It’s the autumn of 1664, Charles II has been on the throne for four years and London is busy enjoying the Restoration, but behind the façade of sumptuous buildings and jollity, the rats are gathering and plots are being hatched, which can only mean that a period of darkness is looming. Gentleman spy, Thomas Chaloner, who returns for his seventh investigation, has been recalled from his posting in Tangier by his employer, the Earl of Clarendon. He must enquire into a spate of thefts from the site where the Earl’s new home is being built. Initially Chaloner deems the thefts to be harmless, but when death threats are made against Clarendon’s architect, a rather odious little man by the name of Roger Pratt, it seems possible that the two may be linked. Chaloner is charged with the tasks of finding out who is behind the thefts and protecting Pratt, who views the threats as nothing more than confirmation of his own brilliance. This is quite a weighty tome but an extremely easy book to get into, especially if historical crime fiction is your thing. It hits the ground running, keeps up the momentum and is nailbitingly excellent.