In 1607 a huge flood laid waste to much of the West Country; some historians believe it was caused by a tsunami in the Bristol Channel. Karen Maitland uses this historical backdrop for The Drowned City... He arrives in the ruined city but it is not long before a very man-made murder happens — the victim has the Jesuits’ mark carved on his chest. Throughout his investigation, Maitland slowly reveals Pursglove’s past growing up in a Catholic nobleman’s house and leaving it under a dark cloud. This gripping thriller, first in a series, shows what a wonderful storyteller Maitland is.
Set only a dozen or so years after Marlowe’s death, The Drowned City begins with a bravura description of the devastating flood that swept through Bristol a year after the Gunpowder Plot. With rumours rife that it was the work of witches and Jesuits, Maitland’s antihero, Daniel Pursglove, is released from jail to scour the ravaged city in search of Catholic conspiracy. Instead he finds himself on the trail of a serial killer, apparently picking victims at random. Most of Maitland’s previous fiction has had a medieval setting.