I’d read The Ashes of London, which is a gripping murder mystery set during the Great Fire of London, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so when I got the chance to pick up the Netgalley arc of The Last Protector, I jumped at it. Though I was a tad startled to find out that it was the fourth book in the series, so last year I decided to go back and get hold of an audiobook edition of The Fire Court and Himself bought me this one – The King’s Evil as a birthday present.
BLURB: London 1667. In the Court of Charles II, it’s a dangerous time to be alive – a wrong move may lead to disgrace, exile or death. The discovery of a body at Clarendon House, the palatial home of one of the highest courtiers in the land, could therefore have catastrophic consequences. James Marwood, a traitor’s son, is ordered to cover up the murder. But the dead man is Edward Alderley, the cousin of one of Marwood’s acquaintances. Cat Lovett had every reason to want her cousin dead. Since his murder, she has vanished, and all the evidence points to her as the killer.
Marwood is determined to clear Cat’s name and discover who really killed Alderley. But time is running out for everyone. If he makes a mistake, it could threaten not only the government but the King himself…
REVIEW: This Restoration murder mystery series is one I’ve come to love. James Marwood and Cat Lovett are both under a cloud, as their fathers were known sympathisers of Oliver Cromwell and both have had a tough time of it. And once again, Cat’s troubled past rises up
to destabilise the precarious life she has managed to carve out for herself. As she goes on the run, James Marwood finds himself caught up in the affair, as it appears Edward Alderley was on the fringes of a power struggle between the Duke of Buckingham and Lord Clarendon. His body is discovered in a well in Lord Clarendon’s grounds and immediately there is an arrest warrant out for Cat Lovett, who was known to hate her cousin – and with good reason.
As with most murder mysteries, this one can be read as a standalone. However, I strongly recommend that you read the previous books in this series, as you’ll better understand the main protagonists and their motivations if you do so. Taylor’s vivid writing successfully brings this turbulent period to life, such that I easily envisaged and smelt Restoration London and also enjoyed reading of Marwood’s journey to the fenlands of Norfolk on a special mission for His Majesty. Taylor is not only masterful at recreating the period, he is also extremely good at spinning a twisting plot where all sorts of events caught me unawares. I was particularly struck by the final twist, which has stayed with me – and made me mightily grateful not to have been born into that time.
If you enjoy your whodunits set in a vividly described historical backdrop, then this one comes very highly recommended – it’s every bit as good as C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series.
I love that the plot twists kept you guessing until the end. Those are my favorite kind of mysteries. I hate it when I can guess where the story is going too soon.
Oh… there is one particular twist which is a doozy – and I thoroughly recommend reading the Appendix, which reveals it actually existed…
Oh great! Your post reminded me about being intrigued by the concept of The Ashes of London, so now that I’ve see your enthusiastic review of this fourth volume in the series, I’ve gone and bought book 1: if I can fit it into my reading schedule, I might even review it for Wyrd & Wonder… 😉
Thanks for sharing!!!
You’re very welcome, Maddalena:). I would mention that it won’t work for Wyrd & Wonder, as it is a straight historical fiction adventure without any magical elements. I hope that doesn’t dent your enthusiasm for the book!
Not at all! I have already enough material for W&W, so I will not need to hurry and read this one right now – but at least it’s already firmly sitting on my TBR and making doe eyes at me! 😀
Lol… darn those flirty books that INSIST on jumping the reading schedule:)).
I just love the sound of this series, and I love your quirky way of reading series out of order😁
Lol… it generally happens by mistake:)).
Fantastic review! I’m sure I’d like this when I can fit it into my reading.
Thank you, Anne. I think you’d really enjoy this series – I know you like a bit of layering in your reading and a good, strong plot:)).
I really, really want to read this series, seems like they’ll be a good run, back-to-back. The covers too look awesome too. 🙂
I generally don’t read series back to back, as I find that’s a good way to trip over a writer’s ticks and foibles:)). But since I’ve been ill, I have torn through a couple of series just because of the escape they’ve provided.
I’m glad it was so much fun then. And hope you’re on the quick road to recovery!
Another series that I think I would really enjoy and that I’m already behind with! And I love that cover.
There is a sense of being overwhelmed when you start a series where there are already a slew of books, isn’t there? Though once a series is well established, it is a comfort to know there is more goodness to enjoy:)). And yes – I think all his covers are good – but this one is exceptional.