A New York Times Best New Historical Novel of 2021
"Potent... fast-paced..." - The New York Times Book Review
"Wonderfully imagined and wonderfully written . . . Superb!" -- Lee Child
Part Wolf Hall, part The Name of the Rose, a riveting new literary thriller set in Restoration London, with a cast of real historic figures, set against the actual historic events and intrigues of the returned king and his court …
The City of London, 1678. New Year’s Day. Twelve years have passed since the Great Fire ripped through the City. Eighteen since the fall of Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of a King. London is gripped by hysteria, and rumors of Catholic plots and sinister foreign assassins abound.
When the body of a young boy drained of his blood is discovered on the snowy bank of the Fleet River, Robert Hooke, the Curator of Experiments at the just-formed Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge, and his assistant Harry Hunt, are called in to explain such a ghastly finding—and whether it's part of a plot against the king. They soon learn it is not the first bloodless boy to have been discovered.
Meanwhile, that same morning Henry Oldenburg, the Secretary of the Royal Society, blows his brains out, and a disgraced Earl is released from the Tower of London, bent on revenge against the King, Charles II.
Wary of the political hornet’s nest they are walking into – and using scientific evidence rather than paranoia in their pursuit of truth – Hooke and Hunt must discover why the boy was murdered, and why his blood was taken.
The Bloodless Boy is an absorbing literary thriller that introduces two new indelible heroes to historical crime fiction. It is also a powerfully atmospheric recreation of the darkest corners of Restoration London, where the Court and the underworld seem to merge, even as the light of scientific inquiry is starting to emerge …
Set in 1678 London, Lloyd's stunning debut and series launch makes the complex politics of the time feel immediate while integrating them into an engrossing whodunit. Sir Edmund Bury Godfrey, Justice of Peace for Westminster, tasks Harry Hunt, Observator of the Royal Society of London for the Improving of Natural Knowledge, and Harry's former boss, the real-life Robert Hooke, Curator of Experiments of the Royal Society, with uncovering what led to the bloodless body of a three-year-old boy being abandoned near the Fleet River. The corpse had four puncture wounds, each with neat writing next to it. Hunt learns that another boy was found in similar circumstances a week earlier and must determine the deaths' possible connection to the suicide of Henry Oldenburg, Secretary of the Royal Society; a rumored Catholic plot to assassinate the king; and messages employing the Red Cipher, last used during the English Civil Wars. Evocative prose, subtle characterizations, and an ingenious solution to a legendary real-life unsolved murder elevate this above most other historical mysteries. Fans of Iain Pears's An Instance of the Fingerpost will be enthralled.