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The Devil in the Marshalsea

CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award, 2014

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781444775440

Price: £8.99

ON SALE: 27th March 2014

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Crime & Mystery / Historical Mysteries


Longlisted for the John Creasey Dagger Award for best debut crime novel of 2014.

London, 1727 – and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors’ prison.

The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol’s rutheless governor and his cronies.

The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules – even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the Captain’s beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: to the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet.

Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder – or be the next to die.

A twisting mystery, a dazzling evocation of early 18th Century London, THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.


A satisfying and intelligent plot that grips from start to finish. Memorable characters, especially the Marshalsea itself which is so vividly rendered that the reader can taste the hot punch in the taproom - and smell the corpses of the poor rotting on the Common Side. A wonderful read: a cruel yet colourful period brought to compelling life.
Anya Lipska, author of Where the Devil Can't Go
A splendid debut ... this is a truly spellbinding tale.
Hodgson's utterly compelling debut is fiendishly plotted and dripping with atmosphere. I cannot wait for Tom Hawkin's next adventure.
Mark Billingham
It is the mesh of lies and duplicity that draws you into this brilliant first novel ...a blood-drenched investigation that twists and turns in the vortex of Georgian society
The Times
Historical fiction just doesn't get any better than this. Magnificent!
Jeffery Deaver
The pace is relentless ...an absolutely superb debut novel
Crime Review
Antonia Hodgson has a real feel for how people thought and spoke at the time - and God knows, that's a rare talent
Andrew Taylor, author of The Fires of London
Something new in the world of historical crime fiction, with mesmerising detail and atmosphere
Financial Times
Hodgson has a knack for convincing dialogue that crackles with period cadence and flavour
Daily Mail
Hodgson shows the seamy underbelly of Georgian London, and does for this era what C.J. Sansom and Rory Clements have done for Tudor times
Historical Novel Society
At times Hodgson even rivals Dickens
Daily Express
Any historical fiction enthusiast who isn't a Tom Hawkins fan, has probably just not read any yet
The Bookbag
A riveting historical thriller
Daily Mail
A book to be read by candlelight: part romance, part social history ...and a lesson in evil
John Taylor (Duran Duran)
A damn'd good read
Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian
A hugely enjoyable and fast-paced story which takes the reader into the dark world of Georgian crime
Tracy Borman, author of Thomas Cromwell
A superb debut, tense and atmospheric, that beautifully evokes the dark underbelly of 18th Century London. I was gripped
Saul David
A wonderfully entertaining novel, twist and claustrophic as an underground maze
Maria McCann, author of The Wilding