The Plague Road by L C Tyler

the-plague-road1665 and John Grey is now a successful lawyer, with only the occasional dip into the world of politics, espionage and murder. But business is somewhat slow due to the Plague devastating most his potential clients, so when Secretary of State Lord Arlington asks/demands his help, he finds himself investigating a dead body found in a plague pit. Not an unnatural occurrence, apart from the fact that this body has a knife sticking out of it. Oh, and it was carrying an explosive letter from the Duke of York to the French Ambassador. Oh, and the letter seems to have vanished…

But Arlington isn’t the only one who wants the letter – virtually everybody wants to get their hands on it. As Grey and his childhood sweetheart Aminta Pole hunt for both a murderer and the letter, it seems that everybody has their own agenda and they find themselves hunted across the country. And if they can avoid their pursuers, then there’s the shadow of the Plague following them as well…

Book Three of the John Grey series from L C Tyler – see here for yesterday’s extract – following A Cruel Necessity and A Masterpiece of Corruption, and it sees the series really hitting its stride. The plot is fast-paced and as full of all the twists and turns that you’d expect from the author’s work. The characters, especially Grey and Aminta, are wonderful company and there’s a lovely sinister turn from Samuel Pepys (although that bit is completely made up). There’s a whodunit element to the tale, but it’s also an adventure-thriller that never lets you stop turning the page.

But there’s also the Plague to deal with and the author makes full use of the paranoia of the time to weave horrific side-stories into the tale, from people being sealed into their houses at the mere suspicion (or accusation) of having plague to plague victims hurling their diseased blankets at healthy people to infect them. Lovely.

Although the funniest bit of the book is the opening of the Acknowledgement section, detailing a review of an earlier book that accused Len of not knowing enough about the period as he cited too many books that he had read about it before writing the book… Yeah, I know. Some people…

Anyway, this is a top quality read. Funny at times, thrilling at times, terrifying at times and (literally) poetic at times. And while one aspect of the tale is rather obvious, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment in the slightest. Highly Recommended and roll on the next book. Can I smell something burning?

Many thanks to the author and Little, Brown for the review copy – The Plague Road was released on 6th of October.

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