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Pub Date 15 Sep 2020 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2020

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Power is a contagion as strong as any disease - and it kills.

Work on a London tube line is halted by the discovery of an ancient plague pit and in it, a very  recent corpse. A day later another body is found, also in a plague pit. This victim is linked to the Palace of Westminster, where rumours swirl around the Prime Minister and his rivals. 

As the number of deaths climbs, the media stokes fear. Government assurances are disbelieved.  Everyone feels threatened. This has to be resolved and fast. 

A disgraced civil servant and a policeman must find the answer before Westminster closes for  recess. Power, money and love curdle into a deadly brew that could bring down the Mother of Parliaments. 

Time is running out. And it’s not clear what – or who – will survive.

Power is a contagion as strong as any disease - and it kills.

Work on a London tube line is halted by the discovery of an ancient plague pit and in it, a very recent corpse. A day later another...

Advance Praise

'If it's excitement and mystery you're after, try the bang up to date and very topical 'Plague'.' Time and Leisure magazine.

'Plague is good fun, with some lovely insights into how the historic buildings and some of the people in the Palace of Westminster work.' Mike Naworynsky, former Deputy Serjeant at Arms, Palace of Westminster

 'Absolutely enthralling...Thought provoking and genius - thank you Julie Anderson!' Barbara Pidgeon, author Shakti Manifest

'Intriguing and multi-layered, this is a splendid new novel which goes beyond the usual ambit of crime and detective fiction. The plot is extremely topical and the stakes could not be higher.' David Armstrong, playwright (long listed Branagh New Drama Award 2020).

'A whodunnit and a love story all infused with a helping of plague and set in, around and beneath the corridors of power. What more could you possibly want?' Steve Sheppard, author A Very Important Teapot.

'If it's excitement and mystery you're after, try the bang up to date and very topical 'Plague'.' Time and Leisure magazine.

'Plague is good fun, with some lovely insights into how the historic...

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ISBN 9781910461464
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Featured Reviews

A peculiarly prescient, politically astute, at times creepy and thoroughly absorbing psychological murder mystery. The timing is spot-on and the narrative compelling.

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This was a really fun mystery, it kept me guessing right to the end. The characters were complex and well realised. The setting felt very true to life. It was a good time!

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Great insight into how the real world works.

I really liked this story. It had a lot of information about how Westminster operates behind the scene which I've never seen anywhere else. It's like secret info. But it also doesn't read like a textbook. It's a murder mystery which pulls in politicians and actually just about everyone else. You can't figure it all out until the end. So in that way, it's a great little mystery.

It makes clear how the elite are all interconnected in an overlapping socio-political financial strata that becomes self reinforcing in its goals. A kind of loose network so that even people who are genuinely nice get tainted by association. But it's not a lecture. It's just a great page-turning read.

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I want to thank NetGalley, Claret Press, and author Julie Anderson for providing me with an ARC of this novel!

What perfect timing for this novel in these times of COVID-19. Written as a murder mystery, I was completely drawn in and captivated. You won’t be able to come to a conclusion until you finish this, which is spectacular. I loved the bit of politics sprinkled in, and the characters were developed and so interesting. I particularly enjoyed the female investigator in the story. Gorgeously written, you won't be able to put it down once you pick it up.

Thank you to those named above for the chance to read and review this novel!

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Cassandra Fortune, British government civil servant, suddenly finds herself caught up in an investigation into recent murders in London. The murders have Scotland Yard baffled. The unearthing of an old plague pit used to bury mass quantities of plague victims hundreds of years ago leads to the discovery of yet another murder victim. As Cassie works with investigator Andrew Rowlands to unravel the mystery, suspicion of a sinister plot unfolds. The investigation leads into the deepest, most ancient parts of the Palace of Westminster, into the bowels of London's underground lost river system, and reaches into the hallowed Houses of Parliament. With their lives at stake, will Cassie and Andrew be able to bring the dark secrets to light before more victims are claimed?

This riveting mystery provides an intriguing inside glimpse into the history and tradition of the British political system as well as a fascinating exploration of the hidden passages underneath London's city streets. Written by a former British civil servant, this book will appeal to Anglophiles and mystery lovers. It would be an excellent addition to any library's mystery collection.

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Fabulous book. The characters came alive in my head and I just couldn’t put it down. A book that deals with power and the greed that fuels those that will do anything to gain more and more without any thought of others. Are people outside the law?? Well some may believe they are for the greater good. Highly recommended

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Julie Anderson must have some crystal ball because "Plague" is incredibly predictive. She writes about people protesting the lack of government transparency, about the plague, the refusal to believe the science and the manipulation of the media by the wealthy and powerful for their own ends.
Quite convincing as we see from the output of the media today.

I also quite like the setting of the story, an insiders guide to Westminster not many people know about.
Underground rivers, sewers and Roman remains are also cool.

Above all, it is a great murder mystery.

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A story that kept me riveted. "Plague Pits" have begun to be found, again. This, the first time in 30 years. Link with a (more than possible) deranged serial killer and you get an interesting, different type of read.

Cassandra, who had once been high on the ladder at the Palace, and DI Andrew Rowland are paired up tp investigate the deaths of young people found in the London underground. A fascinating story !

