Raven's Seal
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Raven's Seal

3.63 (130 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In the fictional late-18th-century English city of Airenchester, Thaddeus Grainger, a young man of means but of meaningless pursuits, challenges his rival, Piers Massingham, to a duel over a young lady from the slums of The Steps. After suffering what he considers a cowardly cut at the hands of Massingham, Grainger vows revenge. When Massingham turns up dead a scant few hours later, Grainger is put on trial for murder. The young lady, Cassie Redruth, proud but poor, makes a brave attempt to defend him, but the young gentleman's fate is sealed. Cast into the notorious Bellstrom Gaol, Grainger must quickly learn to survive in the filthy, rotting prison, where debtors, gaolers, whores, thieves, and murderers mix freely and where every privilege comes at a price. Determined to exonerate their friend, Cassie and the journalist William Quillby must slowly piece together fragments of the mystery by infiltrating both the dregs and the gaudy upper classes of the town. To win Grainger's freedom, all three of them will be forced to confront grave dangers and uncover the ties connecting the "quality" of Airenchester with its teeming, violent, criminal underclass -- and come face to face with the one who controls it all. The Raven's Seal brings the urban squalor of 18th-century England vividly to life, while unravelling a tale of corruption, betrayal, murder, redemption, and love.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 145 x 235 x 30.48mm | 366g
  • Oak Park, United States
  • English
  • 0985278757
  • 9780985278755
  • 1,986,742

Review quote

"Baltakmens captures the flavor and scope of classic British fiction." --Kirkus Reviews

"This atmospheric, character-driven, and plot-twisty bildungsroman is a worthy paean to Oliver Twist and Great Expectations." --Booklist

"Baltakmens gives readers of The Raven's Seal all of the history and the mystery his subtitle promises. The mood, color, details, and dialogue come across as very authentic . . . [his] characters would not be out of place in a work of DeFoe or Thackeray. In fact, there is much of the latter's Barry Lyndon here, with its plots and duels and confidence games, as well as deft touches of the former's Moll Flanders, with its bawdy wenches, prison intrigues, and period squalor." --ForeWord

"The author's exquisite prose rushes along full of surprises, shadows, betrayal, and squalid situations where the high-born and criminals intermix. A superb mystery with vibrant characters." --Historical Novels Review
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About Andrei Baltakmens

Andrei Baltakmens was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. He has a Ph.D. in English literature, focused on Charles Dickens and Victorian urban mysteries. His first novel, The Battleship Regal, was published in New Zealand in 1996. He has published short fiction in various literary journals, including a story in the collection of emerging New Zealand male writers, Boys' Own Stories (2001). For five years he lived in Ithaca, New York, where he was part of the professional staff of Cornell University. He is currently a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and now lives in Palo Alto, California, with his wife and son.
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Rating details

130 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 21% (27)
4 35% (46)
3 33% (43)
2 8% (11)
1 2% (3)
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