Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ratcatcher (Matthew Hawkwood, #1)” as Want to Read:
Ratcatcher (Matthew Hawkwood, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Ratcatcher (Matthew Hawkwood #1)

by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  671 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Regency London is vividly brought to live in this extraordinary page-turner, the first in a series of historical thrillers featuring Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood - a complex and fascinating hero. Hunting down highwaymen was not the usual preserve of a Bow Street Runner. As the most resourceful of this elite band of investigators, Matthew Hawkwood was surprised to be ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published February 2006 by Harper (first published January 1st 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ratcatcher, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ratcatcher

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,410)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dawn (& Ron)
I really enjoyed this Regency historical adventure with impossible, but fun, near escapes. But there is also some meat to go along with the adventure, from the filthy, fetid stench of London's overcrowded streets and back alleys to the regimented broad shoulders of the Admiralty. Matthew Hawkwood is a strong, capable Bow Street Runner, soldier and spy, with a touch of danger about him. The catch phrase on the cover sums him up nicely "You don't send a gentleman to catch vermin. You send Hawkwood ...more
LJ
RATCATCHER (Bow Street Runner-London-Napoleonic) – G
McGee, James – 1st in series
HarperCollins, 2006-Hardcover
***Matthew Hawkwood, a former soldier and a sharpshooter, is now one of ten Bow Street Runners. When Highwaymen stop a coach and kill a government courier, Hawkwood is called in to find them. In time, he finds what he is really seeking is the contents of the couriers pouch and those behind a plot to destroy the strength of England’s war fleet.
*** Hawkwood, for all this reputation as a top
...more
Laura
Just arrived from UK through BM.

This is a historical and mystery novel which is based on the Regency London.



The most interesting part of this book is showing the first attempt of the construction of an undersea boat by Robert Fulton, in December of 1799.



The idea of this American inventor was to use his weapon by the French government a giant the British Navy after Bonaparte fall.



The Nautilus was then built at the Perrier workshop in Rouen and was successfully tested and sailed first in July 18

...more
Deanne
Really enjoyed this story. It moves at a cracking pace and I found that I couldn't put it down. The hero is a deep character and I only hope to get to know him more with each book. It's set in the regency period of London with a lot of the action taking part in the slums and back alleys. The story has a number of twists and turns. The final scene was a great ending to the tale.
Wanda
Oct 04, 2014 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Geevee
4 OCT 2014 -- Note: in U.S., this is titled Hawkwood.
Vivienne

A very satisfying historical mystery/thriller and a very promising start to this series set in Regency England.

I adore the name Hawkwood, it being the surname of one of my original characters, and so obviously enjoyed the story of Matthew Hawkwood, a skilled thief-taker for the Bow Street Runners.

McGee does an excellent job with the setting and you can tell he understands the history and culture of the period and can convey that well to his readers.
Monica
If i could give it 2 1/2 stars I would. It was not bad, just not a series I will continue anytime soon.
David
You don’t send a gentleman to catch vermin. You send Hawkwood.

Ratcatcher while being quite enjoyable is a ‘Goldfinger’ book. Have you ever watched Goldfinger? Have you noticed that James Bond doesn’t really do anything. He falls into nearly every trap, and in the end, one of the other characters (Pussy Galore) saves the day. Okay, Bond was the catalyst for Pussy’s change of allegiances, but really Bond didn’t do to much. That brings us to Ratcatcher by James McGee.

Ratcatcher is a historical adve
...more
David
I picked this book up for something like 99p in a Clearance sale in my local WH Smiths, and I have to say: it actually proved to be a better read than many other books that I've paid full price for.

Set during the late Regency period, this is the era of the Napoleonic Wars, Affairs of Honour (i.e. forbidden duels), Highwaymen and the Bow Street Runners. Starting with the robbery of a coach, this builds up into a plot surrounding a (historically correct) invention that agents of France hope to use
...more
Jesstme
In case the one star did not give it away, here are a few things I suggest rather than reading this book:

Jumping into the Thames.
Removing your own fingernails.
Inviting the Westboro Church over for dinner.
Reading Fifty Shades of Gray Freed. Not just the sex scenes - ALL OF IT.

I know that can seem harsh, but let me explain.

This books seemed to have it all - mystery, adventure and history! It had clever little turns of common modern phrases (It's Greek to me >> it could have been in Hindusta
...more
Hazel West
This book wasn't really bad, but it wasn't horribly great or original either. It was an entertaining enough read, and was interesting enough for me to get to the end, but apart from that, I really don't have all that much to say about it.

