Book Reviews

The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor


What Da Cover Says:  London, September 1666. The Great Fire rages through the city, consuming everything in its path. Even the impregnable cathedral of St. Paul’s is engulfed in flames and reduced to ruins. Among the crowds watching its destruction is James Marwood, son of a disgraced printer, and reluctant government informer.

In the aftermath of the fire, a semi-mummified body is discovered in the ashes of St. Paul’s, in a tomb that should have been empty. The man’s body has been mutilated and his thumbs have been tied behind his back.

Under orders from the government, Marwood is tasked with hunting down the killer across the devastated city. But at a time of dangerous internal dissent and the threat of foreign invasion, Marwood finds his investigation leads him into treacherous waters – and across the path of a determined, beautiful and vengeful young woman.

What I Says:  This is one of those books where the cover sells it for me, I’m not that interested in “Historical fiction” why mess with history? I say….But look at the cover, it is amazing, pencil drawing (I think) and so much detail, you can spend ages looking at it, also it is one of those covers that goes across the spine and onto the back cover and because of that I picked up a copy.

The plot is a detective type story, some people have been murdered and it is up to one person to find the killer.  I am not a fan of who-dunnit books as I usually figure it out within 50 pages and spend the rest of the time bored as the detective catches up.  This time however there is no doubt who the killer is, it is quite refreshing to sit back as the “detective” figures out how to track down the killer and unweave all of the sub-plots.

One of the main characters is female and the book has a real Jane Austen feel to it as she tries to make her way in a man’s world.  I couldn’t shake that feeling through the whole book, it feels like a classic with a modern day twist…maybe I am sold on the “Historical Fiction” genre after all?  The one real weakness of the story is that it is a series of murders set to the great fire of London, the fire is over quickly and the bulk of the book is set to the rebuilding effort, this worked ok but I wished there was more fire.

This is quite a fast paced book and easy to read, I did enjoy myself and am glad I picked up a copy,  according to goodreads there are more in the series and I’m sure I’ll be looking for book 2 to see how the characters all get together again for a new story.


2 thoughts on “The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor

  1. Dude, that cover is completely off the charts! So good!

    Historical fiction – I’m not entirely familiar with the genre but have stumbled across quite a few titles that were absorbing… one that immediately springs to mind is a trilogy – of which I still need to read the last book- er.. what’s it called.. The Leopards of Normandy I think… historical yes, but then the fiction side brings in a slight fantasy vibe…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The cover is even better when you see it in your hands, slightly textured. 🙂 This is the only historical fiction I’ve read, made up story set during real events. There is a sequel to this book and I am tempted to check it out.


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