Misc. Historical Fiction. · Sagas · Sequels

The Poison Tree (#17) by Cynthia Harrod Eagles

“In the future, perhaps…I predict it will be possible to travel from Manchester all the way to London in a matter of hours. Just think of it!”

Another book in the Morland series which still has the power to keep me engaged, even after such a long time. It covers the years 1830-1832, and the tyrannical Nicholas Morland is much to the fore when he goes about being cunning and sly. He plays off on his mother’s favouritism of him and will stop at nothing to ensure that he gets Morland Place.

Another (much happier!) plot arc is concerned with the railways. Given the speed of modern travel it is interesting to see it from the point of view of characters who are stunned by all the latest innovations in travel when it was still coming to the fore. Eagles makes the characters have a voice very unique to their era and circumstances.

The twists in the story kept unfolding and it was really engaging to read. Another plot relevant to the era was the cholera outbreak which struck in the early 1830s and which was obviously an issue at the time where massive overcrowding was the usual drudge of existence. It didn’t spare the rich upper classes, and it was more than just a disease of the poor. In the story, again, disease and death culls unneeded characters in historical fiction but it is sad when those culled from the fabric of fictional existence are children.

Plenty of twists and turns and a very interesting finale to this book. I soon hope to read book 18, and further discover character connections and plots. Nicholas Morland’s character is, as I previously mentioned, very dastardly indeed but comes across as some thwarted man-child who is hungry for power and wealth and has a huge inferiority complex. He is also controlled by his manservant, who has a silent hold over his master because he knows some very dangerous secrets which would ruin Nicholas’s reputation were they to be made public knowledge.

MY RATING: ***.5 / *****


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