Tuesday 28 December 2021

The Wrecking Storm (Thomas Tallant Mysteries Book 2) - Michael Ward



The poisonous dispute pushing King Charles and Parliament towards Civil War is reaching the point of no return.

Law and order in the city are collapsing as Puritan radicals demand more concessions from the King. Bishops and lords are attacked in the streets as the Apprentice Boys run amok. Criminal gangs use the disorder to mask their activities while the people of London lock their doors and pray for deliverance.

No one is immune from the contagion. Two Jesuit priests are discovered in hiding and brutally executed - and soon the family of spice merchant Thomas Tallant is drawn into the spiral of violence. Tallant's home is ransacked, his warehouse raided and his sister seized by kidnappers.

Thomas struggles to discover who is responsible, aided by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, a devotee of science, maths and tobacco in equal measure. Together they enter a murky world of court politics, street violence, secret codes and poisoned letters, and confront a vicious gang leader who will stop at nothing to satisfy his greed.

Can Elizabeth use her skills to unpick the mass of contradictory evidence before the Tallants are ruined – both as a business and a family?

And as the fight for London between King and Parliament hurtles to its dramatic conclusion, can the Tallants survive the personal and political maelstrom?

What did I think?

The Wrecking Storm is the sequel to the outstanding historical fiction novel, Rags of Time, that I thoroughly enjoyed (you can read my review here).  Whilst you could read the The Wrecking Storm as a standalone, I'd recommend reading the Thomas Tallant Mysteries in order to fully understand the characters (and also because Rags of Time is a mighty fine read).

Michael Ward effortlessly weaves real history into his fictional story so you get a little history lesson as well as a fast-paced mystery and adventure.  If you read historical fiction, you'll know that it's rarely considered fast-paced but somehow The Wrecking Storm is just that and I read it over a period of 48 hours; it's so difficult to put it down once you pick it up.

The scene is painted so vividly that I felt fully immersed in the dangerous and dirty 17th century streets of London.  England is on the brink of Civil War and my kindle was virtually vibrating with the underlying tension of the population that came across beautifully in the wonderfully descriptive writing.  

I'm purposefully avoiding mentioning the fantastic storyline so I don't inadvertently reveal any spoilers, suffice to say it's a good 'un!  There's actually quite a lot going on in the book which kept me entertained and enthralled from beginning to end.

Filled with danger, tension, suspicion and adventure, The Wrecking Storm is a fast-paced mystery and historical fiction of the highest quality.  So very highly recommended and I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series.

Many thanks to Michael Ward for sending me a digital ARC to read and review; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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