The Saracen's Mark

by S. W. Perry


Betrayal has many guises... London, 1593: Five years on from the Armada and England is taking its first faltering steps towards a future as a global power. Nicholas Shelby - reluctant spy and maverick physician - and his companion Bianca Merton are settling into a life on Bankside. But in London there is always a plot afoot... Robert Cecil, the Queen's spymaster, once again recruits Nicholas to embark on a dangerous undercover mission that will take him to the back alleys of Marrakech in search of a missing informer. However, while Nicholas hunts for the truth across the seas, plague returns once more to London - ravaging the streets and threatening those dearest to him. Can Bianca and Nicholas' budding relationship weather the threats of pestilence and conspiracy? And will Nicholas survive the dangers of his mission in a hostile city to return safely home? ________________________ Praise for The Jackdaw Mysteries, a CWA Dagger finalist series 'S. W. Perry is one of the best' The Times 'No-one is better than S. W. Perry at leading us through the squalid streets of London in the sixteenth century' Andrew Swanston 'S. W. Perry's ingeniously plotted novels have become my favourite historical crime series' S. G. MacLean

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The third book (to date) in the Nicholas Shelby series, this is a sixteenth-century spy romp split between Marrakech and London. The settings are clearly and atmospherically created. There’s plenty of murder, plague etc in the plot, but it seems strangely slow-moving – it really does take a long time to get going, and I’m not sure that the wait’s worth it. The back story, in terms of previous adventures and pre-existing relationships, is referred to consistently; this would be fine if you have read them and while it was, of course, completely possible to work out what had happened I think that it would have had a lot more emotional impact with a more detailed understanding. It just left me a bit cold.

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