Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Royalist by S J Deas

The Royalist is the first in a new series of historical crime novels from a bestselling fantasy author. The fate of William Falkland; farmer and soldier in the King’s army seems to be sealed. He awaits the hangman’s pleasure in Newgate prison far from his West Country home and family. He is finally taken from the prison, to his surprise, not to his death but to a meeting with Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell promises to spare Falkland if he will turn investigator for him and travel to the New Model Army’s winter camp where a number of young boys have died in mysterious circumstances. Deas writes at a furious pace and we are soon caught up the mystery of the young men’s deaths. However it is his wonderful description and his creation of a powerfully charged atmosphere that really capture the reader; the sights, smells and the freezing cold of a snow bound village, the claustrophobic feeling of a town that has been invaded, the fear of the local people, the hunger of the scrawny barefoot children, the arrogance of the soldiers who have destroyed churches, thrown people out of their homes and who now resent questions being asked by a King’s man. Falkland is aided in his investigation by his landlady Kate and a constant air of menace pervades the narrative. I look forward to many more of Falkland’s investigations. A perfect read for fans of Shona MacLean and C.J. Sansom. Published by Headline The Royalist is out now.This review originally appeared on

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