The Raven’s Seal

Written by Andrei Baltakmens
Review by Diane Scott Lewis

Gentleman Thaddeus Grainger idles his days, wasting his fortune, in 1776 England. One evening in a notorious tap-room he sees his nemesis, Mr. Massingham, manhandle Cassie, a decent young woman. Grainger rises to her defense, inciting the other’s ire, and a duel is fought. The duel is inconclusive after Grainger is injured. The following morning, Massingham is found stabbed and Grainger is arrested for his murder. To his shock, he’s convicted and confined to gaol.

With the help of his friend and Cassie, Grainger unravels the charges against him. This evidence will lead to corruption, bribery, and a dangerous rogue known as the Black Claw. Grainger evolves from a feckless youth to a determined man bent on proving his innocence. The author’s exquisite prose rushes along full of surprises, shadows, betrayal, and squalid situations where the high-born and criminals intermix. A superb mystery with vibrant characters.