From the Tea-BookShelf of Stephanie Dodaro
To be quite honest, this one took me a while to hook me. I am not sure why that was so, since it is a very exciting and interesting book. The first few pages did in fact grab me, and then somewhere in the next few chapters I just found myself wanting the story to get moving. After several attempts to get back into it and putting it down again, somewhere towards the middle I finally got hooked again and cruised through the rest of it. It is a rather complicated story, with so many characters not seeming to be who they say they are, lots of shadowy figures running through the night, a lot of lies, deception, espionage, eavesdropping, and one is never quite sure who is on whose side, who is working for whom and whom to trust. With that in mind, never assume you know where this story is going. Never assume you know who the bad guys are, even the good guys may appear to be double agents, too.
The story is set in 1722 London, with a man the other characters call the “thieftaker”, Benjamin Weaver. He is a master of disguise, and often hired by others to settle scores, reclaim debts and such. He is forced by trickery into serving a man by the name of Jerome Cobb, to some mysterious ends for purposes which remain throughout the book quite suspicious to Weaver. He is left with no option to serve and fulfill the orders of Cobb because his friends and uncle are threatened with prison by Cobb, and yet Weaver’s doubts and suspicions push him to withhold information until he is sure of the man he is serving. This is a delicate balance when considering the great power Cobb is wielding. This intrigue centers around the British East India company (the devil’s company as it is so called within the story), and plans to expand making it eventually a very powerful company. There is some resistance among the silk weavers of the country who felt their trade was being undercut by the imported cloth from India. Their fears were about the enrichment of a company costing the country in native British cloth.
With the twisting and turning of the plot, the necessity to keep track of what is being told and what is hidden, aliases and secret identities, it is a complex story and requires a careful read. Overall it is enjoyable, but for me it was a bit political and focused heavily on the business side of the Company and the consequences it will have on the economy of the country, not really a topic that holds my attention. Also It is not a book you can read at the same time as others, like I usually do, and because I put it down several times, there were details I had forgotten. It does appear that this may be one of a series, but it does not seem necessary to read them all or even in order.I will only be able to give this 3.5 stars, as it was too slow to start and too heavy on business. Not a bad book, just not maybe my book.