Bestselling historical fiction author Bernard Cornwell has taken some time out of his hugely successful Sharpe series and his new Holy Grail series to release a novel that in no way has any bearing on the two series. Gallows Thief is set in the early nineteenth century, where a man is on trial for his life for a crime he did not commit; the gallows hangs heavy, waiting for his soft neck; there is only one man who can save him.
Rider Sandman is that man, and slowly he must retrace his steps, pick up clues and investigate for the low pay he gets from the English government, much like a Sherlock Holmes or modern-day detective case, except this is nineteenth century London and certain articles are not so easy to come by, while questions cannot be so easily asked and certainly not always answered. But the clock is ticking for our ill-charged victim and the noose at Newgate awaits. Cornwell weaves together a flamboyant and detailed picaresque picture of nineteen century London and England, as well as giving insight into how things truly were back then and how the sport of cricket was just as important as it is today.
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Originally published in July/August 2002.
Originally published in the Long Beach Union.