The Devil’s Game
The fire that swept through the Parliament of London in 1834 is the opening salvo in this tale of politics and power. Because of it, a by-election is required in the quiet little town of Bellminster. Various factions seek a replacement and adopt various tactics to promote their candidate and undermine the others. A riot breaks out, and a murder follows.
Rev. Tuckworth, dean of the cathedral, decides to investigate—a good choice since he is apolitical, nosy, bright and in contact with members of the different social classes. He is a complex man and through him, Holland allows us to slip unobtrusively into the past and observe the universal workings of men tempted by power, the links between social unrest and politics, and how they affect everyone, voter or not, in any time period. Not only do we get in-depth glimpses of that society, but each member has an inner life and motivation that contribute to the events. The story starts with a bang, yet manages to build into a crescendo that will hook the reader right until the very end.