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Publisher's Summary

Rider Sandman, having fought Napoleon in the French wars, expected to lead the life of an English country gentleman. But now, two years after Waterloo, his family is impoverished, his name is disgraced, and he has been forced to relinquish the woman he loves from her obligation to marry him. Desperate to earn money, he accepts the job of being the government's Investigator: an official who discovers whether petitions for mercy sent by condemned criminals should be granted. His first case concerns a portrait painter who is due to hang for murder in a week's time, and the government makes it clear that they want the verdict confirmed.

But Rider Sandman, whose qualifications for the post are nonexistent, discovers that the painter is almost certainly innocent and, as he peels back the layers of a corrupt penal system, he finds himself pitted against some of the wealthiest and most ruthless men in Regency England who want to keep the truth hidden.

Don't miss the rest of Bernard Cornwell's literary masterpieces.
©2002 Bernard Cornwell; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Traditional historical mystery readers should cheer." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Peggy
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 12-25-07

Awesome

At first I thought Oh No!!!! Bernard has written a lemon but after what seemed to me a slow start it was terrific all the way especially when you decide you know who the killer is and at almost the end you find out whether you are right or not :) Thank you again Mr Cornwell for a well written interesting novel Hopefully he will write a sequel to it

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fine Historical Escape

The prolific Mr. Cornwell has created another set of intriguing circumstances and captivating characters. This one hasn't yet spawned sequels, but it is worthy of doing so.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 08-27-11

Gallows Thief

This is a bit of a different book for Cornwell. It is interesting to note how our justice system has improved since those days. The sights and smells of the City of London post Napoleonic was as if I was there. The reader James Frain did a good job. This is the first book I have heard him read. Lots of suspense and action even if there was none of Cornwell's famous battle scenes. I wonder if this is a beginning of a new series.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent narration and story

Audio quality is less than desirable though. Still, wonderfully entertaining. I recommend this to anyone that enjoys a good thriller/mystery

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Historical Mystery

Would you listen to Gallows Thief again? Why?

The slow start made me think that I downloaded a lemon. When the book picked up, I was hooked!

I would listen to it again while I'm knitting just to hear James Frain cursing :D

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ryder because he's so full of grit.

What does James Frain bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

James Frain used different voices for the characters. It added interest to the story and it was so much fun to listen to. I was easier for me to visualize different characters.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were definite funny moments in this book. Some of the characters are just so sarcastic.

Any additional comments?

I have to find more James Frain narrations.

  • Overall

Chocolate for the Brain

Chocolate for the brain puts you into an easy, non-thinking mood. It's romance fantasy. Big, passionate, honorable hero saves lives and gets the girl at the end. Good for a cross-country flight.
Problem with the reader; it may be my hearing, but I thought he kept calling the hero "Simon" not Ryland.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful