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The Devil's Acre by Matthew Plampin

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Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 8 August 2010.

A gem of an historical novel with plenty of intrigue and plotting. Set in Victorian England the plot revolves around characters working at the factory of gun maker Samuel Colt. Colt’s ambitious secretary, Edward Lowry, finds himself caught up in a plot to steal guns from the factory, when he falls for Caroline Knox, a feisty girl working on the factory floor. A gripping story with historical detail that thoroughly evokes the London of 1853, this is an atmospheric and thrilling novel.

If you like Matthew Plampin you might also like to read books by Iain Pears, Andrew Miller and Jesse Kellerman.

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The Devil's Acre by Matthew Plampin

A novel of intrigue, violence and conflicted loyalties from the author of The Street Philosopher. What price to take hold of the devil's right hand? Spring, 1853. After a triumphant display at the Great Exhibition in London, the legendary American entrepreneur and inventor Colonel Samuel Colt expands his gun-making business into England. He acquires a riverside warehouse in Pimlico and sets about converting it into a pistol works capable of mass producing his patented revolvers on an unprecedented scale -- aware that the prospect of war with Russia means huge profits. The young, ambitious Edward Lowry is hired by Colt to act as his London secretary. Although initially impressed by the Colonel's dynamic approach to his trade, Edward comes to suspect that the American's intentions in the Metropolis are not all they appear. Meanwhile, the secretary becomes romantically involved with Caroline Knox, a headstrong woman from the machine floor -- who he discovers is caught up in a plot to steal revolvers from the factory's stores. Among the workforce Colt has gathered from the seething mass of London's poor are a gang of desperate Irish immigrants, embittered refugees from the potato famine, who intend to use these stolen six-shooters for a political assassination in the name of revenge. As pistols start to go missing, divided loyalties and hidden agendas make the gun-maker's factory the setting for a tense story of intrigue, betrayal and murder.


Praise for THE STREET PHILOSOPHER: 'A galloping good story
The Times

'Lust, avarice, envy, revenge all play their part in this brilliantly told, well-paced story, which also begs the question, so relevant today, of just how close to action journalists and recorders of war should be allowed'
Daily Mail

'Plampin's historical research is impressive, as is his command of detail!.his true gift of descriptive power'
Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Matthew Plampin

Matthew Plampin was born in 1975 and grew up in Essex. He read English and History of Art at the University of Birmingham and then completed a PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. He now lectures on nineteenth-century art and architecture.

Author photo © Karolina Webb

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Book Info

Publication date

24th June 2010


Matthew Plampin

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Harper an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


432 pages


Historical Fiction
Crime / Mystery
Thriller / Suspense
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction



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