Hooked from the start - I highly recommend this different type of read...

Many Thanks to Claret Press and NetGalley for a superb book!

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Plague is about a defamed British government official, Cassandra Fortune, who is eager to climb the ladder to get her career back on track and amend her reputation. While she is investigating the discovery of a plague pit, a body is found. Cassandra gets assigned to a case with a fellow cop, Andrew Rowlands, to work together to uncover who has been conducting these murders. Cassandra gets swept into a wild and dangerous escapade through a crime-ridden, powerful, underworld of England’s wealthiest.

Upon beginning this book, it was difficult to relate to the characters due to a slow character development. However, as events began to unfold, I found myself rooting for the characters and wondering where they would be going next. Julie Anderson did a really great job creating events within the story that kept it constantly flowing, which made this a very easy and enjoyable read.

Towards the end of the book, the mystery/crime novel started to take a turn towards a romantic feature. While I typically enjoy a little romance in my books, I found that this romantic aspect was not necessary. The story captivated me enough, whereas once the romance began to unfold, I felt that it was a bit forced and out of left field. Nevertheless, it did enhance my attention and shock in the ending’s twist. There were a couple twists at the end of this novel but there was one twist I absolutely did not see coming and left me shocked.

Overall, I thought that Plague was a unique, captivating and great read that left me shocked and wanting more. Anderson wrote in such a simplistic and enjoyable rhythm that I was able to breeze right through this book. Luckily, I read the afterword to find out that Julie Anderson is planning on making this a series where Cassie comes back and continues to solve dangerous cases, picking up where she left off in the first novel. I am very excited to see where this series goes.

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A great, page-turning read filled with intrigue and mystery. I was hooked from the start and really felt as though I was on the journey with Cassandra and Andrew, throughout the narrative, helping them to carry out their investigation within the very heart of London.With elements of history, politics and even romance thrown in, I couldn’t put it down once I started.

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The Plague was absolutely enthralling, a maze of intrigue as the story and London’s subterranean labyrinths unfold - thought provoking and genius! Thank you Julie Anderson

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The body of a young man is found at the site of a newly discovered plague pit. Cassandra Fortune is part of the group visiting the site when the body is found. The next day, another body is found killed in a similar manner with Cassie's work pass tucked in his pocket.
Cassie is a civil servant working in the Deputy Prime Ministers office. Because of her connection to the case and because of her past (she spent 11 years working at Government Communications Headquarters) she is tasked by the Deputy Prime Minister to shadow the police investigating. I had never heard of GCHQ and had to look it up. It's an intelligence agency continuing the work of the Bletchley Park team. Cool. For some reason not given in this book, Cassie had to leave her job and is unsatisfied in her current position.
I liked the structure of this book. Each chapter was a different day of the week, The story takes place over the course of a little over a week.
Cassie was an interesting character. She made decisions that drove me crazy sometimes, but overall I enjoyed the development of her character throughout the book.
This was a fast-paced book full of police procedure, politics, wealth, and power.

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Wow, its like Time Teams meets ‘Quatermass and the Pitt’ with Morse investigating. What an amazing opening chapter. Julie Anderson crafts the narrative and edgy atmosphere to make you feel as if you are really there in the dark, cold bowels of London with the hairs prickling on your neck.

With such an absorbing start you might expect thing to tail off slightly however Plague doesn’t disappoint, drawing us into a world where most will never visit or be a part of.  While its true that some of the culture and daily operation of the Houses of Parliament are known about, having the detailed background of the House of Commons as a setting offers a fascinating backdrop to the story and gives the novel an additional dimension and that’s without the machinations of government. So is the plot pure fantasy or not? Perhaps 12 months ago we would have said yes, but now in the new world of Covid-19, perhaps not.

The characters are well drawn up and very believable. I’m not so sure if I always liked Cassandra. Yes at the start, not so much in the middle but by the end, more sympathy and understanding. She is an interesting character, smart and bright but flawed. I’m definitely hooked on her character and am keen on reading more to see how she develops. The question is why did I care so much? That’s because the author made her real, making me want to invest in her and is is a testimony to Julie Anderson’s writing. 

But where the author’s skill really come to the fore is the plot and pace of the action scenes. Shady government, government by clique and influenced by faceless businessmen and pressure groups. Sounds like a 1950’s British Government or possible the current Johnson administration? The plot pulls you in and the pace depicted by the daily chapters only enhance this. An the final chase sequence it truly gripping and absorbing. 

This is a book of its time and is hugely relevant. As well as being an excellent thriller it asks fundamental questions about how we are governed and the morals of those leading the country.

Like any great thriller there are a couple of unanswered questions. What is Cassandra carrying with her from the past and just who is the man reading the Racing Post on the 89 bus?

Final thought..... I very much liked Cassandra’s cat Spiggott...... he’s the best!

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Plague, by Julie Anderson, is so topical a book that it's hard to believe it wasn't planned in advance. It predicts the current political climate, with Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings insisting there's one set of rules for them and another for us. This political thriller is also a murder mystery and an examination of the underground London, so it's a great combination of factors that seems to come straight from the front pages of today's newspapers. I'd highly recommend it to everyone, especially considering how we, the UK, are dealing with Covid-19.

