honestly, I really enjoyed that.
The book is brilliant in its description of London at its worst. If you don’t have a strong stomach then maybe take this with a pinch of salt. The narrative encourages the imagination to run wild with vivid descriptions of just how atrocious conditions were at the time. Imagine bodies rotting in the streets. People hiding themselves away and turning on anyone they think to be sick. The city turns into a cesspit; it’s one thing to have a vague understanding of how things happened in reality, reading a book such as this brings it into perspective.
With society in a state of breakdown and sickness everywhere, the book is full of tension. Where is safe? Who is lurking behind close doors or in the next alleyway – a criminal… or something worse? Our main character finds himself looking over his shoulder constantly and with London being incredibly unsafe, the narrative is full of action to keep us as readers interested.
There is definitely far more that can be added to the series. The plot has been left pretty wide open after this book so it will be interesting to see where the next instalment takes us. For historical fiction, I enjoyed the change of setting and pace and for anyone looking to delve into British history, or at least a very dark side of history, this may just be for you!