The book is available to buy now, treebook and ebook, click HERE for the link to Amazon.
About the Author: (from Amazon)
I grew up in the London suburbs, south of the river, and then in Sheffield.
At school I wanted to be an artist, thinking I was going to be the next great English painter. I did a BA degree in Fine Art, in Coventry, but moved more into art theory, ideas, and writing.
My MA thesis was on Robert Hooke and the ‘New Philosophy’, detailing his work as Curator of Experiments of the Royal Society, and as architect of the new London after the Fire. The ideas and characters I came across when researching him stayed with me; years of tinkering resulted in The Bloodless Boy and its sequel The Clockwork Assassins.
I'm represented by Gaia Banks at Sheil Land Associates literary agency. Many thanks are due to Gaia, who has championed both books with an astonishing energy and attention to detail.
I'm married, with three splendid children and a very lovely wife, and I live in the Brecon Beacons.
Follow me on Twitter as @robjlloyd.
On Facebook, I'm Robert J Lloyd.
I would love to hear from you if you've read all - or part - of the books. Reviews would be very welcome, too!
The Poison Machine by Robert J. Lloyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - in and out over 6 days
Pages - 464
Publisher - Melville House
Source - Arc
Blurb from Goodreads
Harry Hunt must go to Paris in search of a spy and imposter who has knowledge of a plot to kill the Queen of England in this thrilling and addictive sequel to The Bloodless Boy.
1679. A year has passed since the sensational attempt to murder King Charles II. London is still inflamed by fears of Catholic plots. Harry Hunt—estranged from his mentor Robert Hooke and no longer employed by the Royal Society—meets Sir Jonas Moore, the King’s Surveyor-General of the Board of Ordnance, in the remote and windswept marshes of Norfolk. There, workers draining the fenland have uncovered a skeleton.
Accompanied by his friend Colonel Fields, an old soldier for Parliament, and Hooke’s niece, Grace, Harry confirms Sir Jonas’s suspicion: the body is that of a dwarf, Captain Jeffrey Hudson, once famously given to Queen Henrietta Maria in a pie. During the Civil Wars, Hudson accompanied the Queen to France to sell the Royal Jewels to fund her husband’s army. He was sent home in disgrace after shooting a man in a duel.
But nobody knew Hudson was dead. Another man, working as a spy, has lived as him since his murder. Now, this impostor has disappeared, taking vital information with him. Sir Jonas orders Harry to find him.
With the help of clues left in a book, a flying man, and a crossdressing swordswoman, Harry’s search takes him to Paris, another city bedeviled by conspiracies and intrigues. He navigates its salons and libraries, and learns of a terrible plot against the current Queen of England, Catherine of Bragança, and her gathering of Catholics in London. Assassins plan to poison them all.
This is book two in a series, you can absolutely read this as a standalone however there is backstory and happenings from books one that I think would enrich reading this so go get that book first! We are back with Harry, after an embarrassing encounter he is now away from his mentor and beloved society on a private case. His friend (previous soldier) and the lovely Grace will be accompanying him on their investigation, a body has been discovered, identity in question and a possible imposter to check out. Harry has his hands full and that is before getting onto tracking down a disappearance, there are murderers around, skullduggery and a plot afoot to take down the queen.
So first thing I am going to say historical fiction was never a first pick for me and plots that involve any kind of royalty doesn't tend to be a first pick for me. I read and really enjoyed the first book so was happy to read book two and see what is in store for Harry and co.
Harry is a very human character, he gets embarrassed, he knee jerk reacts but he is basically a decent guy and dedicated to his task(s) but he really makes some questionable decisions.
I do like reading about meetings/mentions of actual historical figures/times and meeting characters with relatable issues. For example Harry, he is a smart bloke but because he gets embarrassed he ends up going off on a different direction/job choice because of the slight he received. Or how he interacts with women and remains completely oblivious of his words/lack of actions when around or in relation to the woman he has long held a torch for.
The book has different story paths and we go along with Harry on his as well as getting insight into the shady bad guys and their dastardly plans, murder/robbery and darker still. King, Queen and all manners of important people are throughout the book as well as a stint in one of the jails, ooft I really felt for the person at that point. The author really paints a vivid picture of the horrific conditions and depending on your imagination, quite boak worthy.
I like Harry although not all his choices and I did feel for him quite a few times throughout the book, Grace too. I love how strong a character she is as often women in those time periods can be very wallflowerish, family/home orientated, focused only on a husband and being seen and not heard type. That isn't Grace nor a few of the females we come across in this one to be honest, I am all for it. 4/5 for me this time and I hope Lloyd is planning of bringing more out. As I said historical isn't my first pick by any stretch of the imagination although I have found myself reading a wee bit more of them as I get older however none of them are quite like these!