S G MacLean

The House of Lamentations

"MacLean immediately immerses you in the time and politics, transporting you back to those turbulent days."


You thought Damian Seeker was dead? Oh no. For those readers who have been following the career of Damian Seeker as he acts as enforcer to John Thurloe, Oliver Cromwell’s Secretary of State and Spymaster, we left Seeker at the bottom of a bear pit, underneath the ferocious bear and apparently well and truly dead. But Thurloe had other plans and after recuperation in secret, Seeker finds himself in disguise as a carpenter in Bruges. There he is tasked with keeping an eye on the nest of Royalist sympathisers who are constantly plotting to restore Charles Stuart to the throne. One of those Royalists has been coerced into acting as one of Seeker’s informants, but there is evidence that his activities have not gone unnoticed. A she-intelligencer has been sent out from England to seek out who might be the traitor within the Royalist ranks. Seeker then has instructions to find this mysterious woman and warn his contact.

There is more than one possible candidate for the post and Seeker uses all his past knowledge and the new web of contacts he has made in his role as the English carpenter to work out what is happening. Bruges is the centre of a web of intrigue and deceit and it is not always obvious who is with who and what is the ultimate aim.

Back home in England all is not well in Cromwell’s camp. Many of his supporters are unhappy with the way the Protector is assuming the trappings of a King and ignoring the role of parliament. There are factions amongst the dissenters and some of Seeker’s old companions are planning to travel to America to achieve freedom. It is a turbulent time. The future of the country is in balance.

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As a great fan of Tudor history I came to this series unaware of the complexities of the politics of the Protectorate. I am finding it fascinating and equally as complex. I am intrigued to discover Cromwell’s love of Hampton Court. As a frequent visitor to the palace, I have missed the Cromwell connection with the emphasis on the popular Tudor stories. I am thoroughly enjoying reading about Damian Seeker and his life in 17th century England (and Europe). He has had a chequered career and been responsible for some violence but he has, like James Bond, the ultimate good in view with a Machiavellian approach as to how it is achieved. He is also supremely competent and can be relied upon to extricate himself and others from impossible situations. In these days of uncertainty it is comforting to immerse yourself in a situation where everything is resolved satisfactorily. There are many interesting characters and sub plots that do interact with the main story. Sister Janet and Father Filippe are involved in a complicated plan to support Catholics in England. A violent husband seeks out his missing wife. As with all her novels I have read, MacLean immediately immerses you in the time and politics, transporting you back to those turbulent days. This seems to be the last of this series but who knows… Damian Seeker is like a bad penny…

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