A murderer on the loose . . . in prison.
WINNER OF THE CWA HISTORICAL DAGGER AWARD 2014. Longlisted for the John Creasey Dagger Award for best debut crime novel of 2014.
London, 1727 - and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors' prison.
The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol's rutheless governor and his cronies.
The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules - even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the Captain's beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: to the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet.
Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom's choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder - or be the next to die.
A twisting mystery, a dazzling evocation of early 18th Century London, THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.
I really did like this - it gives a wonderfully convincing picture of the seamier side of eighteenth-century life. (The novel is a sort of Tom Jones Noir, I suppose.) The narrative whips along. The picture of the Marshalsea is quite chilling. Antonia Hodgson has a real feel for how people thought and spoke at the time - and, God knows, that's a rare talent. I very much look forward to discovering what Tom Hawkins does next - I imagine it won't be a career in holy orders. - Andrew Taylor
A hugely enjoyable and fast-paced story which takes the reader into the dark world of Georgian crime. The vividly drawn cast of characters is worthy of Dickens himself. - Tracy Borman - Author of HENRIETTA HOWARD: KING'S MISTRESS, QUEEN'S SERVANT
A superb debut, tense and atmospheric, that beautifully evokes the dark underbelly of 18th century London. I was gripped. - Saul David
Historical fiction just doesn't get any better than this. THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA offers up a riveting, fast-paced story, a richness of tone and a depth of detail that would put most academics to shame. And good Tom Hawkins is one of the best protagonists to come along in years. Magnificent! - Jeffery Deaver
A perfectly realised scary and exciting world; this is a book to ?lose yourself in. - Jenny Colgan
A book to be read by candlelight: part romance, part social history . . . and a lesson in evil. - John Taylor (Duran Duran)
This was utterly compelling - truly, a thriller with eral danger at the core (I so don't want to believe this place existed - and I am all too aware that it did - and I knew nothing of it until now, which is part of the function of the truly good historical novel: to educate us while entertaining) ...
Compelling, enthralling, passionate, compassionate, with pitch perfect period detail and tone and yet I didn't once feel I was being lectured. It's fast-moving and yet there are moments of depth and quiet reflectoin that let us wallow in the horror of Marshalsea, and feel the humanity and inhumanity of the men and women caught in there.
This is a triumph. I loved it. I genuinely loved this, which is so rare these days. - Manda Scott - Author of BOUDICA
Antonia Hodgson's London of 1727 offers that rare achievement in historical fiction: a time and place suspensefully different from our own, yet real. The Devil in the Marshalsea reminds us at every turn that we ourselves may not have evolved far from its world of debtors and creditors, crime and generosity, appetite and pathos. A damn'd good read. - Elizabeth Kostova - Author of THE HISTORIAN
Antonia Hodgson was born in Derby and studied English at the University of Leeds.
Her first novel, The Devil in the Marshalsea, won the 2014 CWA Historical Dagger and was shortlisted for several other awards, including the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year. The highly acclaimed follow up, The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins, was named a Top Ten Thriller of the Year by Publishers Weekly. It was longlisted for the Theakston's, as was the third in the series, A Death at Fountains Abbey.
Her work has been selected for both the Richard & Judy and Waterstones book clubs, and has been translated into several languages.