The much anticipated sequel to The Bitter Trade.
Scatterwood Synopsis :
SEVEN YEARS’ SERVITUDE.
SEVEN DAYS TO SAVE HIS FAMILY
Jamaica, March 1692. Calumny Spinks is forced to spy for the Crown and help prevent an invasion of England. He’s sent to the Caribbean to pose as an indentured servant, but his best friend Ty brands him with the mark of a runaway and sells him to a brutal plantation overseer.
To win his family’s freedom, Cal must kill Lord Montalbion, the most powerful man in the Caribbean. He forges an alliance with the Maroons, escaped slaves whose plans for Cal could ruin everything – and meanwhile, a bloody civil war looms.
It was hard not to be swept up by Piers Alexander’s debut novel, The Bitter Trade, a rollicking good yarn fueled by mystery and deception at every turn — top quality historical adventure fiction. So I had been looking forward to seeing what trouble Alexander’s wily protagonist Calumny Spinks could get himself out of in this sequel Scatterwood.
Despite his tenacity and resourcefulness, a few years on from where we last left him things are getting pretty dire in London for Calumny and those he cares about. While Calumny’s word is good, unfortunately the same cannot be said for those in the various establishments vying for power. He quickly finds himself in a mortal bind on an island halfway around the world.
I could see far out into the valley we’d been climbing: all the way to the sea, where Port Royal’s lights winked faintly. Jamaica’s mountains enclosed me on the other sides, lush and beautiful in the dimming day, and the sea breeze calmed my thoughts. I thought to myself that, mission or no mission, I could find my way back to the port if I had to. I could survive.
The Bitter Trade was not for the faint of heart, with the violence, the bawdiness, the squalor and even the smells of the time as though in high resolution – the same is true of Scatterwood. Alexander masterfully brings to life the Caribbean location and pulls-no-punches in his depiction of the incomprehensibly poor treatment of slaves and indentured servants at that time.
Calumny’s largely solo quest for survival in such hardened circumstances presented fewer opportunities for mischief and humour than The Bitter Trade. However Alexander’s artful descriptions of people,
I made for the door, but the gentleman barred my way. Fine greying hair peeped out from under his silver periwig; his strutting legs and puffed shoulders put me in mind of a stork. His small dark eyes were ill at ease with each other. One peered at me above his spectacles, while the other drooped down to the list of names he was clutching.
along with his protagonist’s steely presence of mind and fighting spirit,
All wealth is built on mud. One day this island’s vines and weeds would split the boards above my head, reach up through the staircase, and pull the walls down. Holding out the flame, I stepped carefully over the seedling. I would do nothing to delay that glorious revolution.
makes Scatterwood an engaging and compelling historical adventure.
If you’ve not yet made the acquaintance of Piers Alexander’s little red-headed battler ‘Calumny Spinks’, I recommend beginning with The Bitter Trade.
BOOK RATING: The Story 3.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
Genre: Action-Adventure, Historical, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
About the Author, Piers Alexander
Piers Alexander was born in England but brought up in Luxembourg in a 1970s, expat society. After his return to Britain, and the ensuing culture shock, he studied Politics and imagined himself President-for-life of the entire world. Fortunately, he started meeting girls instead. This led to him meeting the most interesting of all girls, Rebecca, and marriage followed five years later. Along with a dog called Lulu.
After the requisite years as a wage-slave, he quit his job at 30, borrowed some money and began a short stint in corporate life. But he’s jacked much of that in so that he can dedicate himself to time-travel via words. It’s taken a little longer than he thought. It was harder than he thought. He got way more broke than he had ever considered possible. And it has been the best time of his life. The Bitter Trade is the first book in the series, Scatterwood the second.
- Interview with Henry Hyde: ‘Writing Insights: Six of the best with Piers Alexander‘
- WH Smith’s Fresh Talent of the Year Award, 2015 & 2017
Other reviews of Scatterwood
* My receiving a copy of Scatterwood from the author for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.