Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Scatterwood by Piers Alexander

Review by JJ Marsh

What we thought:
If you have read The Bitter Trade, you'll relish seeing what happens to quick-witted dodger and diver Calumny Spinks. If you haven't, no matter, this book will drag you in by the scruff and haul you away to 17th Jamaica, where politicking, force and cunning are in a deadly struggle for power.

From  the wharves of London to the slave markets of Port Royal, the reader is immersed in the desperate fight to survive against a backdrop of inequality, brute force and the shadow of civil war. In order to save his family, Spinks collaborates with servants of the Crown. His skill with accents, combined with an ability to befriend the noblest and roughest earn him the assignment of spy. But at a cost. He is an indentured man, a slave for seven years to a cruel master.

By keeping his ear to the ground, Spinks discovers the rumoured plot is further advanced than he suspected. His mission to murder a powerful leader cannot wait. He needs allies, and who better than the similarly downtrodden Maroons?

Fast-paced and intense, this crackling adventure brings the Caribbean of 1692 to sparkling sensory life, with all its harshness and deprivation. Alexander's prose is once again rich and robust, his characters layered and believable - even sadistic overseer Kiet - and the story world so fully realised you feel you are there.

Read it when there's nothing else you have to do. It's a feast to devour in one sitting.
You’ll enjoy this if you liked: The Bitter Trade, The Plague Road by LC Tyler, Birthright by David Hingley

Avoid if you don’t like: Violence, cruelty, the iniquities of slavery

Ideal accompaniments: Rum punch, herb-scented dumplings and Eleanor Alberga's Suite from Dancing with the Shadow

Genre: Historical Fiction

Available on Amazon

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