Book Review: Ashes of London

“The Ashes of London” by Andrew Taylor

Set in the midst of the 1666 Fire of London, this historical detective fiction novel stands as a great representative of what British literature has to offer, even to this day. Taylor’s 2016 novel follows Marwood, as he must avoid the implications of his family while solving a murder case and periodically crossing paths with Cat, an abused woman on the run from her own family. Not only are the likes of Marwood, Cat, Dr. Wren, and other characters features of the story, but London itself acts as its own character of the story. St. Paul’s has fallen in the fire, bringing the city along with it and forcing the people to come to terms with the state of their space. A number one “Sunday Times” bestseller, “The Ashes of London” works not only as a crime thriller when following Marwood, but a harrowing story of escape from sexual and emotional abuse when told from Cat’s perspective. The parallel story-lines of the novel not only leave the reader desiring more from each story, but offer relief from the stress of the thrill and a chance to establish one’s own theories. The Fire of London burned bright, but the aftermath burns brighter.

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