I love the concept of the Bow Street Runners, and I must admit that I was a little disappointed that apart from the fact that Hawkood is one, we really didn't learn all that much about them. They were an awesome elite police force, almost like the Pinkertons, an
...more
Mick
In Ratcatcher, author James McGee introduces us to Matthew Hawkwood, one of the bow-street runners who kept law and order on the streets of regency-era London. A former rifleman and guerilla in the Pensinsular war, Matthew Hawkwood is tough, ruthless, and always ready for action.

The story begins with the murder of a naval courier by highwaymen, which Hawkwood is commissioned to investigate. From the beginning it looks like more than highway robbery gone wrong and, as these things usually do, the
...more
James
I read this over a week ago and to be honest I only have the barest and briefest opinion of it; which I suppose speaks volumes about it.

While it was not a piss-poor book, and certainly was worth the read, it was not original and failed to really captivate. It was very reminiscent of Sharpe, even down to Hawkwood's description ( the scar, and the way his smile 'transforms his face') and his history in the rifles. It felt as if he was taking Sharpe and putting him into a new line of work - as a Bo
...more
Katrina Carrasco
This was a fun read. It takes place in the same time period as Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels (which are probably my favorite books ever). O'Brian's books give us a naval viewpoint; McGee's book is land-centered, following a London cop (but there's plenty of nautical intrigue in McGee's story, too, which I enjoyed). The descriptions of all the city urchins and criminals and the various ways they scrape out a living were great; I especially liked learning the names for different unlawful ...more
Nick Smith
‘Ratcatcher’ is an easy read, for that I liked it. It had intrigue and brought to life the dirt and scum of Regency London. I enjoyed it so much I read both sequels ‘Resurrectionist’ and ‘Rapscallion’.

The only thing that stops me from rating this as four stars is the blatant rip off from Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Sharpe’ series. The author even expressed some concern of the similarities between his Hawkwood and Cornwell’s Sharpe. So why the hell didn’t he change it? Here are a few examples so you know
...more
Irena
The prologue sets the dark tone for the whole book. The two highwaymen who robbed the coach killed a coachman and an officer in cold blood. One of them even cut off the officer's hand.
And that is the case Matthew Hawkwood, an ex-army officer and now one of the best Bow Street Runners, is assigned to solve.

I loved how the hero is introduced. Two urchins pick-pocketed some officers and then ran to the place they live. Mother Gant lets them live with her as long as they bring whatever they steal.
...more
A.M.
Hawkwood initially reminded me of Sharpe from the Bernard Cornwell novels, and after some more reading, he almost is Sharpe. He is in the same regiment - the 95th Rifles, he is a marksman, he has a loyal sergeant who saves his life periodically, he thinks with his dick and he has a knack for getting into trouble.

I read some comments that the characters didn’t behave like Regency people, I would say that McGee is writing a book set in Regency times, not writing like a Regency novelist. Do they re
...more
Bee
The Hawkwood series can get a little grimdark in its depiction of Regency London, but it's also a super engaging read! Maybe just don't read it right before bedtime.

Matthew Hawkwood, a former soldier and a sharpshooter, is now one of ten Bow Street Runners. When Highwaymen stop a coach and kill a government courier, Hawkwood is called in to find them. In time, he finds what he is really seeking are the contents of the couriers pouch and those individuals behind a deadly political plot...
Tom
A very well written historical mystery taking place in Regency London. Features a Bow Street runner, secret agents, traitors, clock makers and submarines. The descriptions of the London slums were vivid and real. The history of Robert Fulton's submersible was very fascinating and engrossing. An incredible amount of research went into making this book. Many events were based on actual people and events even certain details are accurate according to available historical records. Well done.
Beausephus
You know what's better than a mediocre Jack Reacher novel? A creatively mediocre Jack Reacher novel set in the slums of a London moired in the napoleonic conflict. Matthew Hawkwood is a former soldier, turned deserter, turned guerilla mercenary now serving in an elite all purpose "detective" unit - the Bow Street Runners. While the fun of this book is in the how the modern action/detective/mystery tropes are played out in a very familiar historical setting, the book reaches a bit too far trying ...more
Megan
Something to read to pass the time, but nothing engrossing. I had no problem putting it down if there was something else of interest to do. Storyline was decent, characters a little flat, and the title was a smidge misleading. Hawkwood is one of many Bow Street runners, which are basically cops of the slums. Though he is seen as the best one there, it's not like it's him against the city or anything.
Shelley Fearn
Hey, this is a book about Richard Sharpe's brother! You remember Richard Sharpe from Bernard Cornwell's excellent series of books about the officer of the 95th Rifles who Wellington raised from the ranks.

