S G MacLean

The Seeker

"...the intricate plotting involving the political and family rivalries is superb..."


1654, a year in which Oliver Cromwell, as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, sits in London feared and respected by many, yet always alert to the possibility of treason. Damian Seeker, a man with a hidden past, is one of Cromwell's spies and fixers. He appears an incorruptible and unsympathetic man, yet he has his secrets.

The new coffee houses are the places to find all the latest news as well as to hatch plot and counter plot. When one of Cromwell's loyal officers, John Winter, is murdered, suspicion falls on one Elias Ellingworth who is found with the body and holding a knife. Conveniently he is also a thorn in the side of the establishment, as he writes inflammatory pamphlets against the ruling elite. Seeker is being pressurised by the powers of state to prosecute Ellingworth but true to his character he will not do so until he is convinced of the rightness of the case.

Several other characters had cause not to love Winter not least his wife, and Seeker pursues his investigation with vigour and wily subterfuge. The ending satisfactorily ties up the mystery whilst leaving us with the desire to know more about the slippery Damian Seeker.

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I loved MacLean's series on Alexander Seaton, and this pays homage to that hero as he enters London on a mission to avenge his erstwhile mentor, Montrose. But it is Damian Seeker who is the subject of this book and his character and history are slowly revealed as the book goes on. A powerful man feared by many for the knowledge he has of what is going on he will I think, become an intriguing hero to follow. I liked the time frame in this book. There are many books about the Tudors, and also of the Stuarts, but I have not read many about Cromwell and this proved a fount of information about the ruler and his family. I learnt much. I did not know that the family loved Hampton Court although I have visited it many times. Cromwell's journey from Fenland farmer to Lord Protector is fascinating and this gives an insight into the domestic arrangements that would not be in every commentary on the period. Above all, the intricate plotting involving the political and family rivalries is superb and a must-read for all those who love their crime steeped in History.

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