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The Drowned City

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  34 reviews
1606. A year to the day that men were executed for conspiring to blow up Parliament, a towering wave devastates the Bristol Channel. Some proclaim God's vengeance. Others seek to take advantage.

In London, Daniel Pursglove lies in prison waiting to die. But Charles FitzAlan, close adviser to King James I, has a job in mind that will free a man of Daniel's skill from the hor
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 1st 2021 by Headline Review (first published 2021)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
‘Hounds always have their masters, the plotters and the schemers, the creatures of mist and shadow, who quietly whisper the orders to kill, but never risk bruising their fists on their victims’ skulls’.

It’s 1606 and like a spider at the heart of a web, Robert Cecil- suspicious, detail orientated, and dangerously motivated- watches the realm for his master, James VI/I. A paranoid pair, they see threats everywhere, their fears fuelled by the Gunpowder Plot of the previous year. But now something i
Liz Barnsley
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Review to follow.
Apr 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Today is my stop on the blog tour for 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐃𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲 by K J Maitland. Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for sending me a proof copy of the book and having me along on the tour.
𝟏𝟔𝟎𝟔. 𝐀 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐮𝐩 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐚 𝐭𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐯𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐥 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐥. 𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦 𝐆𝐨𝐝'𝐬 𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞. 𝐎𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐤 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐞.
The opening to The Drowned City is very cinematic, depicting the scene of the flood, and overall it is a very atm
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful start to a new series review to follow soon
Lynn Williams
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
4 of 5 stars
My Five Word TL:DR Review : Great start to historical series

Well, I say this is a great start, because I’m hopeful there will be more books with Daniel Pursglove seeking answers, so fingers crossed that this book receives the praise it deserves and more books are forthcoming. I’ve long wanted to read Maitland and in fact I’m not quite sure why I’ve not delved into her work sooner. I enjoy a good historical novel and the period for The Drowned C
Mairead Hearne (
My Rating ~ 4.5*

The Drowned City by K.J. Maitland is published April 1st with Headline Fiction. The first book in a new series it is described as a ‘compelling historical thriller for fans of C.J. Sansom, Andrew Taylor’s Ashes of London, Kate Mosse and Blood & Sugar.'

On reading The Drowned City I was immediately struck by the stench off the pages with descriptions that were just so vivid. Set in 1606, Bristol city was decimated by a great flood that took the lives of over 2000 people. When K. J.
Julie Morris
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’ve just spent 24 hours of my life immersed in life in the flood-ravaged Bristol of 1606, caught up in the intrigues of the post-Gunpowder Plot Jacobean court and cutting through a web of spies, lies, superstition and religious rivalry to try and solve a murder mystery and I didn’t really want to come back to reality.

The Drowned City is a fantastic mix of historical novel and murder mystery set against the backdrop of a startling but little known event of Jacobean times – the flooding of Bristo
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
1606: a year to the day that the men executed for conspiring together to bring about the death of James I with the Gunpowder Plot, a huge wave engulfs the city of Bristol - a disaster that many believe can only be sign of God's vengeance.
England has been changed for ever by both the treason of the conspirators and their punishment, but the religious and political turmoil that caused them to act so boldly has not disappeared with their deaths. If anything, current circumstances are worse than eve
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In a time of social and religious upheaval, when a new royal house has come to rule England as well as Scotland, in the wake of a plot which threatened to destroy the government as well as the king, no one can be trusted. Bristol suffers a terrible event one year exactly after men are executed for their alleged part in the Gunpowder Plot; a huge, tsunami- like wave washes into the city and drowns hundreds of people. This novel is a tense historical thriller featuring a man who goes by the name o ...more
Kate Vane
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Drowned City is the first in a new series, and under a new name, by historical mystery writer Karen Maitland. 

A year to the day after the Gunpowder Plot, a towering wave in the Bristol Channel wreaked havoc across Bristol, Somerset and Devon, destroying homes and taking lives. The aftermath of the tragedy, however, presents an opportunity for some.

Daniel Pursglove, conjurer, itinerant, suspected Catholic, is suddenly freed from prison by one of King James I’s agents. Bristol is believed to b
Amy Louise
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fans of historical fiction may recognise the name Karen Maitland from her standalone titles such as Company of Liars and The Owl Killers. The Drowned City, written under the name K. J. Maitland, is the first of a promised series to feature secretary-turned-conjurer-turned-agent Daniel Pursglove and sees a slight shift in both era and tone from Maitland’s previous work.

