A Spectacle Of Corruption
By David Liss
Benjamin Weaver is awaiting death in Newgate gaol. Mysteriously convicted for a murder he didn't commit by a judge determined to see him hang, he is suddenly - and equally mysteriously - offered the means to escape. What, you may well ask, is going on?It's a question Weaver asks of himself as he slinks out into the London night on a mission to clear his name. In doing so, he steps straight into a labyrinthine plot that weaves, like Benjamin, across eighteenth century London. For the conspiracy against him is part of a grimmer and gaudier picture: one that encompasses double-dealings and dockworkers, the extorting of a priest - and a looming election with the potential to spark a revolution and topple the monarchy.Handily, Weaver is a private investigator. He's also an ex-pugilist, which is also a good thing when it comes to punching his weight in the 'polite' society of plotters and politicians, power-brokers, crime lords, assassins and spies. At the apex of which sits, rather precariously, a recent import from Hanover: The King.
By Julian Rathbone
Spain - 1808 to 1813 - where Revolution collides with Reaction, a British Army with a French; the Spain of Goya, where ignorant armies clash and from under them all comes the voice of Joseph: by birth European, by education enlightened, and living in Salamanca which suffered a new invasion every six months and saw one of Wellington's greatest battles. From the moment in early childhood when Joseph hurls a stone at a playmate and makes an evil enemy for life, to the last page when he climbs a hill in North Spain accompanied by a donkey, a giantess, and a new-born babe, and blunders into a battle, he takes the reader by the elbow and hurries him 'will he or will he not' across the terrible years that saw the birth of our own times.Racy, picaresque, but with an underlying seriousness, JOSEPH is a panoramic novel of the Spanish Penisular War, revealing as Goya did its grotesqueries and ironies as well as its horrifying waste of life. Rathbone's wit, sensitivity and confident grasp of the subject are superbly matched to this brilliant historical scene.JOSEPH has never before been published in paperback.