The Fire Court (Marwood and Lovett, #2)
From No.1 bestselling author Andrew Taylor comes the sequel to the phenomenally successful The Ashes of London Somewhere in the soot-stained ruins of Restoration London, a killer has gone to ground… The Great Fire has ravaged London, wreaking destruction and devastation wherever its flames spread. Now, guided by the incorruptible Fire Court, the city is slowly rebuilding, but times are volatile and danger is only ever a heartbeat away.James Marwood, son of a traitor, is thrust into this treacherous environment when his ailing father claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder…?Determined to uncover the truth, Marwood turns to the one person he can trust – Cat Lovett, the daughter of a despised regicide. Marwood has helped her in the past. Now it’s her turn to help him. But then comes a third death… and Marwood and Cat are forced to confront a vicious and increasingly desperate killer whose actions threaten the future of the city itself.

The Fire Court (Marwood and Lovett, #2) Details

TitleThe Fire Court (Marwood and Lovett, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 5th, 2018
PublisherHarperCollins
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Crime

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The Fire Court (Marwood and Lovett, #2) Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Taylor takes us back to the 17th century in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London in The Ashes of London, to the setting up of The Fire Court with 3 judges, designed by the king to get London rebuilt, resolving land and property disputes that have have arisen due to the fire. James Marwood is doing relatively well with two clerkships under two different masters, and served by the loyal and courageous Sam and Margaret, his housekeeper. His religious father, Nathaniel, has not recovered Andrew Taylor takes us back to the 17th century in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London in The Ashes of London, to the setting up of The Fire Court with 3 judges, designed by the king to get London rebuilt, resolving land and property disputes that have have arisen due to the fire. James Marwood is doing relatively well with two clerkships under two different masters, and served by the loyal and courageous Sam and Margaret, his housekeeper. His religious father, Nathaniel, has not recovered from his years in prison, is afflicted with dementia, this has him thinking he is following his dead wife, Rachel, to the Clifford's Inn, where he sees a dead sinful woman, he assumes to be a whore. A disbelieving James puts this tale down as a product of his father's failing mental health. The death of his father has him descending to a stupor of grief, compounded by guilt when he realises Nathaniel was telling the truth.Marwood is driven to find out what is going on, which leads him to encountering the sinister Lucius Gromwell of Clifford's Inn and Sir Philip Limbury bent on acquiring the lucrative rights to plan and rebuild Dragon's Yard, but they are opposed by other tenants and leaseholders, primarily led by Roger Poulson. Cat Lovett is living under the radar as maid, Jane Hakesby, with family member, Simon Hakesby, a struggling architect and builder. Marwood draws Jane into his investigations which bring considerable danger to the two of them. The dead woman turns out to be wealthy widow Celia Hampney, the niece of Poulson, with a considerable stake in Dragon's Yard, with the capacity to impede Limbury's plans for the place. Celia's murder is the first of many, and Marwood finds himself caught between court and political chicanery, corruption and intrigue, forced to choose between Joseph Williamson and William Chaffinch who has the ear of the King. Marwood pays a heavy price for continuing to search for the truth as he finds himself scarred for life, and Cat is drawn into the web of danger as she seeks to help Marwood. Taylor writes compelling historical fiction, evoking a London undergoing tumultuous change, where survival is a struggle, poverty is everywhere and the only rights that count are those of the aristocracy and those with political power. It is to be expected that many ambitions, rivalries and jealousies are rampant, with many looking to make a pretty penny through their connections and corruption. Taylor captures this exquisitely with the picture he paints of a London where, thanks to the fire, much is at stake and peoples' lives are hanging by a mere thread. Marwood and Cat are enterprising and determined central characters, compelling and charismatic. The acute deprivations and lack of rights suffered by women applies across the classes as can be seen by the treatment that Jemima undergoes at the hands of her husband. This is brilliant historical fiction, a worthy sequel to the wonderful The Ashes of London. Highly recommended! Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    More slow-moving intrigue in Restoration London. 3.5/5 stars.This review was originally posted on my book blog.I read the first installment in this historical mystery series - The Ashes of London - right before moving onto this book. And while I'm sure you could read and enjoy The Fire Court without having to read book 1 - it is a new mystery which introduces a group of new characters - I would recommend seeking out The Ashes of London first. A lot of my enjoyment in reading book 2 came from see More slow-moving intrigue in Restoration London. 