‘Forgive me Father, it has been almost a year since my last book review.’ There, confession out of the way, it’s time to tell you about this terrific book. This historical novel negotiates the precarious tightrope over the twin pits of too many archaisms and total anachrony with a deft skill that is a great credit to the author, Pete Langman. Set in the 17th Century during the Protectorate, the author conjures a real flavour of the times and stitches real and fictitious figures into a rich tapestry of a novel. It is no exaggeration to say that this world is as skilfully evoked as that in Mantel’s work on the other Cromwellian Era.
The Killing Beauties of the title are members of a secret society of female spies in the cause of the royalists. Susan Hill, aristocratic and decent and Diana – well let’s just call her Diana AKA as that’s how it is – are very different she-intelligencers. Both are constantly underestimated by the members of the Black Chamber – a sort of Cromwellian Counter Intelligence Unit- and by the leader himself, the villainous, yet human, Thurloe.
The novel gallops along at a cracking pace, whilst creating and maintaining a believable version of a distant past. Easily as good as CJ Sansom, I thoroughly recommend Langman’s book to you.
Published by Unbound Killing Beauties is available at all good bookshops and the one
run by Bezos on-line.
Whilst we’re locked down, why not try and source it from your local independent, if they’re doing deliveries?
Killing Beauties: Pete Langman ISBN 978-1-78965-065-5