“Impeccably researched and astonishingly atmospheric,” this historic thriller set Georgian London “is a truly spellbinding tale” (The Guardian).
London, 1727. A historical crime novel of “scenic intrigue” (Vogue) starring Thomas Hawkins, a rakish scoundrel with a heart of gold. Tom Hawkins refuses to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a country parson. His preference is for wine, women, and cards. But there’s honor there too, and Tom won’t pull family strings to get himself out of debt—not even when faced with London’s notorious debtors’ prison. The Marshalsea Gaol is a world of its own, with simple rules: Those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of its ruthless governor and his cronies. The trouble is that Tom has never been good at following rules, even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the captain’s beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: to the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet. Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder—or be the next to die.
“A riveting, fast-paced story . . . Magnificent.” —Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author of The Watchmaker’s Hand
“[Hodson] conjures up scenes of Dickensian squalor and marries them to a crackerjack plot, in her impressive first novel.” —Publishers Weekly, starred Review
“The irrepressibly roguish Tom makes a winning hero.” —Booklist