3.5/5 stars.This review was originally posted on my book blog.I read the first installment in this historical mystery series - The Ashes of London - right before moving onto this book. And while I'm sure you could read and enjoy The Fire Court without having to read book 1 - it is a new mystery which introduces a group of new characters - I would recommend seeking out The Ashes of London first. A lot of my enjoyment in reading book 2 came from seeing how established characters and their relationships developed under the pressures of this plot, and in this regard there certainly is a great deal going on. I can only praise the author for giving us high stakes: he isn't afraid to put his main characters in true peril and let them get hurt. I lost count of the number of times Cat had call to use or threaten to use her knife in self-defence!The details of London and life in the aftermath of the Great Fire continue to be fascinating. I had a nice chuckle at a reference to the dissolute Earl of Rochester (who wrote some poetry as scandalous as his behaviour) and realised that I did learn something about the period at university after all! I particularly enjoyed the reminder that London Bridge once had buildings on it, similar to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence - a featured which is important to the story's climatic action.I would repeat the warning I made in my review of book 1: if you're looking for a past-faced murder mystery, this isn't it. To give you an idea: a woman is murdered in chapter 1, but we don't find out who she is until a third of the way through the book. If you prefer your stories to shift along in higher gear, this probably isn't the series for you.While I enjoyed the character development and setting, I wasn't overwhelmingly intrigued or gripped by the mystery itself which is basically a legal thriller with all the suspicious deaths tracing back to a post-fire property case. Perhaps fans of legal dramas and court-case thrillers should give this a try?Overall: if you enjoyed book 1 then I recommend you let Taylor take you back to 1667 for some more intrigue in the smoldering ruins of the capital.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    This is an excellent follow up to The Ashes of London, set in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London. As London attempts to rebuild its ruins, a great deal of money is at stake. Murder ensues and James Marwood's father is one of the first to die. It couldn't be more personal - or more painful - for Marwood. Andrew Taylor sets the scene perfectly in what is a marvellous and pacey historical mystery. Review to follow shortly.
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    This is the second in Andrew Taylor’s new historical mystery series set during and after the Great Fire of London. The first book, The Ashes of London, set in 1666, deals with the Fire itself and the devastation it causes, as well as introducing us to our protagonists – James Marwood, son of a Fifth Monarchist, and Cat Lovett, daughter of a regicide involved in the execution of King Charles I. It’s not completely necessary to have read The Ashes of London before beginning The Fire Court as they This is the second in Andrew Taylor’s new historical mystery series set during and after the Great Fire of London. The first book, The Ashes of London, set in 1666, deals with the Fire itself and the devastation it causes, as well as introducing us to our protagonists – James Marwood, son of a Fifth Monarchist, and Cat Lovett, daughter of a regicide involved in the execution of King Charles I. It’s not completely necessary to have read The Ashes of London before beginning The Fire Court as they both work as standalone mysteries, but I would still recommend it.In The Fire Court, we watch as London begins to rebuild in the aftermath of the Great Fire. With so much of the city destroyed, so many homes and businesses burned to the ground, there’s a lot of rebuilding to be done! Naturally, this gives rise to disputes between landlords and tenants, and disagreements as to how land should be redeveloped and who is responsible for paying for it. A special court is established to deal with all of this: the Fire Court.At the beginning of the novel, James Marwood’s elderly father dies after falling beneath the wheels of a wagon in a London street, but not before he has time to tell James about a horrific discovery he made in one of the chambers of the Fire Court – the body of a murdered woman, with blood on her yellow gown. At first, Marwood dismisses these claims as the ramblings of an old, ill man, but when he begins to investigate he comes across some clues which suggest that maybe his father was telling the truth after all.Marwood wants to find out more, but it seems that his employers – Joseph Williamson, the Under-Secretary of State, and William Chiffinch, Keeper of the King’s Private Closet – would prefer him to leave things alone. He can’t walk away now, though; he’s already much too deeply involved. Others have become caught up in the mystery too, among them Cat Lovett who, following the events of the previous novel, is now living in the household of her cousin Simon Hakesby, the architect – and another young woman, Lady Jemima Limbury, whose marriage, it appears, is based on lies and deceit. All of these people have a part to play in the mystery that unfolds and none of them know who to trust.I enjoyed The Ashes of London, but I thought The Fire Court was even better. The plot was a complex, interesting one and with the focus on lawyers and court cases, it reminded me at times of CJ Sansom’s Shardlake novels, which I love. Being the second book in the series, I felt that both main characters – Marwood and Cat – are starting to feel more fully developed now. I sympathised