Two moments in England’s rise to empire, separated by centuries, yet connected by a crime that cannot be forgiven . . .
London, 1811. Along the twisting streets of Wapping, bounded by the ancient Ratcliffe Highway and the modern wonder of the London Dock, many a sin is hidden by the noise and glory of Trade. But now two families have fallen victim to foul murder, and Charles Horton, a senior officer of the newly formed Thames River Police Office, must deliver revenge to a terrified populace.
Plymouth, 1564. Young Billy Ablass arrives in the busy seaport with the burning desire of all young men: the getting and keeping of money. Setting sail on a ship owned by Queen Elizabeth herself seems the likely means to a better life. But the kidnapping of hundreds of human souls in Africa is not the only cursed event to occur on England’s first official slaving voyage. On a sun-blasted Florida islet, Billy too is to be enslaved.
Based on the true story of the gruesome Ratcliffe Highway murders, The English Monster is a breathtaking voyage across centuries, from the Age of Discovery to the Age of Empire, illuminating what happens to Britain as she gains global power but risks losing her soul.
Lloyd Shepherd has worked for the past twelve years as a senior executive in the Internet business, holding senior management positions at Yahoo, The Guardian, Channel 4, and the BBC. Before his online career, Lloyd was a journalist covering the film and TV business for Financial Times and Variety. The English Monster is his first novel.
"Intelligently explores the tendency of man to be invigorated, even transported by death… The English Monster is an original, imaginative investigation into some of the most disturbing episodes of the nation’s history." --Times Literary Supplement “A brilliantly imagined historical crime novel" --The Sun (UK)
"A story as rich in ideas as it is in intrigue…If all this sounds ambitious to the point of audacious for a debut novel, then suffice to say that Shepherd pulls it off… The English Monster becomes as vivid an education as it is an entertainment. None of which is to mention that devilish twist in this tale." --Independent on Sunday (UK)
"Masterful storytelling... If you like your historical fiction with a mighty twist, want to know more about London in the early 19th Century, or simply enjoy pacey but thoughtful fiction, the English Monster is up there with the best." -- The Londonist
"A feat of perfectly maintained tone and tension... A sinister, fine-grained novel." --Booklist (Starred Review)
“The English Monster is a riveting police procedural, a thrilling tale of life at sea, and an evocative piece of historical re-creation—all with an intriguing element of the fantastic that makes it irresistible. This is a novel that surprised and astounded me time and again.” –Felix Palma, New York Times bestselling author of The Map of Time
"A book of remarkable scope and imagination." -- Essie Fox, author of The Somnambulist
"An unusual, vivid and well-written story." --The Free-Lance Star