Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Fire Court by Andrew Taylor

The Fire CourtA sequel to The Ashes of London, his magnificent evocation of the Great Fire of 1666, The Fire Court takes place the following year and continues the stories of James Marwood and Cat Lovett. The city is being rebuilt, with the eponymous fire court settling individual disputes over who should pay for what. Marwood’s elderly father, Nathaniel, claims to have seen the body of a woman at Clifford’s Inn, where the court sits. This is chalked up to senility, but after Nathaniel is run over and killed by a wagon, James discovers a bloodstained list of names among his personal effects and begins to wonder if the old man was telling the truth. His investigation brings him back into contact with tough-minded Cat – now living under an assumed name – and he turns to her for help. With a fast-moving, complex plot underpinned by solid but unobtrusive research and plenty of drama and intrigue, Taylor brings the 17th century to life so vividly that one can almost smell it.

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