The Raven's Seal

The Raven's SealA Murder A Fall From Grace A Mysterious Symbol That Could Be The Key To One Man S Salvation When The Body Of Thaddeus Grainger S Rival Turns Up Stabbed To Death In An Alley Just Hours After Their Inconclusive Duel, Only One Suspect Comes To Mind Charged With Murder, Grainger S Fate Is Sealed Before His Trial Even Begins.A Young Gentleman Of Means But Of Meaningless Pursuits, Grainger Is Cast Into The Notorious Bellstrom Gaol, Where He Must Quickly Learn To Survive In The Filthy, Ramshackle Prison The Bells Where Debtors, Gaolers, Whores, Thieves, And Murderers All Mix Freely And Where Every Privilege Comes At A Price Will Be The Young Man S Home For The Rest Of His Life Unless He Can Prove His Innocence.Despite His Downfall, His Friends The Journalist William Quillby And Cassie Redruth, The Poor Young Girl Who Owes Grainger A Debt Of Gratitude Refuse To Abandon Him But Before They Can Win His Freedom, They Must Contend With Forces Both Inside And Outside The Prison Determined To Keep Grainger Behind Bars And, At The Same Time, Decode The Meaning Behind The Crude Wax Seal That Inspires Terror In Those Who Know Its Portent.Set Against The Urban Backdrop Of Late 18th Century England, The Raven S Seal Unravels A Tale Of Corruption, Betrayal, Murder, And Ultimately Redemption And Love. This book came from Netgalley for review a long time ago sorry about that thank you to NG and the publisher.I seem to say this a lot lately this was not what I expected It s a Dickensian, Dumas esque, dark mystery with fantastic elements I think that covers most of it That The Count of Monte Cristo is in the book s genealogy is without doubt.It all begins with a tussle in a tavern, as Thaddeus Grainger defends the honor of a young working class woman against someone who sees her as fair game Thaddeus saves the girl, Cassie Redruth, and earns himself a duel with her aggressor, to her dismay By the next evening, Thaddeus is nursing his wounds but his rival is dead, and not from their duel Thaddeus knows that, and his friends believe it, but the constabulary do not, and he is arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned he never stood a chance.And there s where The Count of Monte Cristo comes in except that the conspiracy behind the scenes of The Raven s Seal is much bigger and impersonal They don t care about Thaddeus, or Cassie, or even much about the murdered man The latter had to be put out of the way, and Thaddeus was a convenient scapegoat As a larger entity, this shadowy force is harder to discover, harder to get at, and harder to overcome especially when the troops arrayed against it consist of a young housemai
Baltakmens has created an imaginary, Dickensian city with a dark prison looming on a hill at the top of this grim, fairy tale like world He sets his allegorical novel in this intensely constructed realm, compact and symbolic than any real setting could be Evil and corruption thrive The bored gentleman we meet at the beginning is no match for the serpentine contrivances hidden away in shadow and actively arrayed against him The code of honor of the 18th century upper classes comes under scrutiny and is found wanting when the gentlemen choose conventionality and financial gain over true inner worth a good Dickensian theme There is a suitably unconventional love story and a solid development of the central character s growth as he figures out how to survive in a world turned upside down If you are a fan of Dickens and the intricacies of 18th century customs and daily life, you ll enjoy this macabre book Baltakmens includes extended discussions and symbols illuminating society s corruption and cruelty For example, as one of the primary characters goes homeward at night, Baltakmens describes the moment Midnight has fallen on the dark streets of Haught and Battens Hill, and the watchman saith, All is well We have prospered by the day, set our lock and bolt, and tried the windows, and all is well Want, murder, desperation, and despair still roam in the filthy alleys and tenements of The Steps and breed countless wrongs in their path, yet
It s been a while since I ve read a Historical novel that I ve enjoyed so much The prose is lyrical, descriptive and so evocative that you are easily drawn to the fictional town of Airenchester and the characters inhabiting it From the genteel salons of the gentry to the squalor of the tenements in The Steps, every location is brought vividly to life.Grainger is unjustly imprisoned on a murder charge and sequestered in Bellstrom Gaol and it was interesting to note how his incarceration differed from those of the lower orders Those who couldn t pay the gaoler s garnish are fettered in chains and sent to the most desolate parts of the prison.The thrust of the book is Grainger trying to find out who set him up and why Rumours abound of a certain society called the Black Claw, which seems to have claws in every villainous pursuit in the town But who is behind it all Who is the mastermind That is something you ll have to read the book to find out, I don t want to spoil it.Some of the characters are larger than life, but never quite turn into caricatures The names are wonderful Mrs Scourish for a housekeeper and Quillby for a writer, were just some of the great touches of humour within the book It s a book to be experienced, not just read.The author loves words and language, you can tell just by the way he s written this book It s a book you want to savour like a good meal
