I am delighted to share my thoughts on Children of Fire by Paul CW Beatty as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for my spot on the Tour and for organising my e-copy of this book.
Lets see what it is all about…
Can Josiah solve the puzzle before more people die, or is he out of his depth?
In 1841, at the height of the industrial revolution in the North West of England, Josiah Ainscough returns from his travels and surprises everyone by joining the Stockport Police Force, rather than following his adopted father’s footsteps into the Methodist ministry.
While Josiah was abroad, five men died in an explosion at the Furness Vale Powder Mill. Was this an accident or did the Children of Fire, a local religious community, have a hand in it. As Josiah struggles to find his vocation, his investigation into the Children of Fire begins. But his enquiries are derailed by the horrific crucifixion of the community’s leader.
Now Josiah must race against time to solve the puzzle of the violence loose in the Furness Vale before more people die. This is complicated by his affections for Rachael, a leading member of the Children of Fire, and the vivacious Aideen Hayes, a visitor from Ireland.
Can Josiah put together the pieces of the puzzle, or is he out of his depth? Children of Fire won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Prize for 2017
This is a historical fiction and crime novel that is set in the North West of England in 1841. Josiah is a constable who is asked to go to see a local religious group called the Children of Fire to see if they had anything to do with a recent explosion at the powder mill.
I will say that this book took me a few chapters to get into, there were several characters I had to get my head around and for some reason this took me a while. Gradually I started to become familiar with the names and their roles in the story and things started to fall into place and became easier to follow. There is quite a few things going on in the book as I followed Josiah into his investigation, met the Children of Fire members and also the local families.
I gradually started to find my interest in the book increasing, and I like the slower pace, it seemed to suit the slower pace of life for the setting. Being a hist/fic novel I like to come across things relevant to the time a book is set. This took me into some interesting facts about the powder mills and gunpowder. There were some really interesting facts that were given as part of Josiah’s investigation. The author had worked these facts and other issues into the story very well.
As I said this is a slower paced book, but there was a good amount of intrigue Josiah’s case continued, it often seemed that as he was starting to make headway something else would crop up only to add more mystery. As I passed the half way point of the story I noticed a slight shift in the pace and then things were starting to link up and took me to quite a dramatic conclusion.
This was a book that I enjoyed and is full of interesting history relevant to the time. If you like a slower paced historical fiction that has an intriguing crime element then give this one a try. It is one I would recommend.
Paul CW Beatty is an unusual combination of a novelist and a research scientist. Having worked for many years in medical research in the UK NHS and Universities, a few years ago he took an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University emerging with a distinction.
His latest novel, Children of Fire, is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and is published by The Book Guild Ltd.
Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as the City of Manchester.
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