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The Fire Court: A gripping historical…
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The Fire Court: A gripping historical thriller from the bestselling author… (udgave 2019)

af Andrew Taylor (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1446150,048 (3.79)15
From No.1 bestselling author Andrew Taylor comes the sequel to the phenomenally successful The Ashes of London. Somewhere in the soot-stained ruins of Restoration London, a killer has gone to ground. The Great Fire has ravaged London, wreaking destruction and devastation wherever its flames spread. Now, guided by the incorruptible Fire Court, the city is slowly rebuilding, but times are volatile and danger is only ever a heartbeat away. James Marwood, son of a traitor, is thrust into this treacherous environment when his ailing father claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder? Determined to uncover the truth, Marwood turns to the one person he can trust Cat Lovett, the daughter of a despised regicide. Marwood has helped her in the past. Now it?s her turn to help him. But then comes a third death and Marwood and Cat are forced to confront a vicious and increasingly desperate killer whose actions threaten the future of the city itself.… (mere)
Medlem:lespotiers
Titel:The Fire Court: A gripping historical thriller from the bestselling author of The Ashes of London: Book 2 (James Marwood & Cat Lovett)
Forfattere:Andrew Taylor (Forfatter)
Info:HarperCollins (2019), 464 pages
Samlinger:Fiction/literature, Dit bibliotek, Skal læses
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Fire Court af Andrew Taylor

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This is the second installment of a historical crime fiction series set in 1660s London. The first book began in September 1666, during London’s Great Fire. This second novel takes place eight months after the first, in 1667.

In this book we learn about the Fire Court, which was created by the British Parliament to resolve disputes arising from the 1666 Great Fire of London. Who was responsible for the rebuilding costs: the landlords or tenants? Who would be awarded contracts to rebuild, and on what basis? The Fire Court was given exceptional powers to settle all such disputes, and because of this, the possibilities for bribery and corruption were manifold.

James Marwood, the fictional protagonist, worked in the service of two [actual historical] masters. One was William Chiffinch, Keeper of the King’s Private Closet. Chiffinch was the closest of all King Charles II’s advisors and his influence at court was said to have been incalculable. Chiffinch called upon Marwood to investigate dicey matters that happened in London and in which the king was taking an interest.

The second was Joseph Williamson, Undersecretary to Lord Arlington, Secretary of State for the South and one of the King’s most powerful ministers. Williamson, who also figures largely in this series, is said to have made himself indispensable to Arlington, due to his enormous capacity for hard work, much of which is done by the fictional Marwood. Williamson was also involved with the foundation of the London Gazette in 1665; Marwood handles many of the Gazette duties as well.

Marwood, increasingly caught between the sometimes competing demands of the two ambitious and powerful men, observed:

“There are no friends at Whitehall. [The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs from 1530 until 1698.] Only allies and enemies. Among the great, power ebbs and flows according to their conjunctions and oppositions. And the rest of us are tossed about in the current, helpless to direct our course, let alone navigate our way to safety.”

Marwood was asked to look into a murder that seemed related to a case due to come before the Fire Court, a competition to develop Dragon Yard, which remains a popular residential and commercial area in London to this day. Two entrepreneurs were competing for the contract to redevelop the area after the fire, and both had influential friends and enemies. Catherine Lovett, an acquaintance of Marwood’s, also became involved because her employer, Simon Hakesby, was representing one of the parties in the matter. Cat and Marwood seemed fated to be drawn together, and once again collaborated in ferreting out what was going on as more bodies start piling up.

As before, Marwood understood that he took orders from people “who preferred not know precisely how their wishes were carried out, especially beforehand . . . .”

Evaluation: This series has much to offer in terms of interesting historical details as well as some page-turning tense and dangerous moments for the characters. I don’t believe the books do well as standalones, but it is an entertaining series, and worth reading in order. ( )
  nbmars | Aug 27, 2020 |
Seven months after the Great Fire of London there are signs of regeneration in the capital, despite the large number of refugees who have lost everything. To address the urgent matter of rebuilding, the government has set up the Fire Court, which settles disputes between freeholders and leaseholders. Prime locations are very much in demand, and large amounts of money are involved in property speculation.

James Marwood's father becomes entangled in the affairs of the Fire Court when he happens to chance on the body of a woman in one of the chambers of Clifford's Inn, where the Court resides. The next day he is run over by a wagon on busy Fleet Street – but was it truly an accident? James begins to investigate. During his investigations he renews his acquaintance with Catherine Lovett, the daughter of an infamous Regicide, now going by the name of Jane Hakesby, and her master, the surveyor Simon Hakesby. But a ruthless killer doesn't shy away from ensuring that certain mouths are shut for ever, and James and Cat are in danger of paying with their lives.

