Summary

Winner of the 2015 CWA Endeavour Dagger for Historical Fiction.
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, coffeehouses 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 lawyer Elias Ellingworth is 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.
©2015 Shona MacLean (P)2016 WF Howes Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 10-12-16

A Dark-Cloaked Figure

The Seeker begins with Nicholas Camm's narration setting the perfect tone as Shona MacLean's grim and tense 1650s London and its inhabitants are brought to life by the text. He gives our lead, Damian Seeker just the right sense of underlying calm and omnipresent threat. Taken with the text the experience of this audiobook is one of well-researched authenticity and complex plotting. The slight downside is that with a plot that isn't the fastest paced you'll ever read and the quietly deliberate narration I did find a slightly languid feel to the production at times.

The setting is a fairly unusual one; Cromwell's Commonwealth was a strange and brief period in our history. This story shows maturity in that we don't get the usual approach of making one of the sides the "good" side. In MacLean's telling we see a terribly divided land with a populace that are scared, confused and angry. Neither Parliament nor King deserving of any great plaudits. Given that my personal younger history involved some very enjoyable time in the Sealed Knot's Eastern Association within the Middlesex Trayned Bandes I'm delighted she has avoided the usual cliches of glorified Royalists and nasty dull Roundheads.

Attention is required at the start as the various characters are introduced. It did feel a little disjointed early on but once Damian Seeker gets into his considerable stride in the atmospheric London surroundings things pick up and a very satisfying mystery thriller unfolds even if it does rely a little on coincidence. Seeker proves to be a character of significant nuance and depth while retaining an aura of mystery. Taken as a whole this is a very enjoyable first book to the series with plenty of scope for further development.

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11 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Clare on 15-07-18

Narration not as bad as some would have you believe

A good tale, well told and also very well narrated. To be fair, it takes a little while to settle in, but the characterisation suits the story well and the voices of each character are easy to differentiate. Well worth a listen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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