Review: Traitor in the Ice by K. J. Maitland

Description (from cover): “Winter, 1607. A man is struck down in the grounds of Battle Abbey, Sussex. Before dawn breaks, he is dead.

Home to the Montagues, Battle has caught the paranoid eye of King James. The Catholic household is rumoured to shelter those loyal to the Pope, disguising them as servants within the abbey walls. And the last man sent to expose them was silenced before his report could reach London.

Daniel Pursglove is summoned to infiltrate Battle and find proof of treachery. He soon discovers that nearly everyone at the abbey has something to hide–for deeds far more dangerous than religious dissent. But one lone figure he senses only in the shadows, carefully concealed from the world. Could the notorious traitor Spero Pettingar finally be close at hand?

As more bodies are unearthed, Daniel determines to catch the culprit. But how do you unmask a killer when nobody is who they seem?

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Daniel Pursglove mystery series by K. J. Maitland. I reviewed the first book, The Drowned City, on this blog previously. The problems I had with that book are prevalent in this book as well. The books in this series tend to be long, very descriptive and a little chaotic at times with the switching back and forth between storylines. I will say that I did enjoy this book more than the first book as it was easier to read for me this go around. Nonetheless, the ending left me scratching my head a little bit trying to figure out all of the storylines and what exactly happened. I still am not quite sure.

In this book, we see the return of Daniel Pursglove who has been sent to Battle Abbey to act as a spy. He is told to make himself a part of the household and find out if there are priests being hidden there and whether the residents are attending Mass instead of the required Protestant services. Pursglove quickly avails himself to the household and soon finds himself an integral part of the household. In the small town surrounding the Abbey, there is a creature that has been wreaking havoc on the town at night. Animals are missing or killed, strange noises and fear has been walking the streets at night and the villagers are up in arms.

In the middle of the drama at the Abbey and the hysteria of the small town, Pursglove soon finds himself embroiled in more mysteries than he can handle and he is not sure which one is more dangerous. He has to constantly be on his toes as everyone is not who they seem and there is a murderer lurking in the shadows. This book was a better read than the first one, however I struggled to understand what was happening at times and I felt the ending didn’t really conclude the mysteries.

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Author: K. J. Maitland

Series: Daniel Pursglove Mystery #2

Publisher: Headline Review

Publication Date: March 31, 2022

Pages: 461

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Drowned City by K. J. Maitland

Description (from cover): “Gunpowder and treason changed England forever. But the tides are turning and revenge runs deep in this masterful historical thriller for fans of C.J. Sansom, Andrew Taylor’s Ashes of London, Kate Mosse and Blood and Sugar.

1606. England stands divided in the wake of the failed Gunpowder Plot. As a devastating tidal wave sweeps the Bristol Channel, rumours of new treachery reach the King.

In Newgate prison, Daniel Pursglove receives an unexpected–and dangerous–offer. Charles FitzAlan, close confidant of King James, will grant his freedom–if Daniel can infiltrate the underground Catholic network in Bristol and unmask the one conspirator still at large.

Where better to hide a traitor than in the chaos of a drowned city? Daniel goes to Bristol to investigate, but soon finds himself at the heart of a dark Jesuit conspiracy–and in pursuit of a killer.”

My Thoughts:

This book is set in the 1600’s in Bristol in an England that is deeply divided between the Protestants and Catholics. King James I is on the throne and this story takes place a year after the Gunpowder Plot was foiled. James is terrified of assassination and sees death in everything and is very superstitious. He is paranoid and determined to prevent any Catholic uprisings in his Protestant England. Daniel Pursglove is in prison and is offered the chance of a pardon if he seeks out a missing conspirator from the Gunpowder Plot.

Rumor has it that the missing man is in Bristol, which has just been devastated by a tidal wave that killed hundreds and destroyed many homes and businesses. Daniel travels from London to Bristol to seek out the missing man and bring him to justice at the cost of his own freedom. If he is successful he won’t have to return to prison and will be a free man; if not, he faces torture and death. Daniel makes connections when he arrives in Bristol and no one is to be trusted.

This book was a long read at 495 pages. At times, I felt the writer used too many descriptive details and could have condensed the story somewhat. Overall this was a good read and a fantastic debut to this new historical mystery series. I loved the setting as it has been quite some time since I have read anything in this time period. The superstitions and the unrest during this time really shows throughout this book and the author did a wonderful job of researching the time period. The book did seem tedious in some areas, but overall, I found this to be a quite engaging read and I am excited to read the next book in this series.

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Author: K. J. Maitland

Series: Daniel Pursglove Mystery #1

Publisher: Headline Review

Publication Date: April 1, 2021

Pages: 495

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.