In 1799, he returns to London in search of his sweetheart, Eileen Dineen. It seems that Eileen has abandoned her old political ways and is now living with a powerful aristocrat, Saffronetti.
As soon as this wealthy man, a vicious castrato with an opium addiction, hears of Tom's return he orders his sadistic henchman, Mr Sticks, to kill his rival.
So begins a romp of a novel which vividly brings the sights and sounds of London to life.
Dark River Melody by M D Murphy was published by Cutting Edge Press on 7 May 2015.
I'm so happy to welcome Josie from the fabulous blog JaffaReadsToo today. Josie is a huge fan of historical fiction and when I received a review copy of Dark River Melody, I just know that she was the perfect person to do a guest review for me.
Here's Josie's thoughts about the novel:
Transported to the penal colony in Botany Bay for the printing of seditious pamphlets, Tom Gobey returns to London, in 1799, after an absence of seven years.
Seven long years, during which he dreamt longingly of his sweetheart, Eileen Dineen, and of the city of London, the place he called home. But his return to the city of his birth is fraught with danger and his search for Eileen takes him into a very dark and dirty underworld, where life is cheap and danger lurks on every street corner.
The dark and dismal alleyways of eighteenth century London come alive in the hands of this talented writer, who with clever imagery conjures a world of corruption, wickedness and exploitation on a grand scale.
The pace of the novel is fast and furious, and in his quest to find Eileen, Tom faces all sorts of terrible hardships, all of which constantly challenge his safety. And his safety is most surely threatened by the very aptly named Mr Sticks, a debt collector, who pursues Tom with a vengeance, and whose very name strikes dread into the heart of all those who come into his vile presence.
Throughout the story I had a real sense of being transported back in time. The very essence of the novel crinkles with a brooding menace, and the author has done a really good job of maintaining this dark and gloomy atmosphere throughout the whole of the novel.
The sights, sounds and smells of Georgian London are frighteningly realistic, so much so, I had to keep looking up from the story to remind myself that I lived in a much brighter and, hopefully, safer world than the one Tom and Eileen inhabited.
I thought that the conclusion of the novel was nicely achieved and would, if the author so desired, lend itself really nicely into a continuation of the story. I know that should the writer ever decide to publish a sequel to Dark River Melody, I would be very glad to read it.
My thanks to Anne for inviting me to guest review this book for her excellent blog and to the author and Cutting Edge Press for sharing Dark River Melody with me.
Thanks so much for another wonderful review Josie, my thanks too to Cutting Edge Press who sent the copy for review.
M. D. Murphy comes from the London-Irish community.
He has a PhD in English Literature from Lancaster University, and an MA in Indian Religion and Philosophy from the University of London.
His academic essays have been published in The Coleridge Bulletin andRomanticism.
His poetry has appeared in many publications, including Staple and Poetry Ireland Review.
He works as a freelance editor helping experienced and aspiring writers to develop their work.
His services are available at mindfulmetta.com.
Dark River Melody is his first novel.