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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…


Dark, twisting and witty. Dripping with 18th century intrigue - from the slums to the palaces of London.
S D Sykes, author of PLAGUE LAND
Hodgson has again married immaculate research to the rip-roaring pace of the modern thriller and come up with a triumphant slice of historical fiction.
The Independent on Sunday
A rattling, rakish romp through Georgian London. More please!
William Ryan, author of The Constant Soldier
Hodgson has a knack for convincing dialogue that crackles with period cadence and flavour
Daily Mail
Something new in the world of historical crime fiction, with mesmerising detail and atmosphere
Financial Times
[A] rip-roaring historical thriller . . . I look forward to seeing what scurries out of the dark and grimy streets in Hodgson's next masterpiece.
Daily Express
A fast-paced adventure that places Hawkins amongst criminals, court intrigue and conspiracies.
Woman & Home
A terrific swash-and-buckle story set in grimy, rumbustious London streets, the pace and plot never flag, the detail is a revelation
Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail
Antonia Hodgson has a real feel for how people thought and spoke at the time - and God knows, that's a rare talent
Andrew Taylor, author of The Fires of London
Full of character, suspense and atmosphere.
Woman & Home
Any historical fiction enthusiast who isn't a Tom Hawkins fan, has probably just not read any yet
The Bookbag
This magnificent story with its multiple twists and turns, part social history with an informative afterword, an exploration of many faces of evil, with a genuine romantic hero and heroine, is a book to linger over
Crime Review
Hodgson shows the seamy underbelly of Georgian London, and does for this era what C.J. Sansom and Rory Clements have done for Tudor times
Historical Novel Society
A rip-roaring ride through Georgian London's back streets ...wonderfully atmospheric and entertaining
Good Housekeeping
At times Hodgson even rivals Dickens
Daily Express
A fun, twisting, shock-riddled masterpiece
The Bookbag
A lively plot, an engaging hero and a vividly recreated city with all its stench and pleasures. Great fun.
The Times
Georgian London in all its gritty reality seeps from the pages of this exciting historical mystery. Told in flashbacks, it has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader intrigued.
She is one of the most impressive practitioners of the historical crime genre.
Independent online
Tom Hawkins, The most engaging rake to appear in a historical novel since George Macdonald Fraser's Flashman. This is history brought brilliantly to stinking, screaming life.
Sunday Express
Historical fiction just doesn't get any better than this
Jeffrey Deaver
Intelligent and engrossing reading.
The Sunday Times