Fire by CC Humphreys
|Fire by CC Humphreys|
|Category: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Pitman and Coke are back after the Great Plague to face the Great Fire. Yes, it may be 1666 but they have a lot on their hands, including the return of the anti-restoration Fifth Monarchists who want to kill more than just the monarch.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: May 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
Puritan/former Roundhead Pitman and former highwayman/Cavalier Captain William Coke have formed a deep respect for each other. Their first mission was to track down the Fifth Monarchists, an organisation out to avenge those who were found guilty and hanged for signing Charles I's death warrant. That was then, during the Great Plague. A mere year later, the Plague has lessened but the Fifth Monarchists are back, taking Pitman's and Coke's interventions personally. We therefore find our heroes defending themselves, their families, the monarch, and, on top of that, a new disaster is about to hit the capital.
Author, actor and swordsman CC Humphreys is back with another edge of the seat, up late at night historical thriller. First came Plague and now Fire introducing Pitman and Coke to more possible methods of death. Indeed, that much may not have changed, but other things have. (By the way, this does work as a stand-alone but you'd be missing so much if you missed the first book.)
Coke's beloved actress Sarah Chalker, while in love with William, is still going through the bereavement of losing her husband at the hands of the 'Fifths' last time. The complication for her is that she's also expecting Coke's baby, an eagerly anticipated event but one that may get in the way of her profession. On the good side, the equally good (well, sometimes good) Captain is putting a lovely surprise together for her but nothing ever goes quite the way he anticipates. Perhaps this will be different?
Meanwhile at the Pitman household there's also another little one on the way. Pitman may be more domesticated than Coke, but he has just as much to distract him.
The distraction comes in the form of arch baddie Man of Blood. If a name ever depicted a sinister profession that would be it. As for his day job, those of you who think puppets are a little scary will have more proof for your theory after this.
Again, as with all good historical fiction, we see the past linking with today in true history-will-repeat-if-ignored style. The Restoration in general is another era in which religious extremism spread fear, this time under the Christian label as practised by our unfriendly local wanna-be-regicides. For them 1666 is more than the year of the Fire of London (yes I know, they don't know about it for much of the book). It also contains three 6s and therefore reflects the number of the beast from the Book of Revelation. Much has been extrapolated from these biblical verses by amateur and professional theologians alike, but rarely are the extrapolations used to such chilling effect.
This history is deftly inserted between addictive swash buckle and peril as travel takes us further from London while the countdown to the conflagration in all its senses continues. Add to that banter and sardonic wit and it's easy to see why a new Coke and Pitman book is fast becoming something to anticipate with a smile as well as a slight shiver of fear… for their sakes.
Thank you to the good folks at Century for providing us with a copy for review.
Further Reading: If you've not read it already, please do try the exemplary Plague. If you enjoy a historical thriller, we also recommend the Victorian Constable Horton in Savage Magic or The Detective and the Devil, both by Lloyd Shepherd.
You can read more book reviews or buy Fire by CC Humphreys at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Fire by CC Humphreys at Amazon.com.
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