In 1688, torn by rebellions, England lives under the threat of a Dutch invasion. Redheaded Calumny Spinks is the lowliest man in an Essex backwater: half-French and still unapprenticed at seventeen, yet he dreams of wealth and title.
When his father’s violent past resurfaces, Calumny’s desperation leads him to flee to London and become a coffee racketeer. He has just three months to pay off a blackmailer and save his father’s life - but his ambition and talent for mimicry pull him into a conspiracy against the King himself.
“An excellent debut novel by a talented author. Piers Alexander will be a writer to watch”
The Historical Novel Society
”A fantastic debut novel" - Robert Elms, BBC Radio London
The ambitious, cheeky Calumny Spinks is a great guide through the sensory overload of 17th century London, in an adventure that combines unexpected insights with just the right amount of rollicking ribaldry. I hope it's the opener to a series.” Christopher Fowler, author of the Bryant and May novels
Step back in time and discover the sights, sounds and smells of London through the ages in this enthralling journey into the capital's rich, teeming and occasionally hazardous past.
’London: A Travel Guide Through Time is easily the most engaging social history of the capital since the books of Liza Picard a decade ago.' - Londonist
'Every page yields fascinating glimpses into the past habits and horrors of our greatest city, bringing to life the detail of daily existence in an unforgettable way... An excellent and vivid work of history.' - William Hague
'Matthew Green's time travelling vehicle's headlights focus on fascinating details, time after time, as it swoops around London. A must for anyone interested in London's history. His research can't be faulted.' - Liza Picard, bestselling author of 'Elizabeth's London' and 'Restoration London’
Let time traveller Dr Matthew Green be your guide to six extraordinary periods in London's history - the ages of Shakespeare, medieval city life, plague, coffee houses, the reign of Victoria and the Blitz.
We'll turn back the clock to the time of Shakespeare and visit a savage bull and bear baiting arena on the Bankside. In medieval London, we'll circle the walls as the city lies barricaded under curfew, while spinning further forward in time we'll inhale the 'holy herb' in an early tobacco house, before peering into an open plague pit. In the 18th century, we'll navigate the streets in style with a ride on a sedan chair, and when we land in Victorian London, we'll take a tour of freak-show booths and meet the Elephant Man.
You'll meet pornographers and traitors, actors and apothecaries, the mad, bad and dangerous to know, all desperate to show you the thrilling and vibrant history of the world's liveliest city.