The English Monster

The English Monster

London, 1811. The twisting streets of riverside Wapping hold many an untold sin. Bounded by the Ratcliffe Highway to the north and the modern wonders of the Dock to the south, shameful secrets are largely hidden by the noise and glory of Trade. But two families have fallen victim to foul murder, and a terrified populace calls for justice. John Harriott, magistrate of the new Thames River Police Office, must deliver revenge up to them and his only hope of doing so is Charles Horton, Harriot's senior officer. Harriott only recently came up with a word to describe what it is that Horton does. It is detection.
Plymouth, 1564. Young Billy Ablass arrives from Oxford armed only with a Letter of Introduction to Captain John Hawkyns, and the burning desire of all young men; the getting and keeping of money. For Hawkyns is about to set sail in a ship owned by Queen Elizabeth herself, and Billy sees the promise of a better life with a crew intent on gain and glory. The kidnap and sale of hundreds of human beings is not the only cursed event to occur on England's first officially-sanctioned slaving voyage. On a sun-blasted islet in the Florida Cays, Billy too is to be enslaved for the rest of his accursed days.
Based on the real-life story of the gruesome Ratcliffe Highway murders, The English Monster takes us on a voyage across centuries, through the Age of Discovery, and throws us up, part of the human jetsam, onto the streets of Regency Wapping, policed only by Officer Horton.
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  • Simon & Schuster UK | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780857205384 | 
  • March 2012
List Price £5.49

Read an Excerpt

21 JUNE 1585

The ancient road began at the Tower and ran east to west along a terrace of gravel. To the east it disappeared into the flat treeless horizon of the estuary, merging into the earth just as the earth merged into the sea at the muddy edge of England.

As it left London, this road, which in only a few years would become a highway, formed the northern boundary of a dreary region of swampy land. The great river, as it bent south then north again, formed the southern edge of this semicircle of marshland. It had been drained and flooded, drained and flooded half a dozen times in the... see more

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About the Author

Lloyd Shepherd
Photograph by Paul Clarke

Lloyd Shepherd

Lloyd Shepherd is a former journalist and digital producer who has worked for the Guardian, Channel 4, the BBC and Yahoo. He lives in South London with his family. He is the author of The English Monster and The Poisoned Island.

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