It's 1727. Tom Hawkins is damned if he's going to follow in his father's footsteps and become a country parson. Not for him a quiet life of prayer and propriety. His preference is for wine, women, and cards. But there's a sense of honor there too, and Tom won't pull family strings to get himself out of debt - not even when faced with the appalling horrors of London's notorious debtors' prison: The Marshalsea Gaol. Within moments of his arrival in the Marshalsea, Hawkins learns there's a murderer on the loose, a ghost is haunting the gaol, and that he'll have to scrounge up the money to pay for his food, bed, and drink. He's quick to accept an offer of free room and board from the mysterious Samuel Fleet-only to find out just hours later that it was Fleet's last roommate who turned up dead. Tom's choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder-or be the next to die.
©2014 Antonia Hodgson (P)2014 Tantor
"[Hodson] conjures up scenes of Dickensian squalor and marries them to a crackerjack plot, in her impressive first novel. . . . Hodgson makes the stench, as well as the despair, almost palpable." (Publishers Weekly)
Griping story, accurate historical look at London's debtor's prisons of the 18th Century.
A classic John Lee read - always at his best in this genre & time period. Brilliant performance of the many British accents.
I had been searching for new books narrated by John Lee - he is one of my favorite narrators - and found Marshalsea. I knew nothing about history of debtors prisons in England, so this book was educational as well as entertaining. The characters are well developed and believable. The author illuminates the complexity of human attachments and emotions, delivering a thoughtful description of inner "grayness" of souls. No one is perfect, every one is flawed in one way or another. I loved the book. It has a satisfying ending and the historical information is well researched.
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