with Marwood’s conflicting feelings for his father and the dilemma he faces when he is forced to choose between his two masters, Williamson and Chiffinch. As for Cat, she continues to be in a dangerous position should her true identity be discovered, so she has taken the name Jane Hakesby and is pretending to be her cousin’s servant. In her situation, you would think it would be a good idea to keep a low profile, but with her courageous and fiery personality, she does nothing of the sort! I really like the way the relationship between Marwood and Cat is progressing; it has taken a while, but they are beginning to trust each other and work together.There are some interesting secondary characters in this book too, ranging from Marwood’s servant, Sam, who lost a leg in the wars against the Dutch, to the sinister Lucius Gromwell, in whose room the murdered woman was found. I particularly enjoyed reading about Jemima Limbury: her background and lifestyle are very different from Cat’s but the situation in which she finds herself is no easier to endure.I’m looking forward to reading more books about James Marwood and Cat Lovett!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed The Fire Court slightly more than the first book in the series, The Ashes of London, which is unusual. The setting of seventeenth-century London is immersive and the book is full of historical detail which is exactly what you'd want from this type of book. It's clear that a lot of work has been put into making sure that things are as historically accurate as possible. I also really liked the plot of this book. It's an engaging story with thrilling plot twists and interesting characters I enjoyed The Fire Court slightly more than the first book in the series, The Ashes of London, which is unusual. The setting of seventeenth-century London is immersive and the book is full of historical detail which is exactly what you'd want from this type of book. It's clear that a lot of work has been put into making sure that things are as historically accurate as possible. I also really liked the plot of this book. It's an engaging story with thrilling plot twists and interesting characters. It's very interesting and clever.Once again, it was the writing style that didn't sit well with me. I did enjoy the differing points of view because it adds variety to the book and it really lets you get to know the characters in the novel. However, some of the language choices seemed a bit odd and the writing was a bit harsh in places. It just seemed to pull me out of the plot because it felt too modern and slightly out of place. Overall, I did like this book. It's wonderfully descriptive with a great setting and interesting characters and it has an exciting plot. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction because it really does have a well thought out setting and it features a lot of historical detail.
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  • Connie
    January 1, 1970
    This is a dark gritty historical fiction full of intrigue that will keep you turning the page. I enjoyed book one The Ashes of London, but I think The Fire Court is even better. James Marwood is the son of a traitor - a man who claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman, James thinks it's just his father's failing mind. But suspicion starts to creep in as he starts to investigate. Marwood eventually turns to Cat Lovett - THe daughter of a despised regicide for help and it's not long before bo This is a dark gritty historical fiction full of intrigue that will keep you turning the page. I enjoyed book one The Ashes of London, but I think The Fire Court is even better. James Marwood is the son of a traitor - a man who claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman, James thinks it's just his father's failing mind. But suspicion starts to creep in as he starts to investigate. Marwood eventually turns to Cat Lovett - THe daughter of a despised regicide for help and it's not long before both their lives are in danger.
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  • 4cats
    January 1, 1970
    Marwood returns in The Fire Court and I must say I enjoyed this more than Ashes of London. Set in 1667, we return to the intrigue of Charles II court and Marwood whose fortunes have improved has the ear of powerful men. When a woman is murdered he is asked to investigate her death which appears to be linked to the Fire Court proceedings, where judgements are made which will lead to the rebuilding of London.This to me had more pace, we learn more of Marwood, getting to know him better as well as Marwood returns in The Fire Court and I must say I enjoyed this more than Ashes of London. Set in 1667, we return to the intrigue of Charles II court and Marwood whose fortunes have improved has the ear of powerful men. When a woman is murdered he is asked to investigate her death which appears to be linked to the Fire Court proceedings, where judgements are made which will lead to the rebuilding of London.This to me had more pace, we learn more of Marwood, getting to know him better as well as Cat who is now aiding the architect Hakesby.Can't wait for the next book!
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  • Joanna Flis
    January 1, 1970
    What I can say - I love it!
  • Roger
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book which I read straight after The Ashes of London.Once again it is very well written and interesting about a period of history of which I know very little. The characters developed nicely in a complex plot and I look forward to reading further books in the series.
