Spring, 1728. A young, well-dressed man is dragged through the streets of London to the gallows at Tyburn. The crowds jeer and curse as he passes, calling him a murderer. He tries to remain calm. His name is Tom Hawkins and he is innocent. Somehow he has to prove it, before the rope squeezes the life out of him. It is, of course, all his own fault. He was happy with Kitty Sparks. Life was good. He should never have told the most dangerous criminal in London that he was 'bored and looking for adventure'. He should never have offered to help Henrietta Howard, the king's mistress, in her desperate struggles with a brutal husband. And most of all, he should never have trusted the witty, calculating Queen Caroline. She has promised him a royal pardon if he holds his tongue but then again, there is nothing more silent than a hanged man. Based loosely on actual events, Antonia Hodgson's new novel is both a sequel to The Devil in the Marshalsea and a standalone historical mystery. From the gilded cage of the Court to the wicked freedoms of the slums, it reveals a world both seductive and deadly.
And it continues the rake's progress of Tom Hawkins - assuming he can find a way to survive the noose...(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton
Antonia Hodgson was born and grew up in Derby and studied English at the University of Leeds. Her debut novel, THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA, won the CWA Historical Dagger in 2014 and was shortlisted for the John Creasey First Novel award. In the US, Publishers Weekly named it one of the top 10 Mystery/Thriller titles of the year. She was first introduced to the early Georgians while taking 'A' level History. Unfortunately the course focused almost exclusively on George II's ministerial reshuffles, a subject even George II found staggeringly dull. It was only later, on discovering Hogarth, The Beggar's Opera and Moll Flanders, that she became fascinated by an often-neglected period of British history. Her favourite quote about London in the 1720s comes from a disapproving Swiss traveller, who complained that 'debauch runs wild with an unblushing countenance'. Antonia lives in London, where she works as an editor.