Limehouse Boys

Written by Patrick G. Cox
Review by Joanna Urquhart

The poor parish of St Anne’s in London’s 1830s Limehouse district forms the backdrop for Patrick Cox’s latest novel, Limehouse Boys, which follows a couple of tense plot-lines to their dramatic convergence.

In one plot-line, twelve-year-old orphan, Ned Farrier, is committed to Shadwell Workhouse and falls under the corrupt control of Beadle Hewlett, who uses the boys in his charge in a variety of criminal enterprises. Another of the book’s plots involves Mick Howell, a former Master’s Mate of the Royal Navy, who is determined to take vengeance on Beadle Hewlett and his gang for the suffering they caused his brother.

In a very lively and fast-paced story, Cox weaves these plots together into a satisfyingly dramatic narrative, and a believably detailed portrait of the now-vanished world of London barge-men.

Ned Farrier and Mick Howell are interesting characters, and the large cast of secondary characters are equally well-presented.

A solid, enjoyable read.