#BlogTour The Saracen’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Saracen’s Mark by S.W.Perry.

About the Author

S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. His debut novel, The Angel’s Mark, was listed for the CWA Historical Dagger and was a Walter Scott Prize Academy Recommended Read 2019. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife.

Follow @swperry_history @CorvusBooks on Twitter #TheSaracensMark, on Goodreadson Amazon, swperry.co.ukBuy The Saracen’s Mark

About the book

The third instalment of The Jackdaw Mysteries. A tale of conspiracy, murder and espionage in Elizabethan London and dazzling Marrakesh.

Betrayal has many guises…

London, 1593: Five years on from the Armada and England is taking its first faltering steps towards a future as a global power. Nicholas Shelby – reluctant spy and maverick physician – and his companion Bianca Merton are settling into a life on Bankside. But in London there is always a plot afoot…

Robert Cecil, the Queen’s spymaster, once again recruits Nicholas to embark on a dangerous undercover mission that will take him to the back alleys of Marrakech in search of a missing informer. However, while Nicholas hunts for the truth across the seas, plague returns once more to London – ravaging the streets and threatening those dearest to him.

Can Bianca and Nicholas’ budding relationship weather the threats of pestilence and conspiracy? And will Nicholas survive the dangers of his mission in a hostile city to return safely home?


This is the third book in the Jackdaw Mysteries series, all of which can be read as standalone novels, however I highly recommend reading The Angel’s Mark and The Serpent’s Mark because they are both cracking reads. If you enjoy Sansom’s Shardlake and historical crime fiction then Perry is an excellent choice.

Once again Nicholas Shelby is at the beck and call of Robert Cecil, the notorious spymaster of Elizabeth I. He is driven from his bed in the middle of the night by soldiers, which has his landlady and neighbours doubting his loyalty to the Crown. Robert Cecil does enjoy keeping his minions on their toes.

Cecil wants Shelby to travel to Morocco to learn about the healing and advances in the medical field from fellow physicians. The Muslim physicians hold the secrets of Eastern healing, which combined with Western science could open up a world of different healing. Sounds convincing, right? Yeh, we all know Cecil better than that. In reality he wants Shelby to help find a master spy who disappeared in Marrakech.

It’s a spectacular historical crime read, which I have come to expect from this author.

This time Shelby and Bianca Merton get equal opportunity to shine at detecting, which gives them both greater depth as characters. Perry uses historical facts to drive the crime fiction forward. As a reader you become so immersed in the time period and surroundings that it is easy to forget where you are, which of course is the sign of a great writer. Pulls you in and refuses to let you go.

Although Perry is already receiving plenty of accolades for his work I am certain he is just getting started.

Buy The Saracen’s Mark on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: Corvus; pub date 2 April 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of The Serpent’s Mark and The Angel’s Mark by S.W. Perry.

#BlogTour The Serpent’s Mark by S. W. Perry

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry. It’s historical crime fiction with a riveting set of characters and a persuasive plot.About the Author

S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife.

Follow @swperry_history @CorvusBooks on Twitter #TheSerpentsMark, on Goodreads, on Amazon,

Buy The Serpent’s Mark

About the book

A smart and gripping tale of conspiracy, murder and espionage in Elizabethan London, ideal for fans of CJ Sansom, Rory Clements and SG MacLean.

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when the queen’s spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a dangerous world of zealots, charlatans and fanatics. As their own lives become increasingly at risk, they find themselves confronting the greatest treason of all: the spectre of a bloody war between the faiths…


This is the second book in the Jackdaw Mystery series and it absolutely can be read as a standalone novel. The author gives enough back-info on the previous book to get an understanding of the characters, but without taking over the plot in this one.

Nicholas Shelby finds himself in a rut and without any occupation, after struggling to cope with the death of his wife and child. Once again spymaster Robert Cecil decides to put Shelby to good use by sending him to find out whether the young grandson of his wife’s relative is in danger.

Samuel has the falling sickness (epilepsy) and is being treated by a physician called Arcampora. Shelby knows better than anyone that there is no cure for the illness, so how exactly is Arcampora treating him and why is Samuel’s new stepmother keeping him so isolated from the world?

