books

Book Review: The Wrecking Storm – Michael Ward

Read my thoughts on the first book in this series – Rags of Time

1641.

London.

The poisonous dispute pushing King Charles and Parliament towards Civil War is reaching the point of no return.

Law and order in the city are collapsing as Puritan radicals demand more concessions from the King. Bishops and lords are attacked in the streets as the Apprentice Boys run amok. Criminal gangs use the disorder to mask their activities while the people of London lock their doors and pray for deliverance.

No one is immune from the contagion. Two Jesuit priests are discovered in hiding and brutally executed – and soon the family of spice merchant Thomas Tallant is drawn into the spiral of violence. Tallant’s home is ransacked, his warehouse raided and his sister seized by kidnappers.

Thomas struggles to discover who is responsible, aided by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, a devotee of science, maths and tobacco in equal measure. Together they enter a murky world of court politics, street violence, secret codes and poisoned letters, and confront a vicious gang leader who will stop at nothing to satisfy his greed.

Can Elizabeth use her skills to unpick the mass of contradictory evidence before the Tallants are ruined – both as a business and a family?

And as the fight for London between King and Parliament hurtles to its dramatic conclusion, can the Tallants survive the personal and political maelstrom?

My thoughts: the author kindly let me know this book was out as I was on the blog tour for the first one. It’s currently free on Kindle Unlimited, which is how I read it.

I really enjoyed this book, I liked the historical setting – a period of huge unrest and upheaval in Britain as Parliament and Charles I start to fall out and Puritanism is on the rise.

When I studied the Civil War, we focused mainly on Oliver Cromwell so it was interesting to learn more about men like Pym, who were his forerunners in the religious and political conflict that reshaped how our government works.

I like Thomas Tallant and Elizabeth a lot – they’re clever and interesting, sharp minds that sort through all the clues to find out the truth of the matter – who is attacking the family and why? Violence becomes personal and puts even Thomas’ quiet sister Ellen at risk. How does this fit in with the murdered Jesuit priests and other worrying activities in a powder keg London?

I like my historical fiction riddled with real people and events and this book really delivers that, bringing those fevered weeks to life.

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