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06-Jun-2017 00:36

In the present our narrator inherits a ramshackle and strange house in an unnaturally blighted bit of Clerkenwell.He soon learns, by choice and by force, of it's, and his own, strange past.It's the fashion with historical novels these days to purport to be true stories, and this one's no exception.It claims to be the memoir of the author's six-times-great-grandfather Jeremiah Mount as he rises and falls through the history of the 17th Century.So for the city of my birth I'm taking a different tack from the others.My attitude to London can't help but be different from my awed love of the charms of Venice and Florence.

The tendency here is towards books which reflect my personal London, and my taste for the hidden and the dark, in literature if not in life, and for the recurrent idea of London as a place of hidden routes and personal maps.From Milton in 1666 the story hops to 1777 and William Blake, and up to 1999 and a programmer working to fix the millennium bug.There's also a Jack the Ripper strand set in 1888, which is gruesome we need any more novels (graphic and otherwise) and films dealing with this well-worked 'mystery'?It's worth persevering, though, as the story is gripping - despite the fact that we know how it ends - and the detail dense.

Things Elizabethan were, a couple of years back, hot, the films Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love (which features Marlowe, played by Rupert Everett), and all.(They stretch from1142 to 1895, but the most famous freezings were in the 17th and 18th Centuries so I've put my review here, near another frozen Thames story.) The stories reflect their times, of course, with early tales of royal conflict and rural concerns shading into tales of London Bridge residents and various attenders of the Frost Fairs.