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The Devil's Breath

(Dr. Thomas Silkstone #3)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,295 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Eighteenth-century anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone travels to the English countryside to unravel a tangled web of mystery, medicine, and murder--in this captivating new novel from Tessa Harris. . .

A man staggers out of his cottage into the streets of Oxfordshire, shattering an otherwise peaceful evening with the terrible sight of his body shaking and heaving, eyes wild with
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  1,295 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Mar 21, 2014 rated it liked it

In this 3rd book in the 'Dr. Thomas Silkstone' series, a deadly fog spreads across England - and murders are committed in midst of the chaos. The book can be read as a standalone.


A burning fog drifts over England in summer 1783 sickening and killing those exposed.

Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a colonist transplanted to London, is in the country visiting his fiance Lady Lydia Farrell when the deadly fog hits. A scientist at heart, Silkstone studies the phenomenon and tries to devise treatments.

At t
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Definitely my least favorite of the series so far. It was an interesting choice of historical setting, but it took so long to set that scene and get to the plot, I almost gave up. In addition, while the doctor is an enjoyable character, his love interest is a wuss. She shows little strength or depth at all, and it makes for a lopsided relationship. And yet, I would still read the next installment. Just from the library, not the bookstore.
Linda Lou McCall
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cream-o-da-crop

I can't say enough good things about the Dr. Thomas Silkstone stories. I downloaded this one without even reading the synopsis. Last year, I read Harris first book in this series and was blown away. I immediately downloaded the second one. Again, a great book. It's been about 6 months and I stumbled upon her latest book by accident. "The Devil's Breath" is outstanding. Dr. Thomas Silkstone continues to be a well-developed character. We get a good under
The Devil’s Breath is the third Silkstone read, and will probably be my last.

I came into the series hoping for historical mysteries, only to be given a BBC drama. I came to enjoy the books, to a certain extent, when I accepted this fact. However, I cannot say I enjoy them enough to see where things are going. I brought the first three books in a pack, telling myself I would buy the rest if I was truly engaged and wanted to see where things are going… as it stand, I doubt after reading a couple
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Another book I really tried to like. There is a murder to solve but it didn't occur until halfway through the book and it never seemed to be an important part of the story. For some silly reason, I think if you write a murder mystery, the mystery should be the main plot and everything else be subplots. This book got it all backwards. By the end of the book, I really didn't care who the killer was or why. I cant give this book a good recommendation. ...more
Kathy Jund
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Tessa Harris returns once again to bring us the third installment in her Dr. Thomas Silverstone mystery series! Tessa brings forward a mysterious incident from the past to enlighten her readers along with suspense surrounding an unknown suspect (or suspects as it may be) responsible for four murders that draws her Dr. Silverstone to the forefront in gathering clues to not only solve the murders but also provide an answer to the strange phenomena which surrounds their small town of Oxfordshire wi ...more
Barbara Cochrane
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Very disappointed. I had never read any of the series but such books should be able to stand on their own. I felt I was missing things.
The book started out as an exciting description of an historical disaster. I was hooked...but then the author introduces her story and it was like hitting a pothole. There didn't seem to be any connection between the two at first. It seemed to take forever for the story to connect with what was happening all over England. It just dragged.
I finally finished the
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great historical mystery, highly recommend this series if you like reading about this era in England and enjoy the country manor and bustling London settings. Dr. Thomas Silkstone and Lady Lydia Farrell are thoroughly enjoyable characters and there is just enough of the history of science and medicine in these books to temper their rather soap-opera like romance.

In particular this book features a mysterious cloud of sulfur plaguing England and killing people and livestock: of course Dr. Silksto
Serene  Morticia
Mar 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Character development is definitely the authors weakness in this novel. Take Lydia - no depth with such a fluid character. The narrative made me cringe a little too hard. It's a shame really - the concept with historical background is intriguing but I don't think Harris put a lot of effort to use it. Research was obviously put into it but the text is quite reminiscent of essays I used to rush to hand in for a deadline. I didn't actually finish this book simply because I couldn't withstand Dr Sil ...more
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Oh, Doctor Silkstone! Must you be so gosh darn perfect? I liked this one very much, and the addition of the mysterious fog was very interesting and entertaining. But my goodness, this man makes my teeth hurt, he is just too good.
Khalia Hades
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own

