Book Review: The Bear Pit by S.G Maclean

The Bear Pit by S.G Maclean

Author: S.G Maclean

Title: The Bear Pit

Publisher: Quercus

Date: 2019

Plot: London, 1656: Captain Seeker is back in the city, on the trail of an assassin preparing to strike at the heart of Oliver Cromwell’s Republic

The Commonwealth is balanced on a knife edge. Royalists and disillusioned former Parliamentarians have united against Oliver Cromwell, now a king in all but name. Three conspirators, representing these factions, plan to assassinate the Lord Protector, paving the way back to the throne for Charles Stuart once and for all.
Captain Damian Seeker, meanwhile, is preoccupied by the horrifying discovery in an illegal gambling den of the body of a man ravaged by what is unmistakably a bear. Yet the bears used for baiting were all shot when the sport was banned by Cromwell. So where did this fearsome creature come from, and why would someone use it for murder?

With Royalist-turned-Commonwealth-spy Thomas Faithly tracking the bear, Seeker investigates its victim. The trail leads from Kent’s coffee house on Cornhill, to a German clockmaker in Clerkenwell, to the stews of Southwark, to the desolate Lambeth Marshes where no one should venture at night.

When the two threads of the investigation begin to join, Seeker realises just what – and who – he is up against. The Royalists in exile have sent to London their finest mind and greatest fighter, a man who will stop at nothing to ensure the Restoration. Has Seeker finally met his match?

Book review: The Bear Pit by S.G Maclean

I received The Bear Pit from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Seeker | The Black Friar | Destroying Angel

I’m not going to lie: I squealed when I received the invitation to review The Bear Pit. You know I’ve adored the first three books and I was so excited to get back to Seeker and his world of mysteries – especially as I was a bad fan and didn’t realise this book was coming.

This book made me laugh, made me cry and left me with all the emotions that I didn’t know what to do with. I can’t recommend it enough.

After learning about Seeker’s past in Destroying Angel, we return to London this time, with schemes and plots to stop and Lord Protectors to save. Before I get into the plot itself, I wanted to make a comment on how much I loved seeing Seeker’s past and future joining together. His daughter is in London, even if he can’t openly acknowledge her. But so is his lost love, Maria. Their differences are holding them apart but their few meetings make it clear neither has succeeded with moving on.

Damien Seeker is one of my favourite characters. He has a ruthlessness that make men fear him but you cannot fail to notice his big heart or the lengths he will go to in order to protect those he cares for – even while he denies he feels anything. It might be the times the series is set in, but I’ve never seen a character fit the word honourable as much as Seeker.

An image of the figures he whittled as he and Manon spoke, the family she said he didn’t know he was making, came into his head. He let out a heavy sigh.

Returning to London might meant the reappearance of the favourites from the first couple of books. But Yorkshire isn’t finished with Seeker yet and characters follow him from the north. Seeing those two worlds collide – and Seeker attempting to straddle the two – made for entertaining reading.

The plot is certainly more intense than previous books. It follows the same style: two seemingly unrelated crimes take place but links between the two start to appear as the plot progresses and just when you think Seeker is going in circles, he makes a break through that changes everything.

There was far more personal danger to the characters this time. Ingolby is lucky to survive the book after not one, but two attempts on his life. As for Seeker himself… well, without giving anything away, I did mention that this book made me cry. Enough said.

The apparent disconnection of events meant the pace is gentle despite the underlying tension, until the different elements come together and then you’ll find yourself unable to put it down. There are fights, chases, battles, bears, dogs, assassins… Seeker always finds himself in the midst of danger, but this one certainly eclipses the other books.

A tense, action-packed novel full of lovable characters and villains never who you think they are. Returning favourites, and foes, gives you the sense that Seeker’s world isn’t as big as he feels it is. I can’t recommend this series enough, whether or not you’re a fan of historical fiction. If you’re looking for a solid mystery, this is it.

Shelve it | Buy it

A Rambling Reviewer

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13 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bear Pit by S.G Maclean

  1. I remember reading your review of the 3rd book, and it’s nice to know that this book lives up to the expectations of the series. I do like that there is the mystery element to this series & that the book is action packed.

    Tales of Belle

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fascinating time period to set a book – I’ve seen books set before and after this period, but you don’t often see many during Cromwell’s rule. I can only assume that adds an extra element of challenge and tension to the narrative because of the restrictive laws which were imposed at that time. I’m so glad you’re enjoying this series, it sounds really unique and a lot of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Bear Pit sounds like so much fun to read and so tense. I should get into this series as well. I really love it when someone gets to review a book they are really enthusiastic about. It always shows in the reviews ♥


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