A Hangman for Ghosts

Top Five Books LLC
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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

 

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

 

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

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About the author

Andrei Baltakmens was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. He holds doctorates in English literature and creative writing, and is the author of numerous short stories and three novels, including the historical mystery The Raven’s Seal (2012). He has lived in Ithaca, New York; Brisbane, Australia; and now makes his home in Palo Alto, California, with his wife and son.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Top Five Books LLC
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Published on
Jul 1, 2018
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781938938290
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / International Mystery & Crime
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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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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

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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