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  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Andrew Taylor’s The Ashes of London so I was eagerly looking forward to the next book, The Fire Court set in 1667, eight months after the Great Fire had swept through London. And once again I was immediately transported back in to the 17th century as Londoners set about rebuilding the city.It continues the story of James Marwood, working for Master Williamson, under-secretary to the Secretary of State, and of Cat (Catherine) Lovett, whose father, Thomas Lovett, was one of the Regicides o I loved Andrew Taylor’s The Ashes of London so I was eagerly looking forward to the next book, The Fire Court set in 1667, eight months after the Great Fire had swept through London. And once again I was immediately transported back in to the 17th century as Londoners set about rebuilding the city.It continues the story of James Marwood, working for Master Williamson, under-secretary to the Secretary of State, and of Cat (Catherine) Lovett, whose father, Thomas Lovett, was one of the Regicides of Charles I. It is a standalone novel – you don’t have to have read The Ashes of London to enjoy this book, but I think it helps to understand the background if you do.James’s father, Nathaniel who was a Fifth Monarchist, an extreme Puritan sect, suffers from dementia. The book begins as Nathaniel follows a women he believes is his dead wife and finds a murdered woman. James thinks it is just a product of his deluded mind but when Nathaniel is killed in an accident, run over by a wagon he feels guilty for not believing him. And then a witness to his father’s death tells him that he had seen Nathaniel coming out of an alley leading into Clifford’s Court where the Fire Court was sitting. And the more James thinks about this and makes inquiries, particularly into the work of the Fire Court, he becomes convinced that his father had been telling him the truthThe Fire Court was set up to settle disputes between landowners and tenants as the work of rebuilding and developing London gets underway. Cat, now going under the name of Jane Hakesby works for Simon Hakesby, a surveyor and architect and both are involved in the work of the Fire Court. As you would expect these disputes are complicated and open to intrigue and dishonesty at all levels. James renews his acquaintance with Cat, a spirited independent young woman, and they work together as James tries to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding his father’s death and the identity of the murdered woman.In fact this is one of the most satisfyingly complicated books I’ve read recently, equally as absorbing as The Ashes of London, once again weaving fact and fiction into a complete whole. I love it. Taylor’s research is impressive, bringing to life the complexities of Restoration England, drawing in all levels of society from Charles II, the aristocracy, politicians, to the ordinary people and those living in poverty. I particularly liked all the details of the work of the Fire Court and how London was rebuilt – and once again there is a fire – not as widespread geographically as the Great Fire, but dramatic and with devastating results for James.Many thanks to Harper Collins for a review copy via NetGalley.
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  • Daphne Sharpe
    January 1, 1970
    Best read as a sequel to The Ashes of London, this continues the story of James Marwood and Catherine Lovett, now going by the name of Jane Hakesby, and what happens after the Great Fire of London. We know about Charles II and Restoration England through the accounts of the upper classes and the landed gentry,but precious little about the little people,the servants and artisans who lost their property rights and were reduced to camping out on common ground in the ruined streets of London. The Fi Best read as a sequel to The Ashes of London, this continues the story of James Marwood and Catherine Lovett, now going by the name of Jane Hakesby, and what happens after the Great Fire of London. We know about Charles II and Restoration England through the accounts of the upper classes and the landed gentry,but precious little about the little people,the servants and artisans who lost their property rights and were reduced to camping out on common ground in the ruined streets of London. The Fire Court was set up by the King, to sort out property disputes,freehold and leaseholds in order that the rebuilding of London was not unnecessarily delayed. There were three judges who dealt with these cases and this book concerns the Dragon Yard project. Depending upon who owns the majority of freehold and leasehold properties,would find themselves to be very rich and able to influence the construction of new streets and fireproof houses in London.I learnt much from this book. Just as the Dutch had a code in the language of flowers in the Second World War , there was a code of courtly love as demonstrated through the use and position of face patches, used by courtesan ladies. The mere shape and position of such devices told a man how willing the lady was in matters of love.I would not have wished to be a female in such times however. A lack of rights and to be considered a husbands property, and dependant upon his favour,would irk me. To be married off to a man of position,and then ignored and possibly be usurped by his mistress,that was the fate of those who married into property rich and cash strapped families This book is full of richly researched historical detail. It is an intriguing story and exciting and fast paced. I loved it! I have been eagerly anticipating this sequel, and I was not disappointed .
