***ONE OF THE TIMES BEST HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS OF 2021***
‘One of the best debuts of the year’ – THE TIMES
‘As nimbly realised as by the genre’s master, Andrew Taylor’ – FINANCIAL TIMES
‘Black Drop is a joy from start to finish’ – ANDREW TAYLOR
***SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE MONTH***
This is the confession of Laurence Jago. Clerk. Gentleman. Reluctant spy.
July 1794, and the streets of London are filled with rumours of revolution. Political radical Thomas Hardy is to go on trial for treason, the war against the French is not going in Britain’s favour, and negotiations with the independent American colonies are on a knife edge.
Laurence Jago – clerk to the Foreign Office – is ever more reliant on the Black Drop to ease his nightmares. A highly sensitive letter has been leaked to the press, which may lead to the destruction of the British Army, and Laurence is a suspect. Then he discovers the body of a fellow clerk, supposedly a suicide.
Blame for the leak is shifted to the dead man, but even as the body is taken to the anatomists, Laurence is certain both of his friend’s innocence, and that he was murdered. But after years of hiding his own secrets from his powerful employers, and at a time when even the slightest hint of treason can lead to the gallows, how can Laurence find the true culprit without incriminating himself?
A thrilling historical mystery, perfect for readers of C.J. Sansom, Andrew Taylor, Antonia Hodgson and Laura Shepherd-Robinson.
‘A thrilling slice of pitch-dark historical fiction’ – EMMA STONEX
‘A gripping, intricate story of Georgian high politics’ – W.C. RYAN
‘This opium-fuelled gem is a murderous romp through the tangled roots of British democracy’ – JANICE HALLETT
‘A riveting political thriller. Gripping, moving, and utterly engaging’ – PHILIPPA EAST
‘Absolutely compelling, and so atmospheric I felt I was there’ – FRANCES QUINN
‘A sparkling evocation of a distant time. I loved it’ – TREVOR WOOD
‘An astounding debut novel, written with style and confidence’ – A.J. WEST
Historical crime fiction set in a teeming late eighteenth-century London, as nimbly realised as by the genre's master, Andrew Taylor. Foreign office clerk Laurence Jago is a reluctant spy involved in arcane skulduggery * Financial Times * Black Drop is a joy from start to finish. I particularly liked the glimpses of the grubby machinery of government from the inside, giving a real sense of the intrigues behind closed doors. Jago is a very sympathetic hero, with all his flaws, virtues and secrets, and Philpott made me want to smile and cheer -- Andrew Taylor, author of The Ashes of London This opium-fuelled gem is a murderous romp through the tangled roots of British democracy -- Janice Hallett, author of The Appeal A gripping, intricate story of Georgian high politics and low life. Leonora Nattrass's historical spy novel is top notch -- W.C. Ryan, author of A House of Ghosts A riveting political thriller, set at a fulcrum-point in global history. The setting is viscerally immersive and the characters spring to life from the page. This masterful narrative of deception, intrigue and heroism unfolds with compelling pace, wry humour and acute psychological observation. Gripping, moving and utterly engaging -- Philippa East, author of Little White Lies A thrilling slice of pitch-dark historical fiction, led by a superbly engaging narrator. Entertaining and deftly written, this gripping tale of murder and treachery on the smouldering streets of eighteenth-century London deserves to be huge -- Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters Nattrass writes so beautifully. Absolutely compelling, and so atmospheric I felt I was there, following Jago around the mean streets of eighteenth-century London -- Frances Quinn, author of The Smallest Man Lovers of historical thrillers have a treat in store. A splendid twisting tale of murder and espionage at the political heart of Georgian Britain -- Kate Griffin, author of Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders In Black Drop Leonora Nattrass has done that most dangerous thing: allowed fictional characters to mingle with real ones. I'm far too cowardly to do that in my writing, but she has pulled it off. Well written and well constructed, and Jago is a character readers will certainly want to follow -- Alix Nathan, author of The Warlow Experiment A sparkling evocation of a distant time which is remarkably similar to the current one. I loved it. The sights, smells and eccentricities of eighteenth-century Britain are so perfectly captured that if you'd told me this was one of Dickens' lost novels I'd have completely believed it. Other fictional worlds are going to seem a lot greyer in comparison -- Trevor Wood, author of The Man on the Street A wonderful, delicious treat of a book set in 1790s London. I was utterly transported to a world of political intrigue, spies and suspect deaths -- Louise Fein, author of People Like Us Leonora Nattrass brings Georgian London vividly to life in a delectable dose of secrets, lies and sinister skullduggery. Take care not to swallow this tincture of intrigue in a single sitting! -- D.V. Bishop, author of City of Vengeance A darkly atmospheric and utterly immersive tale. Black Drop is a thrilling, revolutionary ride through the coffee houses and committee rooms of a corrupt and fearful city. Grab your hat and pipe and keep your pistols at the ready! -- Miranda Malins, author of The Puritan Princess Superb. Nattrass convincingly recreates eighteenth-century London as a backdrop for spies, murders, and a skilful blend of historic and imagined characters. Vivid and fast-paced, it's an impressive achievement, and hugely enjoyable -- Guy Morpuss, author of Five Minds An astounding debut novel, written with style and confidence -- A.J. West, author of The Spirit Engineer Full of political intrigue and fascinating characters, this is a highly enjoyable read -- Neema Shah, author of Koloko Hill A dark and intriguing historical thriller. So immersive and fantastically written! -- Liv Matthews, author of The Prank
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