Book Review: The Ruffler’s Child (Thomas the Falconer Mystery Series, Book 1) by John Pilkington

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Sharpe Books
Pub date: 21 November 2019
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Thomas Finbow is more than just a humble falconer, in the service of Sir Robert Vicary and Lady Margaret. He is a widowed father, a skilled ex-soldier and tenacious hunter.

Far from the court and corruption of London, Thomas resides in the picturesque Berkshire Downs.

All is as it should be until Lady Margaret’s loathsome brother is found murdered.

To distract from her mourning, Lady Margaret travels to London, in search of gryfalcons, with Thomas accompanying her. However, when they reach the city things take a dark turn. Secrets begin to unravel and it becomes clear that the murder of Lady Margaret’s brother is only a small piece of a greater puzzle.

Once Thomas starts to put the pieces together, he realises that he, and his Mistress, are in grave danger.

With a target on his back, Thomas must come face to face with some of London’s most fearsome criminals. Chasing the truth at all costs, the falconer’s wits and strength are put to the test.

A tale of murder, lust and courage, Thomas Finbow must reveal secrets of the past in order to make sense of the present.

This series was recommended to me by Steven Veerapen, author of a number of books including the Elizabethan Spy Thriller Trilogy which I’ve recently read.

The Ruffler’s Child is the first book in the Thomas the Falconer Mystery Series and introduces the lead Thomas who is in service to Sir Robert Vicary and his wife Lady Margaret.

Thomas is a very likeable character, I think I liked him because he’s not your usual type of character to be solving mysteries so it’s refreshing to read something a bit different.

The villains in this story are portrayed really well especially the manically laughing one, I could picture him in his yellow coat grinning and the menacing one named Cook, a great depiction of someone you just can’t help but dislike and who comes across as a huge bully.

But Cook did not let go; nor did he intend to lose the fight. He slammed a fist into Thomas’s jaw, then an elbow into his stomach. As Thomas doubled up in pain, Cook wrenched his arm free and took a step backwards, raising his sword for the kill.

As for the storyline, it’s great! Thomas travels from the Berkshire Downs to London and we are treated to descriptive surroundings along the way. Once in London, Thomas faces a series of problems and his life is in danger on more than one occasion as he tries to uncover the truth surrounding the danger and threats to Lady Margaret.

Pilkington creates a fast paced mystery which kept me turning the pages to find out the ending and I wasn’t disappointed as there’s surprises and twists throughout as well as falcons, merlins and even a bear!

Having read this I grew to like a number of characters especially Thomas, James, Sir Robert and Margaret and I look forward to reading more about Thomas’s adventures as I continue with the series.

If you’re looking for a mystery set in Elizabethan times with great characters and storyline then this might be the book for you!

The Ruffler’s Child is available here on it’s own: Amazon UK or you can get the whole series: Amazon UK

Thank you to Steven Veerapen for the recommendation!

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases


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