It’s 1581 and nineteen-year-old Thomas Walsingham, cousin of Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, is on yet another courier assignment. As a servant of the Queen, and employed by his powerful cousin, he’s expected to safely and discreetly deliver confidential information and diplomatic packages between the two capitals of England and France.
This time, however, his assignment is to safely escort a fussy, tardy, and annoying glove-maker from London to the French court in Paris. Their journey has only just begun when, in a sleazy tavern in Picardy, the glove-maker most inconveniently gets himself killed. The already-fraught journey turns into a nightmare.
Tom blunders from crisis to crisis, suffers terrible weather, dreadful roads, rogue soldier/bandits, an arrogant fellow-courier who constantly undermines him, more murders, secret ciphers, and that’s just for starters. Underpinning his many problems is the constant worry about what Sir Francis will say when he learns of Thomas’s mistakes and problems.
Will he be the next victim? Will he make it back to London before his enemies discredit him? And who’s the murderer?
If you like historical fiction and a rollicking murder mystery, try this. It was fun.
The only minor niggle I have is the author’s over-indulgent use of … instead of finishing a sentence. Occasional use is fine, but multiple times on a page distracted me at first, hence my rating of 4 stars. However, as I got engrossed in Tom’s woes, I stopped noticing.Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds
© Robyn Pearce