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Lloyd Shepherd is a former journalist and digital producer who has worked for the Guardian, Channel 4, the BBC and Yahoo. He lives in South London with his family.
From the author of The English Monster comes Savage Magic, a brilliant new historical thriller, a riveting tale of villainy, madness and murder. Covent Garden, 1814: a centre of vice to which rich and poor alike are drawn by the promise of gin, ale and other carnal diversions. In opulent private rooms, several fashionable young men have been found murdered, each wearing a satyr's mask, each behind a locked door. Constable Charles Horton of the River Police Office is called in to investigate and soon finds himself at Thorpe Lee House in Surrey, where accusations of witchcraft have swept through the village. What connects those London aristocrats in pursuit of pleasure and a country backwater suddenly awash with folklore and talk of burning witches? In this strange, captivating world, it is a savage magic indeed that holds its victims in its thrall.
It's 1814 and the streets of London's Covent Garden are at the centre of a dark trade, enticing rich and poor alike with a cocktail of gin and beer and sex. Behind their own fashionable private doors in the surrounding parishes a group of aristocratic young men are found murdered, all of them wearing the mask of a satyr, all of them behind locked doors with no signs of entry. Constable Charles Horton's investigation into these violent crimes begins, quite by chance, at Thorpe Lee House in Surrey, where accusations of witchcraft have swept the village. What connects these broken London men, savage with the pursuit of pleasure, and a country village awash with folklore and talk of burning witches? The answers lie, yet again, under lock and key, in a madhouse for the deranged, where Horton's wife Abigail seeks refuge from her disordered mind. In this world of witchcraft and madhouses, whores and aristocrats, it's a savage magic indeed that holds its victims in its thrall. Lloyd Shepherd's most ambitious novel to date is a triumph of the imagination. His rich cast of characters weaves a hugely satisfying story of depth, insight and exquisite drama.
London 1812: For forty years Britain has dreamed of the Pacific island of Tahiti, a dark paradise of bloody cults and beautiful natives. Now, decades after the first voyage of Captain Cook, a new ship returns to London, crammed with botanical specimens and, it seems, the mysteries of Tahiti. When, days after the Solander's arrival, some of its crew are found dead and their sea-chests ransacked - their throats slashed, faces frozen into terrible smiles - John Harriott, magistrate of the Thames river police, puts constable Charles Horton in charge of the investigation. But what connects the crewmen's dying dreams with the ambitions of the ship's principal backer, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society? And how can Britain's new science possibly explain the strangeness of Tahiti's floral riches now growing at Kew? Horton must employ his singular methods to uncover a chain of conspiracy stretching all the way back to the foot of the great dead volcano Tahiti Nui, beneath the hungry eyes of ancient gods.