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Mercia Blakewood Series – Book III
David Hingley

Allison and Busby
18 January 2018/ ISBN 9780749021146
Mystery / Historical

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 

May, 1665, and Mercia Blakewood embarks from the ship that has brought her home from America. She hopes that now she has fulfilled the King’s mission she will have her home restored to her, but such is not to be. The King has a new mission, given to her by his mistress, Barbara Castlemaine, and for this one she must be installed at court. Posing as the mistress of Sir William Calde, she must unmask a woman who is spying for the Dutch, with whom Britain is now at war…

Britain’s rocky relationship with various European countries strikes a topical note in this historical novel, showing that nothing really changes. Mercia is once again in the thick of it with her trusty manservant, Nicholas, at her side, but not knowing who else to trust. One moment she thinks she has worked out who the spy “Virgo” is and who is on her side, the next everything has changed and she must start again.

All this makes for an exciting read, a thriller more than a mystery, with a constantly changing backdrop. Mercia experiences the luxury and scheming of the court, prowls the seedy backstreets and docks of London and more, while the King and his council plan their war, and the first cases of plague tentatively appear. I really felt I was back in the 1660s with all the splendor, squalor and uncertainties that made life precarious. This third entry in the series has standalone elements, but for best results it ought to be read after the first two (Birthright and Puritan). I am always complaining that there are not enough books set during the 17th century, but this exciting series shows that even if you cannot have quantity at least here is some quality.

Reviews of previous titles in this series

Birthright #1
Puritan #2
Traitor #3

Reviewed 2018