Blog Tour/Book Review: The Angel’s Mark by S. W. Perry

The Angels Mark Blog Tour poster

I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for historical crime novel, The Angel’s Mark by S. W. Perry.  Many thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in the tour.

The Angel's MarkAbout the Book

LONDON, 1590. Queen Elizabeth I’s control over her kingdom is wavering. Amidst a tumultuous backdrop of Spanish plotters, Catholic heretics and foreign wars threatening the country’s fragile stability, the body of a small boy is found in the City of London, with strange marks that no one can explain.

When idealistic physician Nicholas Shelby finds another body displaying the same marks only days later, he becomes convinced that a killer is at work, preying on the weak and destitute of London.

Determined to find out who is behind these terrible murders, Nicholas is joined in his investigations by Bianca, a spirited tavern keeper. But when their inquiries lead them to the fearsome attentions of the powerful Robert Cecil, Nicholas is forced into playing to Cecil’s agenda, and becoming a spy…

As more bodies are discovered, the pair find themselves caught in the middle of a sinister plot. With the killer still at large, and Bianca in terrible danger, Nicholas’s choice seems impossible – to save Bianca, or save himself…

Praise for The Angel’s Mark

‘A gorgeous book – rich, intelligent and dark in equal measure. It immerses you in the late 16th century and leaves you wrung out with terror. This is historical fiction at its most sumptuous.’ Rory Clements, author of Corpus, Nucleus and the John Shakespeare series

‘Wonderful! Beautiful writing, and Perry’s Elizabethan London is so skilfully evoked, so real that one can almost smell it.’ Giles Kristian, historical fiction author

‘The Angel’s Mark has the pace of a thriller… S.W. Perry is a welcome addition to the ranks of historical crime novelists.’ Simon Brett, crime novelist

Format: Hardcover, ebook (424 pp.)    Publisher: Corvus
Published: 6th September 2018            Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Crime

Purchase Links*  ǀ  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Angel’s Mark on Goodreads

My Review

When a book comes with a glowing recommendation from a respected author of historical fiction like Rory Clements (whose ‘John Shakespeare’ series I absolutely love by the way), you have a real sense of expectation as you turn the first few pages.  I’m happy to say that in the case of The Angel’s Mark those first few pages – and all the pages after that, as it happens – didn’t disappoint.

As other writers of historical fiction have discovered, the latter part of the 16th century is a promising period in which to set a historical crime novel.  Fear of the plague, of plots to overthrow the Queen as well as concerns about the succession and the threat of possible invasion have created an atmosphere of suspicion in Elizabethan England.   It’s a time when information, in the form of intelligence gathered by a network of spies and informers, has become a valuable commodity.    It’s also a time when discoveries in science and medicine are coming into conflict with religious belief.

Personal tragedy, fueled by a sense of guilt at his inability to prevent it, has brought Nicholas Shelby to the point of despair when he chances upon a mystery that reawakens his physician’s curiosity; that, and a fortunate encounter with the independent-minded and resourceful Bianca Merton, owner of The Jackdaw tavern.  However, as the reader will discover, it’s not just her skills as an apothecary that Bianca must hide.  Together they embark on a search for a killer with a distinctive but gruesome calling card.  Soon that search brings them into contact with powerful men (it would be a surprise in a novel set in this period not to run into a member of the Cecil family at some point!) who may pose as much of a risk as does the ruthless killer they are seeking.

The Angel’s Mark has all the ingredients I look for in a great historical crime mystery: a wealth of period of detail that conjures up the sight, sounds and smells of the time; a host of colourful characters to provide possible suspects; and a plot full of twists and turns with a generous helping of red herrings and “I wasn’t expecting that” moments.  It kept me guessing right to the end.  I’m definitely hoping for more of the same from this author in the future.

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Corvus, NetGalley and Readers First in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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In three words: Gripping, atmospheric, mystery

Try something similar…Martyr (John Shakespeare#1) by Rory Clements or The Secret of Vesalius by Jordi Llobregat (read my spoiler free review of the latter here)

S W Perry Author PictureAbout the Author

S.W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot.

He lives in Worcestershire with his wife and two spaniels.

Connect with S. W. Perry

Twitter  ǀ  Goodreads



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