“Antonia Hodgson’s London of 1727 offers that rare achievement in historical fiction: a time and place suspensefully different from our own, yet real . . . A damn’d good read.” —Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian
The Devil in the Marshalsea is based in London during the 17th century.
Tom Hawkins refusal to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a country parson, his preference is for wine, women, and cards leads to a strange turn of events for him. Strange would be an understatement when his life is put in danger and Tom won’t pull family strings to get himself out of this mess. He has a debt to pay and has to face London’s notorious debtors’ prison.
The Marshalsea Gaol is a world of its own. Those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of its ruthless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom has never been good at following rules, even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the captain’s beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: do the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet.
Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder—or be the next to die.
A dazzling evocation of a startlingly modern era, The Devil in the Marshalsea is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.