‘The Black Friar’ is Shona Maclean’s 2nd novel featuring Captain Damien Seeker, a loyal follower of Oliver Cromwell.
Dissent against Cromwell is growing and so is the number of spies keeping an eye on the dissenters. Seeker along with the other spies reports to Thurloe. One of the spies, Carter Blythe, is discovered having been bricked into a wall of Blackfriars church alive, dressed in a black friars’s robe. Thurloe asks Seeker to investigate.
Blythe had been working undercover with the fifth monarchists who originally fought with Cromwell but now want to overthrow him. It is feared that the group is setting up an attack.
The other group causing problems is the royalist group, the Sealed Knot. Anne Winter is known to be part of this group but the spies don’t yet know the details of their latest plot.
In the midst of all this rebellion, children have been going missing. Carter Blyth had deviated from his assigned task to look for the children and now Seeker has been pulled into the same puzzle. Despite the fear that Seeker inspires in his enemies, he is showing more often that he has a heart.
There are also rumours that one of Thruloe’s spies is working against Cromwell. And there are also power plays within the intelligence organisation.
Somehow, the larger than life Damien Seeker must unravel the various plots as well as sort out his personal life which has moved in an unexpected direction.
This was an excellent and intricately plotted novel. There was a lot happening in Cromwell’s London and Shona Maclean has done an excellent job of researching it and presenting it to us.
The characters were wonderful and I find myself liking Damien Seeker even more than in the first novel of the series. There are also many excellent support characters.
I can’t wait to read Damien Seeker’s next adventure (one that Seeker is not looking forward to).
Book Published 2016