Monday, November 3, 2014

Review: The Bitter Trade by Piers Alexander (Book Tour)

In 1688, torn by rebellions, England lives under the threat of a Dutch invasion. Redheaded Calumny Spinks is the lowliest man in an Essex backwater: half-French and still unapprenticed at seventeen, yet he dreams of wealth and title.

When his father’s violent past resurfaces, Calumny’s desperation leads him to flee to London and become a coffee racketeer. He has just three months to pay off a blackmailer and save his father’s life – but his ambition and talent for mimicry pull him into a conspiracy against the King himself. Cal’s journey takes him from the tough life of Huguenot silk weavers to the vicious intrigues at Court. As the illicit trader Benjamin de Corvis and his controlling daughter Emilia pull him into their plots, and his lover Violet Fintry is threatened by impending war, Cal is forced to choose between his conscience and his dream of becoming Mister Calumny Spinks.

The Bitter Trade won the PEN Factor at The Literary Consultancy’s Writing In A Digital Age Conference. Jury Chair Rebecca Swift (Author, Poetic Lives: Dickinson) said: “The Pen Factor jury selected The Bitter Trade based on the quality of writing, the engaging plot, and the rich and unusual historical context. Dazzling and playful!”

Publication Date: April 7, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback; 448p
Genre: Historical Adventure/Thriller
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Taking  place in the late 1600's, The Bitter Trade is an entertaining debut.  This is a time period that I am not overly familiar with,  The Glorious Revolution, Dutch invasion and coffee houses in London are all unfamiliar events to me, which made this book all the more fascinating.

Calumny Spinks is only 17 years  old when introduced, he just wants to be called Mister and to be apprenticed.  But when his father's past catches up with them, things take a turn for the worst.  The first bit of this book he came across as an immature adolescent but it was interesting to see how his character evolved throughout this book.

"Sometimes it may seem as if the darkness will drown you" he said.  "You cannot believe it will ever end.  But the light always comes."

Clearly the author is well verses in this time period, it is clearly evident that a lot of research has been done here.  His writing style is smooth and flows nicely, with clear and distinct descriptions of the time period, location and customs. Looking forward to seeing more by this author.


 Praise for The Bitter Trade

“A fantastic debut novel” – Robert Elms, BBC Radio London

“The ambitious, cheeky Calumny Spinks is a great guide through the sensory overload of 17th century London, in an adventure that combines unexpected insights with just the right amount of rollicking ribaldry. I hope it’s the opener to a series.” – Christopher Fowler, author of the Bryant and May novels

“This debut novel is a gripping evocation of late seventeenth century London, rich in persuasive dialect and period detail and with a bold protagonist. An unusual thriller that just keeps you wanting to know more about the many facets of this story. You’ll never view your coffee in quite the same way again.” – Daniel Pembrey, bestselling author of The Candidate
“A very exciting and superbly researched novel” – Mel Ulm, The Reading Life


Buy the Book

Amazon UK (Paperback)
Amazon US (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Piers Alexander is an author and serial entrepreneur. After a successful career as CEO of media and events companies he became a Co-Founder and Chairman of three start-up businesses. In 2013 he was awarded the PEN Factor Prize for The Bitter Trade. He is currently working on the sequel, Scatterwood, set in Jamaica in 1692.

For more information visit Piers Alexander’s website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.




The Bitter Trade Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 13
Review at Back Porchervations
Spotlight at Literary Chanteuse
Tuesday, October 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, October 15
Interview at Back Porchervations
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, October 16
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, October 20
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, October 21
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, October 22
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, October 23
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, October 28
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, October 29
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Thursday, October 30
Review at Broken Teepee
Saturday, November 1
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, November 3
Review at Book by Book
Review & Interview at Dab of Darkness
Tuesday, November 4
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, November 5
Review at Turning the Pages
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, November 6
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Monday, November 10
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, November 11
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, November 12
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Friday, November 14
Review at Anglers Rest
Review & Giveaway at Booklover Book Reviews

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