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Summary

Gunpowder and treason changed England forever. But the tides are turning and revenge runs deep in this compelling historical thriller for fans of C.J. Sansom, Andrew Taylor's Ashes of London, Kate Mosse and Blood & Sugar.

1606. A year to the day that men were executed for conspiring to blow up Parliament, a towering wave devastates the Bristol Channel. Some proclaim God's vengeance. Others seek to take advantage.

In London, Daniel Pursglove lies in prison waiting to die. But Charles FitzAlan, close adviser to King James I, has a job in mind that will free a man of Daniel's skill from the horrors of Newgate. If he succeeds.

For Bristol is a hotbed of Catholic spies, and where better for the lone conspirator who evaded arrest, one Spero Pettingar, to gather allies than in the chaos of a drowned city? Daniel journeys there to investigate FitzAlan's lead, but soon finds himself at the heart of a dark Jesuit conspiracy - and in pursuit of a killer.

©2021 Karen Maitland (P)2021 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic reviews

"A dark and enthralling historical novel with a powerful narrative. The mysterious Daniel Pursglove has all the qualifications for a memorable series hero." (Andrew Taylor)

"Spies, thieves, murderers and King James I? Brilliant." (Conn Iggulden)

"This gripping thriller shows what a wonderful storyteller Maitland is." (The Times)

"A dark and enthralling historical novel with a powerful narrative. The mysterious Daniel Pursglove has all the qualifications for a memorable series hero." (Andrew Taylor)

"A colourful, compelling novel which makes a fine opening to a promised series." (Sunday Times)

"Devilishly good." (Daily Mail)

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  • Overall
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The Drowned City

I thought this was a good story and as such it was a good listen. But I really didn’t like the style of the reader. The reading style was choppy and there was no difference between when something required emphasis and something was not disturbing or frightening. There were pauses in the middle of sentences and emojis on words where it was not required.

I only listened all the way through as the story was good and interesting. But I guess this might have just been me.

5 people found this helpful

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Good book, soothing narration!

Enjoyed this book! Resonant, calming narration that suited the text well. Best listened to on some decent headphones.

5 people found this helpful

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Unlistenable due to awful narration.

Terrible, aggressive and sloppy narration. The narrator bites off the ends of many words, so Fleet Street becomes Flee Stree, etc. Erratic and nervy pace, veering wildly between too fast and too slow. Returned.

5 people found this helpful

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A great start to a new series.

I love Karen Maitland's historical novels, I've not read a bad one. They are something to get your teeth into and she brings the past alive in all its gritty and harsh reality. Lots of twists and turns. One criticism was the narration wasn't quite right at times and you could hear where bits had been edited it in but it only slightly detracted from my overall enjoyment. I look forward to the next instalment.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent start to new series

I hadn’t realised that this was by the Karen Maitland who wrote Company of Liars but had I known, that would have guaranteed I read it. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and characters and the particular setting. The Bristol flooding made a great backdrop to the story.

3 people found this helpful

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eh, not as good as her other books

the story dragged considerably towards the last third, and some sections did not tie up. did not like the narration - very odd emphasis put on words that really affected it

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Good story, distracting reader

I'm a big fan of Karen Maitland's books - I'm currently re-listening to Company of Liars for the 3rd time(!), but of course, this has the benefit of the great David Thorpe to read it. Unfortunately, the Drowned City doesn't and I found the north western accent (notably hanging on the 'g's at the end of words) distracting. Similarly diverting was his habit of breaking sentences at odd places, where I would have thought it should have been linked rather better. All in all a good story, especially as we now have a new character, and hopefully, David will return for the second (we assume) in the series.

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Sadly not for me.

Karen Maitland is for me the undisputed Queen of Medieval fiction. Unlike her other read and re read titles I have, I could not wait for this to end. maybe it was becasue it is set in the times of the Stuarts. The narration was very good but I could not immerse myself in this story like the others. Sorry.

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not a fan of Nathan's voices/accents

I couldn't finish this book, definitely not the right narrator. I love this author, I'm in sad not to get to the end of this story!

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Jacobean murder mystery

Narrative set in Bristol after Tsunami. Explores political chaos of religious loyalties under King James.