Book Review: The Angel’s Mark, by S W Perry

In 1590, a time when Queen Elizabeth I’s rule is on shaky ground and Catholicism is an underground practice, Nicholas Shelby, physician, becomes involved in the case of a young boy who has been murdered, mutilated and thrown into the river.

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This talented writer’s debut murder mystery novel is an engaging Elizabethan thriller.

The Angel’s Mark grabs you by the end of the first paragraph and draws you in; you simply cannot put it down. Perry writes with flair and in a style that brings the history of the Elizabethan era to life. He obviously uses detailed research to back his story and deftly conveys the themes of the nature of Tudor medicine and physician’s practices, the role of women in the male-dominated business domain, and the place of Catholicism/religion in Elizabethan society throughout his tale.

The cover art is beautiful and is the reason many will pick up this novel, even before reading the teaser words of “Heresy. Conspiracy. Murder…”

Set in 1590, a time when Queen Elizabeth I’s rule is on shaky ground and Catholicism is an underground practice, this tale begins as Nicholas Shelby, physician, becomes involved in the case of a young boy who has been murdered, mutilated and thrown into the river. Shelby, accompanied by Southwark Innkeeper, Bianca, search for justice for this vulnerable boy and the bodies that follow.

This sad story illustrates the difference between rich and poor, and the world of Shelby, treating the poor are south of the river in London; a place where the brothels, bear-baiting pits, theatres and inns are the backdrop of life. It shows the dangers brought forward by the rich to be often veiled and insidious.

Perry develops strong characters with whom the reader has no difficulty identifying and either likes or loathes as the tale unfolds. The elements of espionage, detective scrutiny of the murders and the ultimate risk to the main characters are gripping as you traverse the paths taken amongst the well to do and the destitute of Tudor London.

Put the phone on silent, grab a comfy chair and a large cup of coffee and settle in for a ride that will have you turning the pages until you reach the conclusion, hoping that there will be a sequel appearance of Nicholas Shelby in the not too distant future.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

Rating out of 10:  8

Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: October 2018
RRP: $39.99

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