The Raven's Seal: A Historical Mystery

Top Five Books LLC
25
Free sample

When the body of Thaddeus Grainger’s rival turns up stabbed to death in an alley just hours after their inconclusive duel, only one suspect comes to mind. Charged with murder, Grainger’s fate is sealed before his trial even begins.

A young gentleman of means but of meaningless pursuits, Grainger is cast into the notorious Bellstrom Gaol, where he must quickly learn to survive in the filthy, ramshackle prison. The “Bells”—where debtors, gaolers, whores, thieves, and murderers all mix freely and where every privilege comes at a price—will be the young man’s home for the rest of his life unless he can prove his innocence.


But his friends, the journalist William Quillby and Cassie Redruth, the poor young girl who owes Grainger a debt of gratitude, refuse to abandon him. Before they can win his freedom, however, they must decode the meaning behind the crude wax seal that inspires terror in those who know its portent and contend with forces both inside and outside the prison determined to keep Grainger behind bars.


Set against the urban backdrop of late 18th-century England, The Raven’s Seal unravels a tale of corruption, betrayal, murder, and—ultimately—redemption and love.

Praise for The Raven’s Seal:

“Baltakmens captures the flavor and scope of classic British fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews


“This atmospheric, character-driven, and plot-twisty bildungsroman is a worthy paean to Oliver Twist and Great Expectations.” Booklist


“Baltakmens gives readers of The Raven’s Seal all of the history and the mystery his subtitle promises. The mood, color, details, and dialogue come across as very authentic . . . [his] characters would not be out of place in a work of DeFoe or Thackeray. In fact, there is much of the latter’s Barry Lyndon here, with its plots and duels and confidence games, as well as deft touches of the former’s Moll Flanders, with its bawdy wenches, prison intrigues, and period squalor.” —ForeWord


“The author’s exquisite prose rushes along full of surprises, shadows, betrayal, and squalid situations where the high-born and criminals intermix. A superb mystery with vibrant characters.”Historical Novels Review

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About the author

Andrei Baltakmens was born in New Zealand and holds a Ph.D. in English literature focused on Charles Dickens. His first novel, The Battleship Regal, was published in New Zealand in 1996. He continues to publish short fiction and is currently a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where he lives with his wife and son. The Raven’s Seal is his first book to be published in the U.S. 

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4.5
25 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Top Five Books LLC
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Published on
Nov 30, 2012
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780985278762
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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“We are transported. We are consigned to the ends of the Earth. And we are therefore as good as dead to the realm and its judges. There can be no hope of reprieve…”

 

Gabriel Carver, the convict hangman of Sydney Prison, knows that none of his kind may depart Australia’s penal colony without the system’s leave. Then three people are murdered, seemingly to protect the “Rats’ Line,” an illicit path to freedom that exists only in the fevered imaginations of transported felons. But why kill to protect something that doesn’t exist?

 

When an innocent woman from Carver’s past is charged with one of the murders and faces execution at his hands, she threatens to reveal an incriminating secret of his own unless he helps her. So Carver must try to unmask the killer among the convicts, soldiers, sailors, and fallen women roaming 1829 Sydney. If he can find the murderer, he may discover who is defying the system under its very nose. His search will take him back to the scene of his ruin—to London and a past he can never remake nor ever escape, not even at the edge of the world.


“Baltakmens, echoing the voices of 19th-century masters like Conrad and Melville, combines adventure and mystery in a high-stakes tale of class, morality, and justice.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Gabriel Carver is a great character, and Baltakmens’ style is intelligent and evocative.” —Historical Novels Review

“The story is a page-turner, a savory treat to be devoured.” —Foreword Reviews

 

From Andrei Baltakmens, author of The Raven’s Seal.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Family secrets come back to haunt Jack Reacher in this electrifying thriller from “a superb craftsman of suspense” (Entertainment Weekly).

Jack Reacher hits the pavement and sticks out his thumb. He plans to follow the sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What’s one extra day? He takes the detour.

At the same moment, in the same isolated area, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians had been on their way to New York City to sell a treasure. Now they’re stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. The owners seem almost too friendly. It’s a strange place, but it’s all there is.

The next morning, in the city clerk’s office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He’s told no one named Reacher ever lived in town. He’s always known his father left and never returned, but now Reacher wonders, Was he ever there in the first place?

As Reacher explores his father’s life, and as the Canadians face lethal dangers, strands of different stories begin to merge. Then Reacher makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense . . . and deadly.

Praise for Past Tense

“Child is one writer who should never be taken for granted.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[Lee Child] shows no signs of slowing down. . . . Reacher is a man for whom the phrase moral compass was invented: His code determines his direction. . . . You need Jack Reacher.”—The Atlantic

“Superb . . . Child neatly interweaves multiple narratives, ratchets up the suspense (the reveal of the motel plot is delicious), and delivers a powerful, satisfying denouement. Fans will enjoy learning more of this enduring character’s roots, and Child’s spare prose continues to set a very high bar.”—Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)

“Another first-class entry in a series that continues to set the gold standard for aspiring thriller authors.”—Booklist (starred review)

“With his usual flair for succinctness and eye for detail, Child creates another rollicking Reacher road trip that will please fans and newcomers alike.”—Library Journal (starred review)
Second book in the USA Today bestselling Victorian San Francisco Mystery series.

 

In this sequel to Maids of Misfortune, it is the fall of 1879, and when the young San Francisco widow, Annie Fuller, is asked to investigate a fraudulent trance medium, she comes to a troubling realization. Despite Annie’s growing financial success as the clairvoyant Madam Sibyl, she feels increasingly guilty about the fact she doesn't believe in the astrology and palmistry her clients think are the basis for her advice.

 
Kathleen Hennessey, Annie’s young maid, has a plan. Just like the Pinkerton detectives she has read about in the dime novels, she is determined to assist her mistress in her investigations.

 
Nate Dawson, up-and-coming San Francisco lawyer, faces a dilemma. He wants to marry the unconventional Annie Fuller, but he doesn't feel he can reveal his true feelings until he has a way to make enough money to support her.

With Kathleen and Nate Dawson’s help, Annie delves into the intriguing world of 19th century spiritualism, encountering true believers and naïve dupes, clever frauds and unexplained supernatural phenomena, and she soon finds there are as many secrets as there are spirits swirling around the séance table. Some of those secrets will threaten the foundation of her career as Madam Sibyl and the future of her relationship with Nate Dawson, and, in time, they will threaten her very life itself.

In this second historical mystery in Locke's USA Today bestselling cozy Victorian San Francisco mystery series, readers will find the same combination of romance, mystery, and suspense they found in Maids of Misfortune. Uneasy Spirits is followed by Bloody Lessons, Deadly Proof, and Pilfered Promises. Locke’s shorter works, found in Victorian San Francisco Stories and Victorian San Francisco Novellas, feature minor characters from the series.

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