Today it gives me the utmost pleasure to hand over the blog to Mandie for a publication day review of The Thieftaker’s Trek by Joan Sumner. Happy publication day Joan. Before we see what Mandie thought, here is what the book is all about.
About the Book
Murder. Abduction. An attic full of frightened children.
London, 1810. The industrial revolution roars across England like a steam locomotive. Cotton mills and factories rake in profits thanks to cheap labor. Not from illicit African slave trade-but by enslaving little children.
When young Harry is lured from home with a penny, he can hardly believe his luck. Now he can help his widowed mother put food on the table. But Harry doesn’t return home. Just another victim from the slums. Until Peter Frobisher takes on the case.
Frobisher has his own dark past. He’s a ‘thief taker,’ a bounty hunter of sorts. He tracks down criminals for a living, so finding a child should be easy. But the more Frobisher unravels, the more sinister the reality becomes. The trail leads Frobisher away from the city, onto the English canal network, and beyond to Derbyshire.
When a dead body turns up, what started as a missing child case becomes a hunt for survival.
Author Joan Sumner spins adventure and mystery into The Thief Taker’s Trek-a meticulously researched tale of London’s industrial boom and the dark side of prosperity.
Being a big fan of history and historical fiction I was thrilled to be able to read The Thieftaker’s Trek.
Peter Frobisher has been hired to find a child called Henry who has disappeared from his home. This case is slightly different from the ones he normally takes on, his time is usually spent chasing criminals but there is something about this case that makes him agree to investigate.
Harry is quite an intelligent child for his age so for him to go off without telling anyone is quite out of character. While he is held captive with a group of children he tells them stories of his life and his father. He seems to understand the importance of being seen but not heard in order to stay safe.
Throughout the book you get to learn about Peters past and what motivated him to become a thieftaker in the first place. Originally a child of the streets he was taken in by a kindly soul who encouraged him, and he has remained close to him. After his wife died he had to bring up his some Michael alone and you can see how close they are. Peter is very proud of his son and the possibility of him going to university and doesn’t really want him to follow in his footsteps, yet Michael has other ideas. He really enjoys working with his father and would much rather be doing that.
About halfway through the book I had an aha moment when I thought I knew who was behind Harry’s kidnapping and why they did it only to have my theory proved to be completely wrong by the end of it.
The Thieftaker’s Trek gave me an insight to a part of history I never knew about before, from introducing me to the historical equivalent to a bounty hunter/private investigator to the conditions of mill workers – especially the children. It was also interesting to read about the start of the canal systems that are still in evidence today, albeit they are now used for pleasure more than industry.
Although I am not always a fan of a detailed back story, in this instance I felt it enhanced the story that the author was trying to tell and would happily read further adventures of Peter and his son Michael.
This is the first book by Joan Sumner and I think she has managed to get the right blend of historical fact and storytelling that makes this book a really great read for fans of history and mystery.
Thanks Mandie. If you’d like to grab a copy of The Thieftaker’s Trek for yourself, it is available at the following links:
About the Author
Joan Sumner, MBA (Dundee)and Fellow of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, has a working background across the private, public, and voluntary sectors. Semi-retired, she has settled in Midlothian, Scotland to write, closer to family and friends.
An award winning historical novelist, Joan formerly contributed self-help articles to a national weekly. Her travel abroad articles and occasional BBC radio contributions mostly starred her vintage MGB car.
Joan’s small garden hosts a family of hedgehogs, giving enjoyment to everyone she knows! She is a member of the Society of Authors, the Edinburgh Writers’ Club, and the National Trust for Scotland. She paints, plays tennis and golf, and loves to travel – particularly by car.