Author: Laura Shepherd-Robinson
Genre: Historical Crime Fiction
Format: Hardcover 448 pages
Release Date: 24 January 2019
My huge thanks to Rosie Wilson at Pan Macmillan for the copy of this book sent to me for review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Blood & Sugar is the thrilling debut historical crime novel from Laura Shepherd-Robinson.
June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark.
Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .
To discover what happened to Tad, Harry is forced to pick up the threads of his friend’s investigation, delving into the heart of the conspiracy Tad had unearthed. His investigation will threaten his political prospects, his family’s happiness, and force a reckoning with his past, risking the revelation of secrets that have the power to destroy him.
And that is only if he can survive the mortal dangers awaiting him in Deptford . . .
I am very partial to the odd historical fiction read in between my usual genre of anything thriller related and this one particularly piqued my interest as it is set in the late 18th century which is not a period I have read much about.
This book has a dark theme running through it surrounding slavery and the conditions of slaves back in those times and how they were traded, bought and referred to as ‘property’. It is truly horrifying to think that the things described in this book actually happened.
The book is set in and around the port of Deptford which at the period in time this book is set, had already been a slaving port for more than two centuries. The authors description of the port and the absolutely stunning language she uses made me feel as if I was stood on the quayside smelling the ocean.
The main character Captain Harry Corsham in my mind was a rather dashing character of the upper class of this time, but despite his well bred upbringing he has no trouble getting down to business in Deptford and mixing with the undesirables in an attempt to find out who murdered his dear old friend Tad Archer.
Captain Corsham is tireless in his pursuit and despite considerable detriment to his personal standing in society as well as threats to his personal safety, he is not deterred. This is a character you can firmly get behind and whom I desperately wanted to see succeed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and working along with Captain Corsham as he undertook his investigation.
There are quite a few characters in this book and it took me a while to get them all straight in my mind and fixed on who was who and what role they played, but once I had, everyone was a suspect and potentially had motive!
I throughly recommend this book to anyone who likes a read with a historical background. This book taught me a lot about the period in which it was written and if this is the level of writing to expect from this author then I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
About the Author
Laura Shepherd-Robinson was born in Bristol in 1976. She has a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. Laura worked in politics for nearly twenty years before re-entering normal life to complete an MA in Creative Writing at City University. She lives in London with her husband, Adrian.
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