Title: The Bloodless Boy
Author: Robert J. Lloyd
Genre: Historical Thriller
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication Date: 14th July 2022 (paperback)
The City of London, 1678. New Year’s Day. The body of a young boy, drained of his blood and with a sequence of numbers inscribed on his skin, is discovered on the snowy bank of the Fleet River. With London gripped by hysteria, where rumors of Catholic plots and sinister foreign assassins abound, Sir Edmund Bury Godfrey, the powerful Justice of Peace for Westminster, is certain of Catholic guilt in the crime. He enlists Robert Hooke, the Curator of Experiments of the Royal Society, and his assistant, Harry Hunt, to help his enquiry. Sir Edmund confides to Hooke that the bloodless boy is not the first to have been discovered. He also presents Hooke with a cipher that was left on the body. That same morning Henry Oldenburg, the Secretary of the Royal Society, blows his brains out. A disgraced Earl is released from the Tower of London, bent on revenge against the King, Charles II. Wary of the political hornet’s nest they are walking into – and using evidence rather than paranoia in their pursuit of truth – Hooke and Hunt must discover why the boy was murdered, and why his blood was taken. Moreover, what does the cipher mean?
I absolutely love a good historical mystery – especially one as rich in detail as The Bloodless Boy. The story begins in post-restoration London, 1678, with the discovery of the corpse of a young boy on the bank of Fleet River mysteriously entirely drained of blood. The Justice of Peace of Westminster enlists Robert Hooke and Harry Hunt from The Royal Society to uncover the truth about the bloodless boy and the strange cipher inscribed on his skin.
This is one of those evocative and pleasingly complex mysteries that is a joy to sink into. The language feels authentic and the city of London, still in a period of upheaval and mistrust, is brought to life exceptionally well. I found the characters compelling if not always likeable. The mystery itself, and how it fits into the hysteria and paranoia of the time, is fascinating. The Bloodless Boy is the kind of book that requires investment and concentration but as a reader you will be rewarded. I also just have to mention how absolutely stunning the hardback I was sent is – gorgeous endpapers and magnificent deckled edges! The paperback version is beautiful too! I highly recommend!
Huge thank you to Nikki from Melville House Publishing for having me on the tour and for the beautiful hardback. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
Buy the book: