The poisonous dispute pushing King Charles and Parliament towards Civil War is reaching the point of no return.
Law and order in the city are collapsing as Puritan radicals demand more concessions from the King. Bishops and lords are attacked in the streets as the Apprentice Boys run amok. Criminal gangs use the disorder to mask their activities while the people of London lock their doors and pray for deliverance.
No one is immune from the contagion. Two Jesuit priests are discovered in hiding and brutally executed – and soon the family of spice merchant Thomas Tallant is drawn into the spiral of violence. Tallant’s home is ransacked, his warehouse raided and his sister seized by kidnappers.
Thomas struggles to discover who is responsible, aided by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, a devotee of science, maths and tobacco in equal measure. Together they enter a murky world of court politics, street violence, secret codes and poisoned letters, and confront a vicious gang leader who will stop at nothing to satisfy his greed.
Can Elizabeth use her skills to unpick the mass of contradictory evidence before the Tallants are ruined – both as a business and a family?
And as the fight for London between King and Parliament hurtles to its dramatic conclusion, can the Tallants survive the personal and political maelstrom?
In this second 17th century crime mystery involving spice merchant, Thomas Tallant, we find ourselves in a turbulent capital where the zealous Protestant MPs lead by John Pym oppose Charles I and his Bishops. The people of London believe Queen Henrietta Maria is converting her husband to Catholicism and the Apprentice boys are glad of an excuse to run amok. As a member of parliament himself, Thomas tries to follow a central path but his family home and Thameside warehouse are threatened by thieves and kidnappers. Who is their enemy?
Luckily, Thomas is aided by his brilliant inamorata, Elizabeth, who studies the stars, reads the theories of Galileo and applies her logical mind to every problem. She helps Thomas to follow the clues, arms him with a weapon to defend his property and has useful contacts enabling her to discover the truth.
The Wrecking Storm is an exciting tale of violence and danger. There is treachery where it is least expected but loyalty from old friends. The enmity aroused against The Dutch side of Thomas’s family is an unfair reaction, reflecting our modern world and a strong feeling of unease forewarns of future problems between Parliament and King Charles.
Although I know the bare bones of the history of England in the 1640s this exciting story explores the day-to-day tensions clearly, the fictional storyline interwoven with historical facts. An even more satisfying read than Book one which can also be read as a standalone adventure.
The Wrecking Storm on Amazon UK
My review of The Rags of Time Book one of the Thomas Tallant mysteries