A gripping tale of espionage and murder in Elizabethan London.
London, 1590. Queen Elizabeth I’s control over her kingdom is wavering. Amidst a tumultuous backdrop of Spanish plotters, Catholic heretics and foreign wars threatening the country’s fragile stability, the body of a small boy is found in the City of London, with strange marks that no one can explain.
When idealistic physician Nicholas Shelby finds another body displaying the same marks only days later, he becomes convinced that a killer is at work, preying on the weak and destitute of London.
Determined to find out who is behind these terrible murders, Nicholas is joined in his investigations by Bianca, a mysterious tavern keeper. As more bodies are discovered, the pair find themselves caught in the middle of a sinister plot. With the killer still at large, and Bianca in terrible danger, Nicholas’s choice seems impossible – to save Bianca, or save himself….
Author: S. W. Perry
Narrator: Kris Dyer
Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
Series: The Jackdaw Mysteries #1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Running Time: 14hrs 23mins
Audio Release Date: 06/09/2018
My Rating of ‘The Angel’s Mark’: 3 out of 5
Historical Fiction (the more distant the date the better) is one of my all-time favourite ‘happy reads/listens’. The Elizabethan period isn’t the period I typically have had much dealings with in the past so, when I saw this I leapt at the chance to get stuck into it.
Sadly, The Angel’s Mark, whilst well-written, is not the sort of book you can get stuck in to. You can get bogged down by the tedious, ponderously slow pace, but you can’t get stuck in. Not until much later on in the novel, anyway. Even then, the fast pace only feels fast due to the slowness you endured in the first 50-70% of the novel. Against any other novel it would still feel a tad meandering.
The story being told is an interesting one and, despite the fact the plot is intriguing, it rarely threatens to be exciting. Due to the slow pace, I struggled to care much for any of the characters introduced besides the main two protagonists and a third person they take under their wing. Other than those, I’m ashamed to say that they were just names on a page to me. Or, in my case, due to the fact that I listened to the audio book, they were simply words on the wind.
That being said, I would be tempted to go further into this series, I’d just have to be in the mood for an incredibly slow burn just in case the future books haven’t picked up in speed.
S. W. Perry’s attention to historical detail is wonderful and you really get a feeling for the time period the novel is set in. Whether it’s their archaic medical beliefs, their views on foreigners (only a little less awful than some countries views today in all fairness) or their overall attitude to women in the role of anything other than an obedient wife who, if the urge for something thrilling and wild takes their fancy can probably get away with a bit of knitting.
You are told the different texts and the levels the author went to in researching this particular time period, so you know it’s not just some chap with a pen having a go at a random decade.
When things got a proper head of steam and the plot started to take off, The Angel’s Mark really did begin to interest me and I found myself spending more time with this novel than I had in previous days. I’m not overly sold on the motives/methodology behind the crime and felt things were perhaps handled a tad slack on the part of the villains, but, overall, it was a good plot and I enjoyed following it to the conclusion.
The slowness really was the main thing that detracted for me and, as you can tell by the score of three out of five, it really detracted quite a bit. That being said, the vast amount of reviews and ratings are four or five stars so I am solidly in the minority.