‘Insides are insides, Nick. And, in my opinion, that's where they should stay.’
Heresy. Conspiracy. Murder...
London, 1590: Amidst a tumultuous backdrop of Spanish plotters, Catholic heretics and foreign wars, Queen Elizabeth I's control over her kingdom is wavering.
And a killer is at work, preying on the weak and destitute of London...
Idealistic physician Nicholas Shelby becomes determined to end these terrible murders. Joined in his investigations by Bianca, a beautiful but mysterious tavern keeper, the pair find themselves caught in the middle of a sinister plot.
With the killer still at large, Bianca finds herself in terrible danger. Nicholas's choice seems impossible - to save Bianca, or save himself...
London, August 1590
He lies on a single sheet of fine white Flanders linen. Eyelids closed, plump arms folded across his swollen infant belly, he could be a sleeping cherub painted upon the ceiling of a Romish chapel – all he lacks is a harp and a pastel cloud to float upon. The sisters at St Bartholomew’s have prepared him as best they can. They’ve washed away the river mud, plucked the nesting elvers from his mouth, scrubbed him cleaner than he ever was in life. Now he stinks no worse than anything else the watermen might haul out of the Thames on a hot Lammas Day such as this.
Male child, malformed in the lower limbs, some four years of age. Taken up drowned at the Wildgoose stairs on Bankside. Name unknown, save unto God. So says the brief report from the office of the Queen’s Coroner, into whose busy orbit – twelve miles around the royal presence – this child has so impertinently strayed.
The chamber is dark, unbearably stuffy. A miasma of horsedung, salted fish and human filth spills through the closed shutters from the street outside. Somewhere beyond Finsbury Fields a summer thunderstorm is boiling up noisily. Plague weather, says present opinion. If we escape it this year, we’ll be luckier than we deserve.
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‘[A] sad, compassionate story beautifully told.’
‘A tense whodunit and a fine debut.’
‘The Angel's Mark has the pace of a thriller... S.W. Perry is a welcome addition to the ranks of historical crime novelists.’
‘An impressively dramatic and gripping debut novel. Elegantly written, thoroughly researched, The Angel's Mark draws us into the murky world of Elizabethan London where life is a game of chance, and savage death a close neighbour, quick to pounce on the unsuspecting. I predict that we will be seeing much more of Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy.’
‘A remarkably assured and classy debut. Perry grabs your attention from the first paragraph and holds it throughout a fascinating journey into high and low life of Tudor London. This could, hopefully, be the start of an addictive series.’
L. C. Tyler
‘I knew before I got to the bottom of the first page that The Angel's Mark was the real thing. In an increasingly crowded field, this one is going to stand out.’
S. G. MacLean
‘An engaging Elizabethan thriller.’
The Sunday Times
‘Wonderful! Perry's Elizabethan London is so skilfully evoked, so real that one can almost smell it.’
‘A gorgeous book - rich, intelligent and dark in equal measure. It immerses you in the late 16th century and leaves you wrung out with terror. This is historical fiction at its most sumptuous.’