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  • Trevene Highfield
    January 1, 1970
    London is trying to rebuild itself following the fire and "The Fire Court" was set up to ensure the property leaseholders are treated fairly but the landlords also get a good deal. A large area of property known as Dragon Yard is due before the court with a battle between two developers interested in rebuilding. When the body of a young lady is found in the ruins, James Marwood is instructed to discreetly find out who she is, why she was killed and by whom. James bumps into old friends Mr Hakesb London is trying to rebuild itself following the fire and "The Fire Court" was set up to ensure the property leaseholders are treated fairly but the landlords also get a good deal. A large area of property known as Dragon Yard is due before the court with a battle between two developers interested in rebuilding. When the body of a young lady is found in the ruins, James Marwood is instructed to discreetly find out who she is, why she was killed and by whom. James bumps into old friends Mr Hakesby and Catherine Lovett who now goes by the name of Jane Hakesby and they get drawn into the mystery and their lives put in danger as more bodies are found - all who are connected to Celia Hampney. This is the sequel to "The Ashes of London" and it may help to read that first as it explains the relationship between Marwood, Hakesby and Catherine/Jane which is referred to a few times. A great, gentle paced thriller with a few twists that send you in a different direction.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    He’s done it again. Andrew Taylor has heightened the intrigue, the suspense, and the fascination with the developing characters. The sheer wonderfulness of this book made it a joy for me to read.There are so many reviews out there, so I suggest one reads those if one wants to learn more about the plot. However I didn’t read anything before I started this book and I’m so pleased I didn’t because it allowed me to immerse myself in the reintroduction to the main characters: Cat (now Jane Hakesby) a He’s done it again. Andrew Taylor has heightened the intrigue, the suspense, and the fascination with the developing characters. The sheer wonderfulness of this book made it a joy for me to read.There are so many reviews out there, so I suggest one reads those if one wants to learn more about the plot. However I didn’t read anything before I started this book and I’m so pleased I didn’t because it allowed me to immerse myself in the reintroduction to the main characters: Cat (now Jane Hakesby) and James Marwood, developments of others, in particular Hakesby and Williamson, and wholly new characters and parts of fire gutted London, and of course London is in many senses the main character, with fire, in all its forms being a strong supplementary.If you like historical novels steeped in good research, tales of derring do, and beautifully crafted novels, look no further.Personally I’m waiting for no 3 in the series already!
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  • Tracey
    January 1, 1970
    The sequel to The Ashes of London, The Fire Court is set amidst the aftermath of The Great Fire of London and the rebuilding. While you don't have to read Ashes first, it helps and the story of James Marwood and Catherine Lovett continues and it is nice to have the background and 'relationship' with the main characters.James doesn't believe his father when he tells him of the murdered woman, but when he dies in suspicious circumstances, James is forced to rethink. The more James investigates, th The sequel to The Ashes of London, The Fire Court is set amidst the aftermath of The Great Fire of London and the rebuilding. While you don't have to read Ashes first, it helps and the story of James Marwood and Catherine Lovett continues and it is nice to have the background and 'relationship' with the main characters.James doesn't believe his father when he tells him of the murdered woman, but when he dies in suspicious circumstances, James is forced to rethink. The more James investigates, the further up the conspiracy seems to go. The Fire Court follows James and Cat as they unravel the mystery of his fathers death and the murder he told of.I enjoyed the historical backdrop and politics of the story and the character and plot development. It was a rare sequel that, I felt, was even better than it's first instalment. Hopefully there are more to come.
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  • Fiona
    January 1, 1970
    This sequel to The Ashes of London is a rarity in that it is even better! I love the characters of James and Cat and the time period it is set in. 17th century London is brought to life and current day political intrigues pale into insignificance when compared to the daily struggle to choose your allegiances wisely and one wrong word could see you imprisoned or worse. James and Cat are again drawn together when bodies start turning up once more. I hope there may be more books in this series. My This sequel to The Ashes of London is a rarity in that it is even better! I love the characters of James and Cat and the time period it is set in. 17th century London is brought to life and current day political intrigues pale into insignificance when compared to the daily struggle to choose your allegiances wisely and one wrong word could see you imprisoned or worse. James and Cat are again drawn together when bodies start turning up once more. I hope there may be more books in this series. My thanks to Netgalley for this copy.
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  • Sapna Chamaria
    January 1, 1970
    I had loved ‘Ashes of London ‘ and could not wait to start the sequel. It isn’t necessary to read the prequel but I would highly recommend reading it since it gives us a little more depth to Cat’s character. An interesting sequel indeed.
  • Justin
    January 1, 1970
    I read Andrew Taylor’s first book in this series and loved it. This sequel is equally as good, but noticeably darker and more somber, but few glints of light within. It is a fantastic read though, the final quarter I couldn’t finish quick enough.
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  • Maureen Crothall
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED this book!! I'm so sad I've finished it. I had read the previous book and enjoyed it but this one is just fantastic. I can't wait for the next one, there MUST be a next one.
  • AtiyaZahra Zaidi
    January 1, 1970
    received an ARC of this title today. Will share a review as soon as I finish reading it.
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