While I thought that the first volume in the series, The Ashes of London was somewhat lacklustre, I enjoyed this second volume more. Even though it still relied on an unrealistic degree of coincidence in my opinion, the characterisation was much more developed and the end result more convincing. The improved characterisation was especially in evidence in the character of James Marwood, who I felt was rather pale and passive in the first instalment and here becomes much more a character of flesh and blood who takes matters into his own hands.

I was very interested to read about the proceedings of the Fire Court; it had never crossed my mind before that such an institution would have existed. I'm grateful to Mr Taylor for adding fascinating historical notes relating to the rebuilding of London and the added freedoms that were granted to women during Charles II's reign in the appendix.

I already have the third volume, The King's Evil on the shelf, and hope to read it later this year. ( )
  passion4reading | Apr 6, 2020 |
A second Cat Lovett/James Marwood mystery, this one focusing on the intricate and complicated Fire Court proceedings which governed the post-fire rebuilding on London. Another good speedy quarantine distraction-read. ( )
  JBD1 | Mar 22, 2020 |
In order to fully appreciate ‘The Fire Court’ by Andrew Taylor, you need to read ‘The Ashes of London’ first. Otherwise, references and subtleties will pass you by. This is definitely a trilogy to read in order. The threats and risks are not always clear on the page and I had a couple of ‘oh, now I get it’ moments. But as with the first book, Taylor writes about post-Fire London with all the smoke, heat and rotting smells vivid on the page.
The first chapter sets up the central mystery to be solved. James Marwood’s elderly confused father wanders in the city and follows a woman he believes to be Rachel, his deceased wife. He is brought home by a kindly roadsweeper. Marwood listens to his father’s confused ramblings and fears his wits are disappearing. The next day, Nathaniel Marwood is dead and his son attempts to recreate his father’s movements to see if there was truth in his ramblings; into the heart of the rookery at Clifford’s Inn to see if there really is a chamber of the ant and inside it, a sinful woman. Instead he meets an objectionable man called Gromwell.
Two women are key to Marwood’s story. Jemima, Lady Limbury, stays close to the house and struggles to be familiar with her husband Philip who is busy with affairs of business. Except the wealth of the marriage belongs to Jemima and Philip unfortunately lets money slip through his fingers. Jemima dislikes the company he keeps, particularly a slimy lascivious man called Gromwell. The second woman is Catherine Lovett, my favourite character from ‘The Ashes of London’. We first see her sitting in the chamber at the Fire Court, the chamber set up to resolve legal, property and construction issues between freeholders, leaseholders and tenants with the aim of rebuilding London fast. Cat is taking shorthand notes, practicing her skill, though really she longs to design buildings for her mentor, the infirm Simon Hakesby. Jemima and Cat do not meet for most of the novel when the two sides of the mystery finally become entangled. I admit to being impatient about this, I found Jemima’s storyline less than captivating though at the end I wished I had grasped her significance a little earlier. Taylor’s novels move fast but are dense with detail and I need to read both these books again before attempting the third.
At the centre of the story is the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire. Amongst the rubble there is destitution, opportunity, greed and hopelessness. It is a toxic mix, a dangerous place in which to start asking awkward questions. Which is exactly what James Marwood does. In the first book he was asking questions for two masters, in ‘The Fire Court’ he seeks answers to his father’s puzzle. And when his life is in danger, he realises there must truth woven in his father’s nonsense words after all.
No word yet on when book three will follow, but I will definitely be reading it. Taylor is a new author for me and I look forward to exploring his other books. He is a historical writer rich in his period but with the twists and turns of a thriller. He creates mysteries that you want to puzzle out.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Nov 8, 2018 |
while i still think the characters of marwood and lovett are interesting, i found this second book in the series dragged quite a bit. taylor's writing is good, and he well captures the feel/sights/sounds/smells of late-1660s london. but it just felt too bogged down by the various goings on. taylor does leave readers with a 'what, what now?' at the end... so i that will have me checking out the third book, whenever it comes out. :) ( )
  JooniperD | Jun 24, 2018 |
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From No.1 bestselling author Andrew Taylor comes the sequel to the phenomenally successful The Ashes of London. Somewhere in the soot-stained ruins of Restoration London, a killer has gone to ground. The Great Fire has ravaged London, wreaking destruction and devastation wherever its flames spread. Now, guided by the incorruptible Fire Court, the city is slowly rebuilding, but times are volatile and danger is only ever a heartbeat away. James Marwood, son of a traitor, is thrust into this treacherous environment when his ailing father claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder? Determined to uncover the truth, Marwood turns to the one person he can trust Cat Lovett, the daughter of a despised regicide. Marwood has helped her in the past. Now it?s her turn to help him. But then comes a third death and Marwood and Cat are forced to confront a vicious and increasingly desperate killer whose actions threaten the future of the city itself.

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