More people should read this book This was an early reviewers copy via LibraryThing.The author is an expert on Charles Dickens and this book has strong influences from that quarter I m not a Dickens fan so I approached this book with a bit of wariness but thankfully, for me, it s much easier to read and take in than CD In fact the prose and language used are really wonderfully descriptive and it s a pleasure to read just for that At one point, about a third of the way in, I felt the story was dragging on a bit where not much happened but then it picked up again and moved at a good pace towards an exciting climax The character names were all enjoyable and very Dickensian Mrs Scourish for a housekeeper and the main characters fairly well developped though I think my favourites were Cassie and William so than the main character, Thaddeus.The story revolves around a miscarraige of justice Thaddeus Grainger is a Gentleman and an idler He ends up in an early morning duel with a rival Both walk away alive, Thaddeus somewhat injured The argument was a minor one over the other man s treatment of a woman in a pub, Cassie Redruth who had only come in to find her brother There has been a contentious history between the two men and this appeared to be a continuation of it But in the
Within the first few pages of The Raven s Seal, my thought was, this author is a fan of Dickens Turns out, he has a PhD in English Literature with a special emphasis on that illustrious Victorian writer Don t get me wrong I love Dickens and I appreciated this homage to him.Author Baltakmens does a than admirable job of evoking Dicken s marvelous descriptive prose without turning it into caricature Much of the story takes place inside a fictional prison, Bellstrom Gaol at the end of the 18th c., a place where money can decide if you live in relative comfort or if you are left chained and half starved in a dark, dank cell and, thanks to Baltakmen s descriptions, it is very easy to picture the horrors of such a place.Dicken s influence can also be seen in the characters We have the poor but pure good girl, Cassie, who will fight to save the hero even though she knows the class system will never allow them to be together There is the best friend, William Quillby, a writer of course, who will never stop fighting to save his friend There is the villain who can appear ever genteel while stealing the eyes from blind paupers And, of course, there is the hero, Thomas, who, no matter the circumstances, will remain heroic and continue to fight the good fight The story is also often moved forward by unlikely coincidences and murky motives, ag
Historical fiction is a difficult style of writing The author has to be authentic, modern, archaic, and updated all at the same time It must feel right, but it can t go overboard into the historical details and forget the narrative The Raven s Seal Andrei Baltakmens is a great example of how it should be done.The story is set in the fictional 18th century city of Airenchester, England The mystery begins when the body of Thaddeus Grainger s rival turns up stabbed to death in an alley just hours after their inconclusive duel.Grainger, a wealthy man well placed in English society, is the only suspect He s imprisoned and fights to clear his name.Baltakmens writes with the same descriptive flourish as Charles Dickens His novel is part mystery and part social commentary on the conditions of Nineteenth Century England While he evokes Dickens
I started reading this by using the Kindle s text to speech option It is a testament to this book that I remained interested enough to continue reading once I turned that feature off That voice to speech is so awful, it could kill any interest you may have had in your Own biography I enjoyed the style, yes it was reminiscent of Dickens, but somehow modern I
Great example of style winning out of substance The Raven s Seal had great descriptions of 18th Century England, as well as wonderful scenes in the prisons of the times But not a very well laid out plot The actually scheme itself under investigation was pede
I loved this book, took a chapter to get into it, but when it came to the final 100 pages I became obsessed to finish it I can see some of the influence from Dickens, if you are going to emulate a writer, Dickens is a great choice.