The seedy underworld of London in 1554 is explored through the eyes of Jack Blackjack, who wakes up behind a pub next to a dead body, while holding the bloody murder weapon. He recalls robbing a patron of his purse and finds it lying beside him, empty, aside from a cryptic note sewn into the lining. Jack finds his world turned upside down as the cutpurses he lives with lose trust in him, since people who cross paths with him are being murdered. He needs to stay ahead of the killer while trying to know who to trust with the mysterious note.
The novel, set after the deaths of Edward VI and Lady Jane Grey, is a murder mystery that brings in the politics of the era. Mary Tudor sits on her shaky throne, and the men who have religious and political clout are as dangerous as the criminals. The story follows a multitude of characters as the city faces irregular volunteers battling with the rebels through the streets. This story is a good mystery for lovers of politics and history. I found it to be a bit rough around the edges, which fits with the characters. The author certainly knows his period.