This review was originally posted on Goodreads July 16 2011
This historical thriller, whose protagonist is inspired by a real 16th-century doctor named Simon Furman, is full of period detail that is reflective of the political intrigues of the times. On May Day 1592, after a night of revelry and a day tending the sick, Forman falls into bed utterly exhausted. Soon afterward, he is woken by a man on his doorstep who is dying from a sword thrust, and the next morning Forman is summoned to Whitehall, accused of harboring enemies of the state. To prove his innocence, he agrees to journey to Edinburgh on a secret spying mission. But once he enters the borders between Scotland and England—where the bloodthirsty Reivers vow a life for a life—he realizes that death is stalking him. As one gruesome murder closely follows another, Dr. Forman must act quickly to identify a ruthless killer before his own life is put in jeopardy.
I bought this book, surprisingly, in the Tourist Information in Oban, when we were on holiday there. I’d forgotten to take a book with me and thought this sounded interesting. Boy was it a good choice.
I’m a big fan of historical novels, especially thrillers. I was utterly amazed that it was inspired by a real life doctor, Simon Furman.
I thought the story, the execution of it and the characters were all of a very high standard, very engaging and intriguing. I was curious the whole way through, and consumed the book in just a few days. The Scotland/England theme, and how it focused on the Borders at such a time, is completely engaging and provides enough chaos, trials and murder for one book, all on its own.
Overall, a brilliant, intriguing story that mixes real life events and inspiration with an engaging, murder mystery of a story.
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