blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Saracen’s Mark – S.W. Perry*

The third instalment of The Jackdaw Mysteries. A tale of conspiracy, murder and espionage in Elizabethan London and dazzling Marrakesh.

Betrayal has many guises…

London, 1593: Five years on from the Armada and England is taking its first faltering steps towards a future as a global power. Nicholas Shelby – reluctant spy and maverick physician – and his companion Bianca Merton are settling into a life on Bankside. But in London there is always a plot afoot…

Robert Cecil, the Queen’s spymaster, once again recruits Nicholas to embark on a dangerous undercover mission that will take him to the back alleys of Marrakech in search of a missing informer. However, while Nicholas hunts for the truth across the seas, plague returns once more to London – ravaging the streets and threatening those dearest to him.

Can Bianca and Nicholas’ budding relationship weather the threats of pestilence and conspiracy? And will Nicholas survive the dangers of his mission in a hostile city to return safely home?

S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. His debut novel, The Angel’s Mark, was listed for the CWA Historical Dagger and was a Walter Scott Prize Academy Recommended Read 2019. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife.

My thoughts:

This series just gets better and better. This time Nick is off to Marrakech on the service of the Cecils but closer to home conspiracy threatens Bianca and the Jackdaw crew and plague looms.

It was fascinating to read, especially the Marrakech episodes which remind me yet again of how backward a lot of Western thinking has been – if only we’d spent more time studying the advances of the Arab world than the Greco-Roman ones, maybe it wouldn’t have taken so long for women to become doctors and for hygiene to be recognised as vital to recovery.

Sorry, rant over.

Clever writing, a real sense of time and space (Bankside really comes alive), engaging characters and sophisticated plotting make this the best yet.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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