Set in 1606, with England and Scotland both still reeling from the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot and James I’s promises of rel
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
I had already been drawn to The Drowned City, the first in a new series of historical mysteries set in the 17th century, before it dawned on me that KJ Maitland was Karen Maitland, an author whose books I’ve enjoyed in the past. All the more reason to want to read it, then!

In January 1606, exactly a year after the execution of the conspirators who tried to blow up Parliament in the failed Gunpowder plot, a towering wave sweeps up the Bristol Channel, leaving a scene of devastation. Whole familie
The author has created an interesting character in Daniel Pursglove and I liked the way little details about his past were dropped in now and again, laying the groundwork for future books. I also liked that the book was set in Bristol - the "drowned city" of the title - not only because it made a change from the oft-used setting of London but also because it made sense from the point of view of the plot.

The writing was of the quality I've come to expect from other books I've read by the author.
🌟B O O K R E V I E W🌟

The Drowned City - KJ Maitland

This story opens with a towering wave that devastates the south west around the Bristol Channel. Precisely where I now live, it is based in fact, as a tidal wave did in fact hit the area at this time. I previously had watched a Timewatch documentary on it, so was both thrilled and intrigued when I was sent this to read.

‘𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙝𝙤𝙧𝙨𝙚𝙨, 𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚, 𝙙𝙤𝙜𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙥𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙡𝙖𝙮 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙬𝙣 𝙖𝙢𝙤𝙣𝙜 𝙬𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙠𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙪𝙞𝙡𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙨, 𝙛𝙡𝙤𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙬𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙣 𝙧𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙤𝙧 𝙨𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙡𝙮 𝙡
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Jacobean court of James I was a shadowy place. A place where plots, counter plots and political maneuverings flourished in dark corners, and for Robert Cecil, the king's spymaster, these plots continued to flourish in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot.

A year on from the Gunpowder Plot, Daniel Pursglove is condemned to die, and is languishing in Newgate Gaol, waiting for his turn to step upon the scaffold. However, an unexpected reprieve comes when he is summoned before Charles FitzAlan, an
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
The Drowned City’ is a blistering introduction to the ‘Daniel Pursglove’ series. Every pore of the page is seeped in historical richness that it's almost effortless to visualise this wrecked city of Bristol. The writing reflects the intense world which our protagonist finds himself in, its haunting in it's ability to hold a readers attention as it encourages you to stay for ‘just one more chapter’.

The book opens with Daniel Pursglove, a conjurer, trickster in Newgate prison accused of sorcery,
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing opening chapter to a story, a giant tidal wave is about to wreak devastation to the south-west of England. The suspense and tension the author creates in this opening scene is brilliantly accomplished and I was glued to the pages. The tidal wave destroys homes, businesses and the lives of animals, livestock and countless humans in its path. It is suspected witchcraft is at play or possibly God’s own hand?

Plucked out of the bowels of Newgate Prison where he is awaiting a death sen
Apr 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredibly atmospheric historical thriller that transported me to Bristol in 1606 and was just incredible.

The characters were very well written and detailed and I loved how they all had some substance to them. Quite often in historical fiction, you can get quite drab side characters but this was certainly not the case here! Daniel was a brilliant protagonist because he was resourceful and brave and smart and the absolute perfect detective to try and figure out what was going on in B
Karen Kingston
Mar 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

As regular readers of my blog know, I do read a mixture of genres including historical fiction, although the majority of the books I read tend to be modern history, i.e from 1900. This novel took me much further back in time, to the England ruled by King James I, after many years of Elizabethan rule.