The whole journey was amazing and spooky. I would love to read the rest of the mysteries of Dr. Thomas Silkstone. This was the kind of writing that we all please to read.
Lupinus Texensis
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm done with this series. Too much work, too little reward. ...more
I tried, but can't finish it. It's that insipid Lady Lydia character that just drives me right up the wall, Silkstone is wasted on her. This series is not for me. ...more
Robert Johnson
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by Tessa Harris in the Dr. Silkstone series. I was totally unaware of the Icelandic volcano in the late 1780’s and how it devastated Europe, enveloping them with a sulfuric acid cloud. It was a clever use of a historic event. 3 books in the series read and enjoyed, three more to go!
It was a bit of a slow burn but the story is super fascinating especially knowing that it is based on a true story
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
I'm enjoying this series. I like how obscure historical stuff get brought into the picture. That's fun. ...more
Brooke Duncan
Not the best

not as good as the first two. too much filling and not as much action. I got bored easy in this book

Kelly RAley
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
I really loved the first two books, but the love interest is such a whiner and has no backbone. Her annoying behaviors became distracting.
Apr 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting historical mystery & series. Standalone. Not my favorite in series, bogs down. Audiobook well narrated.
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
A two and a half actually. Not nearly as good as the last one and I think I'll take a break with this series. ...more
Things get a little more soap-opera-y. I believe that it's in the last book we learn Lydia had a child with her first husband and she believed the child dead. But since her husband's death she has reason to believe he's alive and is searching actively for him with Thomas' help.

As with the last story, this one incorporates a very real historical happening - the deadly smog that hung over large parts of England for months. What the people didn't know because of more limited communication, is that
Carol Caldwell
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I might have understood more if I had read the two books that came before this, but the author provided enough backstory to fill in most blanks. It begins with an other-worldly scene of people becoming overwhelmed by a kind of fog. They are not only overwhelmed but they die. The fog creeps in and decimates the fields and everything it touches.

The solution to this strange occurrence in England in 1783 is left to Dr. Silkstone, an American visiting his English lady-love. His ingenious solution beg
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I did not know much about England’s history or culture during this time period and I am enjoying all that I am learning from this series. I find myself very engrossed in the welfare of the main characters. They are very likable and engaging. The villains.....are despicable! Each book had multiple mysteries going on and a cliffhanger at the end of each book that kept me wanting to listen to the next book. If you like mysteries, like Sherlock Holmes, a bit of romance, interesting historical folklo ...more
Shandi Reid
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pat K
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 Historical murder mystery set in 1700s England. Third book in the series, you could probably read as a stand-alone book, but the first two books were a little better than this one and the relationships will make more sense if read in order. This book was slow at the start, but I’m glad I persevered. The second part of the book was interesting and pacey. The toxic fog , the ‘devil’s breath’, was based on real environmental event that occurred in the 1700s .
Tammie Painter
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another great book in the series and quite possibly my favorite. Again, Harris has taken a little known historical event and turned it into an excellent tale. Although the love story running through the series feels a tad bit contrived, it still keeps me wondering as Harris tosses numerous obstacles in the lovers' way and sets up some excellent cliffhangers. ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Tessa Harris' books. There's always some historical truth to her novels. The backdrop of this novel is the "Great Fogg," an eruption of the Laki volcano in Iceland back in the 1780s. The toxic gases that spread over parts of Europe caused crops to be ruined, and the deaths of animals and humans. It's scary to think what a similar eruption today could do. ...more
I don't like the books in this series, but I really like the main characters. I only read the third one because I kept thinking about the characters. This book spent way too much time for my taste musing on the community in natural disaster. I didn't like the tone. I didn't like all the malevolence. But I liked the lead characters and how they were developed. ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I found this to be a weak story this time. The medical or science information is very interesting; more so than the characters who are behaving rather melodramatic this time. But you still read of the social restrictions of this period.
Norman Howe
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thomas Silkstone once again investigates mysterious deaths. As usual, he is one step behind the killers, and only succeeds at the last minute. The trite mystery format is offset by the meticulous attention to historical detail.
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From the author's website:After studying History at Oxford University, I began my journalistic career on a newspaper in my home town of Louth, in Lincolnshire. I progressed onto a London newspaper, where I became women's editor. From there I moved to become a feature writer on Best magazine. After two years I was made editor of a regional arts and listings publication. This was followed by another ...more

Other books in the series

Dr. Thomas Silkstone (6 books)
  • The Anatomist's Apprentice (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #1)
  • The Dead Shall Not Rest (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #2)
  • The Lazarus Curse (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #4)
  • Shadow of the Raven (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #5)
  • Secrets in the Stones (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #6)

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