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S. W. Perry

Författare till The Angel's Mark

10 verk 241 medlemmar 11 recensioner


Verk av S. W. Perry

The Angel's Mark (2018) 89 exemplar, 1 recension
The Serpent's Mark (2019) 44 exemplar, 3 recensioner
The Saracen's Mark (2020) 42 exemplar, 4 recensioner
The Heretic's Mark (2021) 30 exemplar, 1 recension
The Rebel's Mark (2022) 17 exemplar, 1 recension
The Sinner's Mark (2023) 14 exemplar, 1 recension
The loonatic journals (1987) 2 exemplar
Berlin Duet (2024) 1 exemplar


Allmänna fakta



I enjoyed this second volume in the series much more than book 1. It has a slow build up and deals with the politics and religious antagonism of the late Elizabethan age, being slow to get going, but Dr Nicholas Selby has at least managed to stay sober and during the course of the novel comes to terms with the loss of his wife and sees a possibility of future happiness. As before, he is a reluctant spy for the Queen's Spymaster, Robert Cecil, and gets in over his head. Meanwhile Bianca, Italian tavern keeper and now licenced apothecary, does some investigation of her own into what her visiting cousin might be up to and also becomes embroiled in serious matters.

I liked the way Bianca was a competent and courageous joint protagonist and how, unlike in book 1 where she needed rescuing, here the boot is on the other foot. Also, the way the two investigations became interwoven is neat.

I should warn other readers that there is a sad animal death in the book and a grisly medical procedure which amounts to torture.

The only thing that held it back from a five star rating for me was a slight unbelievability in how a certain character was in the right place to meet a particular person at the end, plus it wasn't clear if Nicholas had managed to get the news to him about his son. That was a loose end not quite tied up. But an enjoyable 4 stars.
… (mer)
kitsune_reader | 2 andra recensioner | Nov 23, 2023 |
Nicholas and Bianca have finally wed, off the page before book 4 starts. But married life doesn't imply a settled existence because an enemy from Nicholas' past (book 1) sends an anonymous letter to various people in the government accusing him of being a co-conspirator in a plot to murder Queen Elizabeth I. Robert Cecil, who employed Nicholas as an agent in previous books, manages to shield him briefly from powerful enemies such as the Earl of Essex, but advises him to go abroad until he can be exonerated. So Nicholas and Bianca set off, initially for the Low Countries, leaving Rose and Ned Monkton to supervise the rebuilding of Bianca's inn, the Jackdaw, which was destroyed by arson in the previous story.

Unfortunately things become too dangerous for the pair to remain in their initial city because Nicholas manages to be a bystander to a double murder involving one of the Spanish overlords. They rescue a strange woman called Hella Mass, seemingly another witness and already in trouble with the authorities, and take her with them on their journey to Italy, following the pilgrim way to Rome (though with the intention of leaving her to travel on while they go to Bianca's native city of Padua). Hella soon starts trying to drive a wedge between them, using her uncanny premonitions and playing on their private fears. She is a religious fanatic who believes the Last Judgement is at hand, but also seems bent on breaking up their marriage and claiming Nicholas for herself.

I had a few problems with the story, apart from finding Hella loathsome and Nicholas' forbearance of her tiresome and wilfully stupid. Firstly, the murderer's identity was pretty obvious, which made me impatient with the main characters' inability to even suspect it. Secondly, when they were followed from one place to another by a mysterious man, I guessed his identity from something said by another character. The reasons he eventually gave to explain his behaviour were unconvincing to say the least. In light of all this, I found the story dragged out and unnecessarily convoluted with only the 'meanwhile back in England' parts, as Ned and Rose suffered the fallout from their employer's departure, to add some interest. The odd typo was intrusive also, especially when what was obviously meant to be 'conversation' became conservation at one point.

All in all, I didn't really enjoy the book, especially as a semi-regular character was killed off. There was a hint at the end that the series might continue in the Italian setting, but I'm not sufficiently interested to continue, especially as out of the series so far I've only really enjoyed book 2. So I can only rate this as an OK 2 stars.
… (mer)
kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
It is two years since the events of the previous book and Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant part-time spy for Robert Cecil, minister to Queen Elizabeth I, hasn't quite got his act together vis a vis his smouldering relationship with Bianca, tavern keeper and apothecary. Then a rift opens when he accepts a commission to go to Marrakesh and investigate the lack of dispatches from a spy of Cecil's who works there as an official for a merchant company. Cecil threatens to have Bianca's licence to practice revoked and Nicholas doesn't tell her this so his cover story of studying Moorish medical practices doesn't convince.

Meanwhile the two had made a start on investigating a murder close to home of a harmless old man who was tortured before being killed. It transpires that he had connections to Marrakesh and as Bianca continues to investigate on her own, murky links begin to emerge with slavery and a very nasty Captain Connell, plus an official of the college of heralds.

I wasn't totally convinced by the motivation of the man eventually revealed as the chief plotter, and also of the way Bianca puts herself at risk. There were a few typographical errors which were jarring such as transposing letters so that except/expect were substituted. On the whole I liked the story, but enjoyed the previous volume more, so am rating it as a 3 star read.
… (mer)
kitsune_reader | 3 andra recensioner | Nov 23, 2023 |
1600 and Queen Elizabeth is dying, the Privy Council are as secretive as ever. For physician Shelby a call to his father's aid comes as a shock and the accusation of sedition is serious. However on his return to London he meets with an old friend and colleague from the war in the Low Countries. His wife Bianca has inherited an abandoned house and allows this friend to stay there but she is suspicious and even more so when he tries to convert Ned Monkton to his extremely puritanical views. However there is a bigger plot at foot.
Perry writes really entertaining novels about the inhabitants of London in the latter days of Elizabeth's reign. Here the side characters include one Will Shakespeare but this does not detract from the plot which is twisty and complex but ultimately solved. There is a real love for the people who inhabit the less glamorous parts of London, particularly Bankside, and the research is excellent.
… (mer)
pluckedhighbrow | Apr 23, 2023 |


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