Having studied the Tudors many years ago, I was aware of how Catholicism had been banned and the new Church of England established by King Henry VIII. This book looks at how the fear of Cath
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have long been a fan of Karen Maitland and was keen to read the first in a new, historical series, by her. It is 1606 and a huge wave has destroyed much of Bristol. This disaster happens on the 13th January, an inauspicious date, as it is a year since the Gunpowder Treason Plotters received justice. King James - who has more than a passing interest in witchcraft - wants the event investigated. With many Catholics seeing the flood as revenge, he is asking himself whether the author of the flood ...more
Fabienne Schwizer
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love me a book that starts in a hopeless situation, it reminds me of one of my favourite D&D campaigns that I got to play. When the story sets out, Daniel Pursglove thinks he’s about to be executed. But instead he is sent on a mission. Bristol has just been overrun by a tsunami-like flood (which actually happened!) and there are suspicions of Catholics. When Daniel gets to Bristol, he comes across a series of murders where the victims were branded as Jesuits. And damn, not many books manage to ...more
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading historical fiction and always feel I’m in for a treat when the book I’m reading sends me to look for further information on the internet. In this novel that occurred after reading the prologue. I’d had no idea that Bristol was flooded in the 17th century.

Apart from the witch trials I don’t know that much about the reign of James I but I was aware of Robert Cecil. The author has brilliantly described both and neither come across as very nice people. But they both only appear brief
Peter Evans
Apr 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Pursglove languishes in Newgate prison waiting to die, but a visit from Charles FitzAlan might just change his fortunes. FitzAlan is a close adviser to King James the first. He offers Daniel a job that could change his circumstances dramatically.
A calamitous wave has devastated the Bristol Channel and all is not well, with people trying to take advantage of the situation. Pursglove is sent to investigate, and to track down the conspirator,Sperro Pettingar, and soon finds himself in a hotb
Sarah Lee
Mar 11, 2021 rated it liked it
I have never read anything by K J Maitland and as I do like historical fiction I thought that The Drowned City would be an interesting read. The novel is set in 1606, and begins a year to the day that those attempting to blow up Parliament were executed. A wave devastates the Bristol Channel, some proclaim God's vengeance and others seek to take advantage of this event. We met the main protagonist Daniel Pursglove in jail waiting to die. He is offered the chance of freedom from one of King James ...more
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Set in the reign of King James I, a time of witchcraft and persecution of Catholics. Daniel Pursglove, a man of many talents is in prison and awaiting execution, when he is summoned and given a task which, if successful, will spare his life. He travels to Bristol, in the wake of a severe flood that devastated the town. He is searching for a Catholic conspirator.

However, death is stalking the streets, and Daniel is drawn into the murders, believing them linked to the man he is seeking. Aided by R
Mel Pretorius
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
It's nice to read a book that is not set in London. The streets of Bristol are the stage for this dramatic book by K.J. Maitland, "The Drowned City". It was also the first time I had heard of the tsunami that hit Bristol and the South West in 1606/7.

Maitland paints some wonderful pictures of inns and the dark streets of Bristol. It has obviously been very well researched and many historical words are dropped into the text that I had to keep looking up.

This is the first in the series of the Danie
Wendy Robey
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful, fast-paced read, full of intrigue. The descriptions of Bristol in 1606 are brilliant; dark, oppressive and threatening and you can almost smell death on every page. The historical details are fascinating- the wave that destroyed so much and the gunpowder plot - all wonderful excerpts of life in the 17th Century Bristol and London. Daniel is a great main character - mysterious and dangerous- his story is a riveting tale and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of him in ...more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I enjoyed "The Drowned City" a lot. The opening is brilliant and hooked me right into the story. The writing is near faultless and flows (sorry!) really well. The story is a solid one, and it was refreshing to get a perspective from somewhere other than London for this time period. I thought the characters were crafted well, and I'm looking forward to catching up with some of them in the next book.

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entir
Apr 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Drowned City is the first book in a new series by Karen Maitland, and it bodes really well for the next book!
Jacobean England, where a year to the day after the failed Gunpowder Plot, a huge wave destroys much of Bristol, killing hundreds of people and destroying homes and businesses. This is a superstitious time, where the blame is put on witches and demons. And Catholics.
Daniel Pursglove is freed from Newgate jail where he has been imprisoned, suspected of witchcraft, by one of King Jame
Richly atmospheric and evocative tale of natural disaster, superstition, murder and tyranny in Bristol in the early years of the 17th century. My favourite scenes were those featuring the paranoid, witch-hating King James I. It is beautifully written, with the emphasis on Bristol and its people during this period of turmoil and persecution rather than on the plot, which meanders considerably. I listened to the audiobook, which is well read. 3.5 stars rounded up. Review to follow shortly on For W ...more
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