The Thief Taker
By C.S. Quinn
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Published: Sept. 9, 2014
The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask...
When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London – and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.
Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.
In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.
Charlie Tuesday, a thief taker decides to take on the case of a gruesomely murdered woman who was killed as part of a ritual in a witch’s spell. He knows there will be more so he’ll need to be fast. But plague is raging through the city and people are rapidly dying everywhere. Can Charlie find the murderer before the evidence is lost to the plague?
The Thief Taker was a fascinating look at the time in London and surrounding area during the plague. The beliefs in what would keep you safe from the disease and the cleanliness of individuals in itself was fascinating. The story woven through that told masterfully by the author really brought the story to life.
I really enjoyed the author’s way of telling the story. Sometimes the story follows the aristocracy who is considering withdrawing from London to avoid the plague, sometimes the plague doctor who is committing the atrocities (whose identity is unknown) and sometimes Charlie and Marie who is assisting him. The writing is not hard to follow, nor does it leave the reader confused. It is well-laid out.
The characters are well-developed. We learn enough of their history to understand why they act as they do yet not so much as to interfere with the story that is being told. There are some things you can predict about the characters, but other things continue to remain hidden and indeed are part of the plot twists.
There are many twists in the plot in this fascinating book. I was stunned by some of them and thought they were very cleverly done. Don’t take anything for granted in this book. Nothing is as it seems necessarily.
I asked the author how it was possible that if the plague was so contagious that Charlie did not catch it when he landed in a boatload full of dead plague bodies. She informed me that "approximately one third of the people exposed to the plague survived it. Some even nursed relatives etc. so it is possible to be exposed and not contract it. That's just the nature of viral exposure."
The Thief Taker was an excellent adult read with some adult language and adult scenes since mistresses and prostitutes were very much a part of that time. However, I gave this book 5 stars out of 5 for the quality of the writing brilliance of the story.
Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.
About the Author:
C.S. Quinn is a travel and lifestyle journalist for The Times, The Guardian and The Mirror, alongside many magazines. Prior to this, Quinn's background in historic research won prestigious postgraduate funding from the British Art Council. Quinn pooled these resources, combining historical research with first-hand experiences in far-flung places to create The Thief Taker's London.