There are a lot of similarities in this the first books of the series about a Bow Street Runner. Matthew Hawkwood is a former officer of the 95th Rifles, who following a duel, is wisked off to become one of Wellington's exploring officers. Now, out of the army he has turned his many manly skil
...more
Rupert Matthews
A brilliant holiday read for any male, though I guess the women will find it lacking. A great romp through Georgian London with lots of action, chases, fights, intrigue, plot twists and the like. The characters were great and the story line enjoyable. Recommended for anyone who wants a bit of light weight historical action.
Barb
I really enjoy historical fiction especially the Regency period in England. Unfortunately this book didn't impress me like it did everyone else.

I was an easy read with a somewhat straightforward story unencumbered by a variety of story lines, which is perhaps part of why I was disappointed.

The main character, Matthew Hawkwood, wasn't developed enough for me to really sink into the story. And it was plenty long enough to develop him. I will say I did enjoy his relationship with Sergeant Nathani
...more
Colin Powell
Unusual story of a Bow Street Runner in 1810. He is a discharched Green jacket from Britain's famous rifle regiment of the Peninsular War. An ex-officer. He now works in London as one of the new types of policeman and is charged with solving a highway robberry in which a government official is murdered and robbed of valuble information concerning national security.

Our Bow Street Runner (Matthew Hawkwood) is taken into a world of espionage with French secret agents and a villinous American who i
...more
Jeff Frane
A very promising start to a new (to me) series, set in early 19th Century London. Matthew Hawkwood is one of the Bow Street Runners, allowing McGee to move through from slums to mansions with ease. Lots of great historical detail without the story stumbling through explanations of the period -- McGee lets the tale spin through this on its own. Looking forward to the sequels.
Dawn
With a title like Ratcatcher and a story about Bow Street Runners I had to try this book.

Matthew Hawkwood is a former soldier turned Bow Street Runner. Britain is at war with Napoleon, Wellington is making advances on the continent and the Navy has a new ship about to be launched. With his old war buddy Jago, Hawkwood must solve several crimes.

I was hoping for a better story or maybe just another 100 pages would have made it seem less rushed at the end. Also, maybe a more capable character, not
...more
edifanob
Ich habe ein Faible für Geschichten, die in London im Zeitraum 1600 bis 1900 spielen. Mir hat insbesondere die plastische Schilderung Londons gefallen. Ich konnte förmlich den damals herrschenden Gestank riechen. Daneben fand ich die erzählte Geschichte äußerst unterhaltsam. Ich bin nicht sehr gut im Schreiben von Inhaltsangaben. Daher füge ich hier den Klappentext des Buches an:
"London, 1811. Der Krieg mit Napoleon hat seinen Höhepunkt erreicht. In der düsteren, von Gesindel bevölkerten Metropo
...more
Chris
This would make a good movie or mini series. It is a thrilling mystery set in London. For some reason, however, it feels a little too long. Perhaps because all the women are uninteresting crones or sex objects.
Cate
For a $5 find at "Dirty Cheap Books", this didn't disappoint. I really enjoyed it. As I said in the status update: unpretentious, what you see is what you get type of book. Good characters, action a plenty and an uncomplicated plot. Matthew Hawkwood is a Bow Street Runner in Regency London. He's a man with a past but with the contacts and ability to walk the treacherous streets of London. Some of the writing is a bit, hmmm, unsophisticated in places, especially the "sexy scenes" but, this book d ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 46 47 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Traitor's Blood (Civil War Chronicles, #1)
  • To Kingdom Come (Barker & Llewelyn, #2)
  • The Last Days of Newgate (A Pyke Mystery, #1)
  • The Gallows Curse
  • Blood on the Strand (Thomas Chaloner, #2)
  • The Generals (Revolution, #2)
  • Sworn Sword (The Bloody Aftermath of 1066, #1)
  • Hero of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #1)
  • A Covent Garden Mystery (Captain Lacey, #6)
  • The Companion (Lizzie Martin, #1)
  • The Railway Detective
  • Goodnight Sweet Prince (Lord Francis Powerscourt, #1)
  • From Whitechapel: A Novel of Jack the Ripper
  • The Poisoned Island
  • The Gilded Shroud (A Lady Fan Mystery #1)
  • The Guilt of Innocents (Owen Archer, #9)
  • The Harper's Quine (Gilbert Cunningham, #1)
  • King's Man (The Outlaw Chronicles, #3)
223959
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.


James McGee was born into an army family. He was educated in Gibraltar, Germany and Belfast, giving him a love of travel, which is evident in his meticulous, vivid portraits of diverse people and places. His career has encompassed banking, bookselling and thirteen years in
...more
More about James McGee...
Resurrectionist (Matthew Hawkwood, #2) Rapscallion (Matthew Hawkood, #3) Rebellion (Matthew Hawkwood, #4) The Blooding  (Matthew Hawkwood, #5) Wolf's Lair

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »