The Great Fire has ravaged London, wreaking destruction and devastation wherever its flames spread. Now, guided by the incorruptible Fire Court, the city is slowly rebuilding, but times are volatile and danger is only ever a heartbeat away.
James Marwood, son of a traitor, is thrust into this treacherous environment when his ailing father claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder …?
Determined to uncover the truth, Marwood turns to the one person he can trust – Cat Lovett, the daughter of a despised regicide. Marwood has helped her in the past. Now it’s her turn to help him. But then comes a third death … and Marwood and Cat are forced to confront a vicious and increasingly desperate killer whose actions threaten the future of the city itself.
The Fire Court is the second book in the Marwood and Lovett series and it follows on immediately from The Ashes of London where the great fire has finally been extinguished but now London is faced with the costly task of rebuilding. While Marwood struggles to serve two masters, his father’s mental health deteriorates further to the point Marwood doesn’t believe his garbled account of having witnessed a woman being murdered. When Nathaniel Marwood is then killed in an accident, Marwood is plunged into grief which is further compounded by guilt when the body of a woman is found in the ruins. Compelled to uncover the truth, Marwood is drawn into a dark tale of revenge which will put his life in grave danger.
I feel like Marwood has had a personality change in this book, mainly because he is so rude to everyone around him and that’s before he is plunged into grief by his father’s death. While caring for his father undoubtedly puts a strain on his own wellbeing, it doesn’t excuse his behaviour towards Margaret and Sam who have been nothing but loyal to him. Marwood behaves so insufferably at times, I really lost sympathy for his character early on. Marwood also experiences a life changing injury in this novel which is going to affect how people perceive him so it will be interesting to see whether it makes him even more bitter or if it proves to be a humbling experience.
Catherine Lovett is drawn into the murder investigation, although she is still hiding under the identity of Jane Hakesby and keen not to draw undue attention to herself. Marwood and Catherine continue to walk on eggshells around each other but they are at least starting to move forward with their friendship at least. Catherine’s situation is still precarious and I hope it gets resolved soon as it really hampers her as a character.
The pace of the novel is as slow as the first one so if you like your thrillers packed full of action, then this probably isn’t for you. I did struggle with this one though because I couldn’t really build any sort of interest in the main plot or most of the characters. However, the setting is just as mesmerising as the first one and the attention to detail is incredible.