Andrew Taylor

The Last Protector

""‘The Last Protector’ is a wonderful, luscious tapestry that shines. Totally mesmerising." "


On her death bed Mistress Cromwell, widow of Oliver Cromwell, tasks an old friend to deliver a sealed package to her exiled son, Richard, who at that time was in exile in the Low Countries.

James Marwood is a government agent, working for Joseph Williamson, Under Secretary of State, who in turn has close ties to Lord Arlington, Secretary of State and thence to the King himself. When it is discovered that Richard Cromwell has returned to England in disguise, Marwood is set to find out why.

An old acquaintance, Cat Hakesby, is also involved in the secret in some way. Her father had been one of those who had signed the death warrant for King Charles I and as a child she had played with Richard Cromwell's daughter, Elizabeth. This connection draws her unwillingly into some underhand dealings that Richard Cromwell and certain of the King's advisors are pursuing.

The secret that drives them on is hidden under the Palace of Whitehall and Cat's husband is the Surveyor who holds the key to unlocking its whereabouts.

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Andrew Taylor has the touch that convinces you that the events he is describing are fact, rather than fiction. Born from a familiarity with the period and no doubt extensive and painstaking research, this facility enables the story to race along. I love historical fiction and this is a period I am not very familiar with, so I am constantly being surprised by the details that emerge. Names I recognise from history are clothed in reality and become living breathing people. I am grateful for the list of main characters at the beginning. It always helps to refer back to check who is who. I'm not sure whether there are more books to come in this series but I do hope so. I want to know more about James Marwood and Cat Hakesby from the pen of such a superb writer as Andrew Taylor. 'The Last Protector' is a wonderful, luscious tapestry that shines. Totally mesmerising.

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