Today, I’m exploring a mystery set in Cromwell’s time – not an era that I’ve had any experience reading before. New author; a new era; and new series – I’m looking forward to it. Keep reading for my review on The Seeker.
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Publisher: Quercus Books | Date: 2016 | Genre: Historical Fiction
Plot: London, 1654. Oliver Cromwell is at the height of his power and has declared himself Lord Protector. Yet he has many enemies, at home and abroad.
London is a complex web of spies and merchants, priests and soldiers, exiles and assassins. One of the web’s most fearsome spiders is Damian Seeker, agent of the Lord Protector. No one knows where Seeker comes from, who his family is, or even his real name. All that is known of him for certain is that he is utterly loyal to Cromwell, and that nothing can be long hidden from him.
In the city, coffee houses are springing up, fashionable places where men may meet to plot and gossip. Suddenly they are ringing with news of a murder. John Winter, hero of Cromwell’s all-powerful army, is dead, and the lawyer, Elias Ellingworth, found standing over the bleeding body, clutching a knife.
Yet despite the damning evidence, Seeker is not convinced of Ellingworth’s guilt. He will stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice: and Seeker knows better than any man where to search.
I received The Seeker from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The Seeker Review
I enjoy historical fiction but have not come across anything set in the Cromwell era before The Seeker by S.G MacLean. Now, I am hoping to discover some more and have the next in the series on reserve from the library: I enjoyed this book!
The Seeker is a man of mystery. He has a reputation that has everyone scurrying out of his way. Customers flee from a coffee house after hearing he has visited for fear what he might discover. But despite his ominous reputation, Damian Seeker has a true and loyal heart.
The majority of the narration follows Seeker as he attempts to protect Cromwell and discover plots that threaten the unstable stability after the war. He is quick-witted and ruthless against those who cause him trouble. But he is also honourable; he understands why an enemy chose to die rather than submit. He doesn’t seek to humiliate those who oppose him, doesn’t want glory for the plots he uncovers. Even with his superiors telling him to drop it, Seeker is determined to find the truth.
The whereabouts of the paintings were demanded through a series of doorways and stairwells until they reached those charged with fetching them. `Forgets that his horse is twice as fast as everybody else’s, that people get out of his way double quick. Doesn’t live in our world, the Seeker,` muttered one soldier to another.The Seeker by S.G MacLean
I instantly liked Seeker as a character. He is a powerful man, in a position that could easily be corrupt. But even when thinking he has caught a killer red-handed, Seeker doesn’t look for the simple answer. He knows something else is going on, and refuses to let an innocent man hang.
There are a number of secondary characters as well. Grace Kent is likeable, but then takes a back seat for the majority of the plot. Anne Winter is a mystery; I was convinced she was up to no good. I was right, and I was wrong. She was truly a deep and complex character. Maria was my favourite– she had no qualms about standing up to Seeker and reveals she is not as naïve as her brother would like to believe.
As for the men… Samuel was lovely – the type of uncle everyone wants. George Tavener lacked something – he didn’t seem to have a spine for the majority of the book. Elias shows how far he would go for love. However, it was Seeker himself, and the ladies, that stole it for me though.
The plot progressed at a steady pace – some moments saw the tension increase dramatically before it eased back, only to flare up again. Intrigued as to how events would play out, I was engrossed from start to finish.
It’s fair to say there are a few twists in this novel. It’s also fair to say that I ended up gaping at the page when some were revealed – I certainly did not see them coming! The fact that I remained gripped shows the quality of MacLean’s writing – I didn’t want to put it down.
After a chapter or two, I was immersed in the time-period and swept up in the drama. A gripping book with a strong plot and interesting characters: I’d definitely recommend this series.
A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Does this sound like your kind of book? Have you read anything from this era?
Also in the series: