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The Fatal Tree

The Fatal Tree (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Read our exclusive interview with Jake Arnott





London, the 1720s. Welcome to 'Romeville', the underworld of that great city. The financial crash caused by the South Sea Bubble sees the rise of Jonathan Wild, self-styled 'Thief-taker General' who purports to keep the peace while brutally controlling organised crime. Only two people truly defy him: Jack Sheppard, apprentice turned house-breaker, and his lover, the notorious whore and pickpocket Edgworth Bess. From the condemned cell at Newgate, Bess gives her account of how she and Jack formed the most famous criminal partnership of their age: a tale of lost innocence and harsh survival, passion and danger, bold exploits and spectacular gaol-breaks - and of the price they paid for rousing the mob of Romeville against its corrupt master. Bess dictates her narrative to Billy Archer, a Grub Street hack and aspiring poet who has rubbed shoulders with Defoe and Swift. But he also inhabits that other underworld of 'molly-houses' and 'unnameable sin', and has his own story of subterfuge, treachery and doomed romance to deliver. As the gallows casts its grim shadow, who will live to escape the Fatal Tree? By the acclaimed author of THE LONG FIRM, this is a tour de force; inventive, atmospheric and rich in the street slang of the era. Drawing on real figures and a true history of crime, punishment and rough justice, it tells a heartbreaking story of love and betrayal.



Fiction & PoetryHistorical Fiction Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division Publication Date: 23/02/2017 ISBN-13: 9781473637740  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Jake Arnott was born in 1961, and lives in London. He is the author of the THE LONG FIRM, published by Sceptre in 1999 and subsequently made into an acclaimed BBC TV series. His second novel, HE KILLS COPPERS, was also made into a series by Channel 4. He has since published the novels TRUECRIME, JOHNNY COME HOME, THE DEVIL'S PAINTBRUSH and THE HOUSE OF RUMOUR.

See our Author Page for Jake Arnott

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Customer Reviews

The Fatal Tree is the story of Edgworth Bess, a sex worker and criminal in the 1700s who after falling from grace gets mixed up in the war between gang leaders or prig-nappers. The story begins as Bess awaits trial, told by an initially unnamed narrator who shares as much of his story as hers. Bess' narrative is thick with the language (Flash) of the street - don't worry there is a glossary!! - and it's clear that author Jake Arnott thoroughly researched the time and the people who pepper the story - many of whom are real criminals!! This is a slow burn novel of life among criminals and hidden LGBTQ society. I really think you should pick up this excellent, rich novel. Thank you to Sceptre & Hodder for sharing this with me early. What a treat!!

- 28/12/2016
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Staff Choice

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A rollicking tale that throws you right into the heart of the eighteenth century demi- monde. Marvel at the scandalous tale of Edgworth Bess and wonder at the misdeeds of her associates. As the miscreants are punished for their crimes, ask yourself if you can't find some pity for their plight, even, dare I say, a little tenderness for those laid so low. Studded through with the flash language of the underworld, this is a dimber book indeed, my nabs!

Sarah, Web Team

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 25/01/2017

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