Simultaneously Bianca is dealing with her cousin Bruno, who appears to be up to no good. He has the kind of secrets that end up with someone’s head being mounted on a stake. The two of them, both Bianca and Nicholas, end up being drawn into the midst of the kind of plot they would rather not be involved in. It’s a case of wanting to help others ends up with them being at the forefront of spy-games and dangerous controversial secrets.

Side-note: The whole trepanning practice might have made me wince here and there, and as if the story wasn’t enough to conjure up horrific images of heads and holes, and holes in heads, well the Author’s note absolutely sealed the deal where that is concerned.

I can say without a doubt that I would pick up a S.W. Perry and eagerly await a new Jackdaw Mystery featuring Nicholas Shelby, just a much as I would a book by Sansom, and I love a Shardlake. Perry absolutely deserves the same kind of recognition for his compelling Jackdaw series.

It’s historical crime fiction with a riveting set of characters and persuasive plot. I look forward to seeing where Perry takes this series next.

Buy The Serpent’s Mark ( The Jackdaw Mysteries #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Corvus; pub date 6th June 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Angel’s Mark by S.W. Perry

#BlogTour The Angel’s Mark by S.W. Perry

It’s my turn on the BlogTour for The Angel’s Mark by S.W. Perry. It’s an intricately plotted piece of historical detective fiction. This author is one to keep an eye on.

About the Author

S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife and two spaniels.

Follow @swperry_history @CorvusBooks on Twitter #TheAngelsMark

Buy The Angel’s Mark

About the book

A fantastic, high class debut murder mystery set in Elizabethan London.

LONDON, 1590. Queen Elizabeth I’s control over her kingdom is wavering. Amidst a tumultuous backdrop of Spanish plotters, Catholic heretics and foreign wars threatening the country’s fragile stability, the body of a small boy is found in the City of London, with strange marks that no one can explain.

When idealistic physician Nicholas Shelby finds another body displaying the same marks only days later, he becomes convinced that a killer is at work, preying on the weak and destitute of London.

Determined to find out who is behind these terrible murders, Nicholas is joined in his investigations by Bianca, a spirited tavern keeper. But when their inquiries lead them to the fearsome attentions of the powerful Robert Cecil, Nicholas is forced into playing to Cecil’s agenda, and becoming a spy…

As more bodies are discovered, the pair find themselves caught in the middle of a sinister plot. With the killer still at large, and Bianca in terrible danger, Nicholas’s choice seems impossible – to save Bianca, or save himself…


Most periods in English history are darkened by either war, conflicts about the who sits on the throne, and of course religion. The Elizabethan era is no exception, and is defined not only by the strong female monarch, but also by the religious friction caused by Henry VIII and his merry-go-round of wives and mistresses.

Heresy is a felony, and there are plenty of people willing to whisper in the ears of the authorities to rid themselves of someone they dislike or feel slighted by. A dangerous time when you consider the punishment doesn’t in any way fit the crime or the alleged crime. Torture, death, healers being burnt at the stake for witchcraft. Denouncements are a sign of the times.

The main character is a physician called Nicholas Shelby, who finds evidence of a murder, but there is a lack of interest in his discovery. Before he can find out why a crippled child has been thrown in the river like trash, he suffers a horrific personal tragedy that changes his entire outlook on life.

Gone is the curious man of science, the man dedicated to healing and understanding diseases. Faded is the husband and the admired man of the medical community. A chance encounter draws him back into the world of a ruthless killer, who goes unseen because the destitute and homeless are invisible. Nobody notices when the expendable members of society turn up dead.

Perry writes a good mystery. It’s a slow burner, however I personally think it’s exactly the right way to go when it comes to historical fiction. The ambience, surroundings and historical context set the stage for a murder story, which is hopefully just the beginning for Nicholas Shelby. Hint, hint, write another one.

It’s definitely reminiscent of C.J. Sansom, but with more of a Ken Follett pace, meticulous plotting and a Frankenstein Chronicles vibe. Perry has definitely made his mark with this book. Intricate plotting with authentic characters and the potential for further ventures into the life of the heartbroken physician make this a great read.

Buy The Angel’s Mark at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

The Angel's Mark Blog Tour poster