Wednesday, July 1, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: The Seeker by S.G. MacLean

I’ve found a new historical mystery series! I’ve come late to it but that means the others have already been released so hopefully I can get to them soon.

The Seeker by S.G. MacLean is the first in the series that features the cold, cynical Damian Seeker, an agent in the service of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, in London in the mid-1600s. Cromwell and his forces have deposed and beheaded King Charles, and now must be on their guard against Royalists who plot to bring Charles’ son back to the throne.

England is gripped by fear under Cromwell’s repressive regime. The freedoms promised by the revolutionaries have not materialized. Damian Seeker understands the complexities of the situation, but he has pledged loyalty to Cromwell and he’s standing by that pledge.

When one of Cromwell’s most popular army captains is found murdered on his own doorstep, the guilty party seems clear. Elias Ellingworth, an impoverished lawyer who is known to be critical of Cromwell’s government, is standing over the corpse with a bloodied knife in his hand.

Seeker begins the investigation at once by interrogating the widow. Her story convinces him that Elias is innocent. Truth matters to Seeker. He doesn’t want an innocent man executed. Plus, the real killer is still at large. Seeker sets about finding the real killer. He uncovers a web of conspiracy, multiple suspects, and a couple of unrelated crimes. Moreover, his veiled compassion for some of the oppressed Londoners, including Elias’ sister, Maria, yields something he wasn’t seeking: friendship? Maybe love?

The plotting is dense, with multiple intertwined subplots. Characters have depth. Seeker is one of those thrilling anti-hero types of detectives: fearless, ruthless, brutally effective. His dark, violent past renders him able to kill coldly without remorse, yet he has an inner core of goodness that leads good people to trust him as much as they fear him.

S.G. MacLean does a wonderful job of placing the reader into the time period, bringing us up to speed quickly on the politics at play that set the stage for the intrigues. I’m eager to read book 2!