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Unlawful Things

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A lost masterpiece. A deadly secret buried for 500 years. And one woman determined to uncover the truth.

When London tour guide Helen Oddfellow meets a historian on the trail of a lost manuscript, she’s intrigued by the mystery – and the man. But the pair are not the only ones desperate to find the missing final play by sixteenth century playwright Christopher Marlowe. What
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  43 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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I love a good prologue & here we have one that does exactly what it should…grabs you by the hand & yanks you into the story. What follows is an intriguing mix of romance, history, conspiracy, secrets & religion.

Helen Oddfellow is a grad student doing a PhD on the works of playwright Christopher Marlowe. To make ends meet, she leads historical tours around London. In short order, she meets 2 men who will turn her quiet scholarly life upside down.

Richard Watson is a historian hired to research &
Rachel McCollin
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely fascinating and gripping tale of two historians who are tracking down a lost play by Christopher Marlowe, and the historical ramifications that lost play might have. It's difficult to say more without giving spoilers!

From page one this book had me gripped. I was rooting for the protagonists and desperately hoping they found what they were looking for without some of the darker characters catching up with them. At times I had no idea who could and couldn't be trusted. And I was deva
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thriller with an academic twist, this is a unique book dominated by some serious historical research, both as part of the plot and the knowledge that was needed to create it. Sayburn Lane has created a trail of academic discovery which gives a real challenge to the characters to discover a radical explanation for a contemporary obsession, against a very real danger to today’s British society. With some brutal episodes, this is not merely an intellectual puzzle; real danger and violence follow ...more
Amy Louise
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anna Sayburn Lane's debut thriller Unlawful Things grabbed me by the hand and didn't let up until I'd turned the final page a mere 24 breathless reading hours later! 

Combining a literary historical mystery with the pacing of a contemporary thriller, Unlawful Things sees PhD student and Christopher Marlowe expert Helen Oddfellow team up with historian Richard Watson and local newspaper reporter Nick Wilson to unravel a 500-year-old mystery.

The plot is undoubtedly similar to that of The Da Vinci C
Jo Barton
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Helen Oddfellow has a fascination with the playwright, Christopher Marlowe, and her work as a London tour guide brings her into contact with a historian who suggests to her that there may well be a lost Marlowe manuscript. More than a little intrigued by this idea, Helen gets drawn into a very dangerous world which will have repercussions, not just for herself but also for those characters she comes into contact with.

I was gripped by the opening prologue, which I thought was a very clever introd
Lel Budge
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog
The great prologue has you hooked from the off……What then follows is a gripping tale of history, religion, conspiracies and a little romance.

Helen Oddfellow is trying to complete her PhD in the works of the famous (or infamous)playwright Christopher Marlowe. To fund herself, she runs historical walking tours around London. She is contacted by Richard, a historian about a lost Marlowe play.

Alongside this runs the story of Nick Wilson who’s a reporter investigating the racist gang of thugs respon
Noemi Proietti
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do love a good thriller mixed with a centuries-old mystery and bookish and smart characters and that’s what Anna Sayburn Lane’s novel delivers. Meet Helen Oddfellow, a young woman who is doing her PhD on Christopher Marlowe while working as a guide on historical tours around London. Meet Richard Watson, a renowned historian researching the history of a family who once had a prestigious position at the court of Elizabeth I. And meet Nick Wilson, a young reporter writing about the violence cause ...more
Kate McGhee
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-harder-2019
Taut thriller and historical mystery set in South London and Kent, and first novel. Concerns a layered investigation into a family history, which connects with the murder of Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe and secrets surrounding his life, works and associates, with a dash of modern London.

Very likeable lead character in Helen Oddfellow, a 21st century London Walks tour guide and academic, with strong supporting cast. Interesting connections between urban community tensions in London
J.P. Choquette
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A gem of a debut novel by Anna Sayburn Lane. "Unlawful Things," follows Helen Oddfellow, a London tour guide and Ph.D., student as she works to unravel a 500-year-old mystery involving a lost manuscript by Christopher Marlowe.

An interesting cast of characters, a suspenseful, action-filled adventure, and a lot of questions without answers turn up along the way.

Extremely well written, with good pacing, memorable characters (I especially liked Helen), and lots of interesting history made this an
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that when this book arrived in the mail and I saw it was self-published I couldn't help but groan. I've read some self published books in the past and they invariably seemed to me to be very poorly written and in much need of a good editor. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by unlawful things and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I'll still shy away from self published books by other authors, but if Anna Saybourn Lane writes more novels I'll definitely give them a try.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook
Possibly because I was reading it after a poor night’s sleep, but I didn’t really enjoy this. It couldn’t seem to decide if it was a literary puzzle, an adventure story, or a gritty tale of far right anti-Muslim action. I know it wanted to be all three, but they didn’t blend for me and I skimmed most of it.
Tan Clover
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-for-fun
I loved this fast paced and intellectual thriller - a fabulous and all too rare combination that makes Unlawful Things an unmissable read.

Lane's blend of historic fact and literary speculation supports an interesting story about truth, lies and the lengths that some will go to in the grips of religious fervor.

Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-thriller
A great mixture of fact and fiction cooked together to produce an exciting thriller which, because of the thorough research which underlies it, proves both entertaining and intellectually stimulating. I will definitely be following this author.
Jennifer Davis
Unlike the rest of the reviewers I struggle to read a whole book - I'm a newspaper girl. So it is a tribute to Anna's writing that I was totally consumed by this book and finished it! The subject, the style and pace kept my interest throughout. can't wait for more!!
Andres Kabel
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A rattling yarn with a London tour guide and a journalist battling murderous odds to solve a historical puzzle around a lost Marlowe Play, this is a terrific afternoon's read.
Ildiko Pelikan
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely fascinating book. Very gripping. As a tour guide myself I couldn't put it down. Fantastic mixture of well researched historical facts and fiction. Can't recommend it enough.
Matt Johnston
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Educational/ historic lit and trashy thriller in one book. Different! A page turner !
Tracey Smith
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Nov 20, 2018
Hazel Johnstone
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Feb 26, 2020
jane springall
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Nov 14, 2019
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krystyna stacey
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Sep 04, 2020
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Dec 23, 2018
Andy Brooker
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Oct 17, 2020
Alys Penfold
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