Thursday, 23 February 2017

Review ~ The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott


32194583
Sceptre
February 23 2017

What's it all about...

This is the tale of Edgware Bess, related in her own words, and a darker narrative for those that would look a little closer.

A hidden history that must be told in secret of lives too scandalous even for the Newgate Calendar.

And of love lost, which is the saddest story of them all.


My thoughts about the book...


Arriving in London, Elizabeth Lyon is assaulted on all sides by those who would, given half a chance, exploit her to the fullest measure. Hoping to entice naive country girls, procuresses, lurk in the confines of the city's deepest corners and hunt in dark shadows just waiting to pounce on their next innocent victim. And thus, begins the metamorphosis of country girl, Elizabeth Lyon, into the notorious prostitute and petty criminal, 'Edgware Bess'. With her sharp introduction into Mother Breedlove's Vaulting School, Bess’s initiation into the brothels and flash world of Romeville is swift and uncompromising.

What then follows is the narrated tale of Bess' introduction into a lively criminal underclass, of her downward spiral into a world of thievery, and of her association with the thief-takers, bung-nippers, culls and coves who loiter around the brothels and molly-houses of the parish known as the Hundreds of Drury. The colourful characters who make up this world are, without doubt, a debauched and dangerous bunch who operate within their own unique moral code, and, always, with an eye on the main chance.

It is obvious that the author has done a great deal of research and cleverly interweaves fictional alongside factual characters. The adept use of Romeville’s unique flash language takes some getting used, but, thank goodness, there is a detailed glossary at the back of the book, and all is expressed with a ready wit and a great understanding of time and place.

The Fatal Tree is a compelling and realistic account of living life in the underbelly of Regency London society.  There is darkness to the narrative which is reflected in the imagery and sensations evoked, and the characters, whilst not always particularly likeable, express such a worldly weariness that you can’t help but be moved emotionally by their plight.




Best Read With... a visit to Moll's coffee house, and a dish of coffee liberally laced with brandy...



About the Author


Jake Arnott - Author
Jake Arnott burst onto the literary scene with his debut novel, The Long Firm, a cult hit that has sold over a quarter of a million copies and was subsequently made into a BAFTA nominated BBC TV series.

The Fatal Tree is the authors first foray into historical fiction and is published  today, 23rd February 2017.


More about the Author can be found on his website by clicking here








My thanks to Sceptre and Bookbridgr for my copy of The Fatal Tree



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Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffa and I appreciate your interest.