Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Appointment With Death

Gallows Thief
by Bernard Cornwell

Genre; Historical Fiction
Publisher; HarperCollins/London/2002
Pages; 401
ISBN; 139780007877447

Plot; Disgraced by his father's suicide and impoverished by the debts that drove him to it, Capt. Rider Sandman, late of His Majesty's 52nd Regiment of Foot, has been forced to sell his commission to support his mother and sister.

Desperate to earn a living but with no skills besides soldiering and cricket, he has come to London in search of a job. When the Home Secretary offers him temporary employment investigating a sensational murder, he accepts it as easy money. All he has to do is elicit a confession from the young artist accused of raping and murdering the Countess of Avebury during her portrait sitting. But when Sandman visits him in Newgate, the artist defends his innocence so vehemently that Sandman begins to have his doubts.

Unwillingly, Sandman is drawn into an investigation that not only risks his life but introduces him to the darkest secrets of several aristocratic families.

My Thoughts; I am going through a bit of a Historical Fiction addiction at the moment. I can't seem to get enough English history. This book not only quenched my thirst, but it gave me reason to hunt down even more literature about the old backstreets of London.

Cornwell really is a masterful author. Each page just entices the reader on further and further, with a gripping end you can't see coming.

I loved the blend of mismatched, misfit characters. Sandman is a wonderful male lead. Men can aim to be like him and women can swoon at his feet (as I did at least once a page).

One of the main aspects of this novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed, was the juxtaposition of fictional characters and actual historical figures. Cornwell has really researched his subject, and it makes for a much more enthralling read, knowing some of the characters where real, and really did such terrible things.

The mystery of the story, is a good one. It keeps you guessing, which keeps you interested, and the ending is unexpected. Making not only the characters entertaining, but also the storyline.

I would recommend this book to all fans of Historical Fiction and anyone who likes a good, entertaining mystery.

Happy Reading!

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