Absolutely riveting and fascinating in equal measure, the author seamlessly merges a fictional thrilling quest within the history of India and the East India Company during the mid 19th century. It’s a joy to read the interplay between the two main protagonists; Blake is a disenchanted maverick of a man and while the naive Avery initially flounders, he steadily gains credibility. This is an action packed galloping good yarn, yet the author has the wonderful ability to paint a vividly bright picture of the background and times without slowing the stimulating story. Some of the characters in this book actually existed and the historical afterword explaining their background is an interesting read in its own right and adds to the authenticity. Knowing that Blake and Avery are set to return in ‘The Infidel Stain’ is a satisfying consolation when you reach the end, as you’re nowhere near ready to say goodbye to this fabulously captivating duo.
Books in The Blake and Avery Mystery Series:
1. The Strangler Vine
Calcutta 1837. The East India Company rules India - or most of it; and its most notorious and celebrated son, Xavier Mountstuart, has gone missing. William Avery, a down-at-heel junior officer in the Company's army, is sent to find him, in the unlikely company of the enigmatic and uncouth Jeremiah Blake. A more mismatched duo couldn't be imagined, but they must bury their differences as they are caught up in a search that turns up too many unanswered questions and seems bound to end in failure. What was it that so captivated Mountstuart about the Thugs, the murderous sect of Kali-worshippers who strangle innocent travellers by the roadside? Who is Jeremiah Blake and can he be trusted? And why is the whole enterprise shrouded in such secrecy? In the dark heart of Company India, Avery will have to fight for his very life, and in defence of a truth he will wish he had never learned.
|Publication date:||4th September 2014|
|Author:||M. J. Carter|
|Publisher:||Penguin Books Ltd|
|Collections:||80 Book Series and Trilogies to Fall in Love With , Around the World in 80+ Historical Novels.,|
|Primary Genre||Crime and Mystery|
Closing date: 07/11/2021
It is 1837, and the East India Trading Company governs India. After only nine months based in Calcutta as an ensign in the company’s army, young officer William Avery is already jaded and debt-ridden, and anxious to return to England. But then the celebrated poet, Xavier Mountstuart goes missing, lost on a reckless expedition to seek out the last of the infamous Thugs. Avery swiftly finds himself teamed with the tetchy, foul-mouthed ex-Captain Jeremiah Blake, on a dangerous mission, spanning 700 miles, to find Mountstuart.
'The Strangler Vine is a splendid novel with an enthralling story, a wonderfully drawn atmosphere, and an exotic mystery that captivated me' -- Bernard Cornwell
'The Strangler Vine is fresh and original with many surprises in store ... Avery is the guileless Watson of the partnership, and Blake the opaque Sherlock ... it is a relief to know that the two will be reunited in a sequel' -- Frances Wilson Evening Standard
'A rattling good yarn ... I do not remember when I enjoyed a novel more than this. Finishing it would have been unbearable had it not been for the reassuring promise at the end that Blake and Avery will return for more adventures.' -- A. N. Wilson Financial Times
'The Strangler Vine is a considerable achievement, which left me waiting impatiently for a promised sequel' The Times
'Intelligent, extensively researched and packed with period detail, The Strangler Vine evokes both the attitudes of the British colonials and the India of the period ... with its ingredients including murder, gambling, opium wars and crime, it's an imaginative read' Metro
'M.J. Carter has cooked up a spicy dish: a pinch of Moonstone, a dash of Sherlock and a soupcon of Fu Manchu added to a rich stew of John Masters. A splendid romp and just the job for a cold winter's evening in front of a blazing fire' -- William Dalrymple
'This is a gripping story of conspiracy and betrayal set in an early Victorian India that is rendered with complete conviction. And as a historian, the author offers a thought-provoking re-interpretation of the Thuggee story' -- Charles Palliser
'A great read, white tigers and all' Independent
'Tigers, a murderous sect and all manner of deadly double-dealing ... compelling' Daily Mail
'A great new double act for a super new series of adventures' Sunday Sport
M. J. Carter is a former journalist and the author of two acclaimed works of non-fiction: Anthony Blunt: His Lives and The Three Emperors: Three Cousins, Three Empires and the Road to World War One. M. J. Carter is married with two sons and lives in London.More About M. J. Carter