ABOUT THE BOOK
Part Wolf Hall, part The Name of the Rose, a riveting new literary thriller set in Restoration London, with a cast of real historic figures, set against the actual historic events and intrigues of the returned king and his court …
The City of London, 1678. New Year’s Day. Twelve years have passed since the Great Fire ripped through the City. Eighteen since the fall of Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of a King. London is gripped by hysteria, and rumours of Catholic plots and sinister foreign assassins abound.
When the body of a young boy drained of his blood is discovered on the snowy bank of the Fleet River, Robert Hooke, the Curator of Experiments at the just-formed Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge, and his assistant Harry Hunt, are called in to explain such a ghastly finding—and whether it’s part of a plot against the king. They soon learn it is not the first bloodless boy to have been discovered.
Meanwhile, that same morning Henry Oldenburg, the Secretary of the Royal Society, blows his brains out, and a disgraced Earl is released from the Tower of London, bent on revenge against the King, Charles II.
Wary of the political hornet’s nest they are walking into – and using scientific evidence rather than paranoia in their pursuit of truth – Hooke and Hunt must discover why the boy was murdered, and why his blood was taken.
The Bloodless Boy is an absorbing literary thriller that introduces two new indelible heroes to historical crime fiction. It is also a powerfully atmospheric recreation of the darkest corners of Restoration London, where the Court and the underworld seem to merge, even as the light of scientific inquiry is starting to emerge …
My head is still spinning from the rush that this story gave me. I have read historical novels before, but none with the depth of knowledge that this author goes into. The research must have been all-consuming as he writes with such passion, and reading it becomes compulsive.
It is New Years’ day 1678. Londoners’ the last twenty years have gone through horrendous times. The great fire of London and the end of Cromwell but there are still plots and scheming that make everyone wary of even close friends. King Charles II is very vulnerable from many avenues, so unusual crimes set alarm bells ringing where the king is concerned.
When the body of a young boy of only two or three is found on the riverbank drained of all his blood, it conjures a terrible sight. Robert Hooke, the Curator of Experiments at the just-formed Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge, and his assistant Harry Hunt, are sent for. From the start, the case is complicated, but before the day is out, a suicide takes place that cannot just be a coincidence.
The story goes off in so many different directions, with clues in complicated coding, a royal connection and additional deaths of other young boys, all with the same gruesome endings. The city of London is becoming unsettled as rumours as to whom is behind these killings ripples through the street.
I liked the in-depth investigation mixed with a balance of heart-pounding chases, rescues and the personal side of how it affected the people involved. There are some very touching chapters and a true sense of helplessness at times that made me cringe at what now seems like barbaric medical cures.
I have to admit there were times that I dropped back a couple of chapters and read them again. There are a lot of characters to remember. I did not want to lose track of who was who. I felt by doing that, I got more out of this story. It will be one of those books that I will enjoy reading again in the future too. There is a listing of who is who at the beginning of the book, which helps tremendously.
It is a gripping book, with tremendous, fascinating detail of life in this era with a riveting storyline that will knock you for six! Highly recommended.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert Lloyd, the son of parents who worked in the British Foreign Office, grew up in South London, Innsbruck, and Kinshasa. He studied for a Fine Art degree, starting as a landscape painter, but it was while studying for his MA degree in The History of Ideas that he first read Robert Hooke’s diary, detailing the life and experiments of this extraordinary man. After a 20-year career as a secondary school teacher, he has now returned to painting and writing. The Bloodless Boy is his debut novel. He is at work on a sequel. –This text refers to the hardcover edition.