Saturday, 8 February 2020

Hist Fic Saturday ~ Shadows of Hemlock by K M Pohlkamp

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back to ...Tudor England

Filles Verte Publshing

My thanks to the publishers and author for my ecopy of this book

Regret is a bitter poison.

In a desperate grasp for prestige, Aselin Gavrell betrayed her master to the execution block for the advantage of the onyx pendant now around her neck. Shelter from her master’s crimes comes with an unwanted allegiance and a list of innocents to murder. But the Guild of poison assassins will not be so easily pacified and charge Aselin to develop an antidote as retribution of her betrayal.

Unprepared for the independence she craved, Aselin is forced to seek aid from a fickle contact who wants only one means of payment: a ruby ring with a mare’s head. To save herself from her master’s fate, Aselin must navigate a growing list of debtors eager to toss her aside and confront her guilt in this fast-paced tale of growth and redemption in Tudor England.

What did I think about it..

Regret is indeed a bitter poison and those who have read the first book, Apricots and Wolfsbane will be just as fascinated to catch up with this sequel in the strange and deadly world of the Tudor poisoner. The grim world of studied assassinations comes, once again, to macabre life in a story that abounds in intrigue and treachery.

In Shadows of Hemlock, Aselin Gavrell, no longer the apprentice under the tutelage of her master, is hungry to take the position of Master Poisoner with the notorious Guild of Assassins, but ambition comes with a heavy price tag and Aselin soon discovers that trying to placate one set of devious operators opens her activities up to scrutiny from others who seek to do harm. Aselin is an interesting character and now that she is no longer under the shadow of her master, we get to know more about her, and get to observe how she interacts with the other intriguing characters who flit into and out of the story.

I’ve really enjoyed spending time with Aselin and it’s especially interesting to observe how she has grown in confidence now that she is in control of her own destiny, but, as ever, there are some dark shadows that follow her which this gives the story its intriguing edginess.

The darker side of Tudor England is beautifully explored, and the author, very cleverly, brings the era to life in quite a unique way, exploring the history, whilst, at the same time, bringing together all the complicated strands of a fascinating story of power, rivalry, and deadly poison.

Recommended: Definitely ✅ but probably better to read Apricots and Wolfsbane first in order to appreciate this sequel.

K.M. Pohlkamp is a blessed wife to the love of her life, proud mother of two young children, and a Mission Control flight controller. A Cheesehead by birth, she now resides in Texas for her day job and writes to maintain her sanity. Her other hobbies include ballet and piano. K.M. has come a long way from the wallpaper and cardboard books she created as a child. Her debut novel, Apricots and Wolfsbane, was published October 2017 by Filles Vertes Publishing and was designated an Editors’ Choice Selection by the Historical Novel Society, among other accolades.

Twitter @KMPohlkamp

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