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Plague, by Julie Anderson, makes an enthralling start to a projected trilogy featuring Cassandra Fortune, a truly gifted and determined investigator. Intriguing and multi-layered, the plot is extremely topical and a refreshing distance from the mainstream of crime thrillers. Questions of identity feature from the start. Who were the murder victims? Why have security ID passes been stolen? The life and past career of Cassandra herself is another mystery which begins to unfold in parallel with the homicide enquiries into which she is – almost literally – thrown.

The crime scenes are all located in Central London, in or near historical plague pits. The press immediately, and unhelpfully, focus on using the unsolved deaths to create a plague-panic. A surfeit of exaggerated headlines and ‘fake news’ ensures that ‘Hashtag Plague’ is soon trending on Twitter.

The plot develops at pace and Cassandra’s investigation is immediately challenged by a time constraint: she will have just seven days to resolve any high-level political consequences attached to the harrowing discoveries. Whitehall, New Scotland Yard and the Houses of Parliament are the locus but Cassie is keenly aware that “power, like the plague, was a contagion.”

The links between money and power are central to Anderson’s story. Chances to make vast fortunes from sales of public assets are in the offing. Politicians, hedge-funds and all manner of speculators are manoeuvring for advantage. The opportunities for corruption are huge.

The lamentable state of disrepair afflicting the structure and services of the neoGothic pile that is the Palace of Westminster symbolise the mundane corruption of politics. With the clock-tower of Big Ben wrapped in scaffolding and green netting, Cassandra’s task is to unveil what else enmeshes the Palace and those within it. Unseen beneath the surface – down in the sewers – runs the ‘lost’ River Tyburn which offers evidence of putrefaction on a whole other level.

Cassie likens her investigation to a tapestry, wherein she must follow many different
threads if she is to discover the pattern and unveil the greater design. Her life and her career are in peril. Moreover, if she fails, the entire political system will be reduced to a hollow sham, with only a its façade left in place. The stakes could not be higher.

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Plague is the sort of read you sit down to on a sunny quarantine weekend and finish days (or maybe hours!) later realising it was quite a bit more than the smooth summer thriller you were expecting. The forte of this infectious novel is surely the vivid geographical and political locales it inhabits. Powerful characterisation and snappy writing shine amid the backdrop of an all-too-recognisably slimy City of London as Anderson’s mystery invites you behind the closed doors of Whitehall and the Palace of Westminster chasing threads of power in an ever-tightening web. My thorough enjoyment can best be summed up by saying most of all I look forward to the further novels in this exciting trilogy.

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Julie Anderson has created a magnificent character in Cassandra Fortune. Cassie’s an intelligent, canny, ambitious civil servant cat lover with flaws. You see the plot of this fast-paced thriller through her eyes, meeting all too believable characters from London’s political and government hierarchies and the people that keep its murky and sordid world turning. You are taken on an intriguing journey through the bowels of London’s underground history and the parallel depths of its system of government. Power, money and its lure are centre stage in a novel that has clearly been informed by Julie Anderson’s senior civil service experience. You care what happens to Carrie, probably not as a friend, but as an insightful and sure-footed guide to the hidden depths of corruption, intrigue and the threat of plague. A real page turner and I can’t wait for the follow up.

Helen Hughes, ex senior civil and crown servant.

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Thriller set around the Houses of Parliament

A political thriller set in central London where a series of murders causes concern to those at the highest levels of government.

Cassie is a bored civil servant, having been demoted from an exciting job at GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters). She finds herself slightly involved in two murders, and then given the chance to help find the perpetrators and save her career. Cassie’s role is to see if the murders give any risk of embarrassment to the Prime Minister or his successor, and this leads her to working closely with DI Andrew Rowlands, and a growing attraction between them.

Occasionally the narrative changes to that of the perpetrator, which adds to the suspense, and guesswork of who it might be.

There are plenty of central London sites visited during the course of the action, and if you live there (or visit) the locations referred to will get you looking at doorways and London sites with renewed interest. There is also plenty of interesting information about the internal processes at the Palace of Westminster, together with glimpses into the underground river systems and structures that most visitors never get to see.

Due to personal stuff going on, I stopped reading this book in the middle, for about a week, and then read the rest in a rather disjointed manner. I was pleased to find that I could easily pick up the story from where I left off, and had no need to flick back at any stage. The events flow well, and I particularly enjoyed the character of Cassie, though there are many strong and interesting characters in this book.

The Author’s Note at the end of this book says that there are two more novels to follow in this series – however this this book’s ending tidies everything up well.

5*s from me for this thriller that includes well researched London history and places, together with a great tour around the lesser known areas of the Houses of Parliament. All this as well as a great storyline.

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Sometimes all you need is a good thriller, a story with engaging characters, a touch of romance and a plot that grips you right the way to the end. Plague has all of these things in abundance and yet manages to sneak in an astute, and just as compelling, exploration of political power that has turned out to be remarkably prescient.

Anderson takes as her setting the Palace of Westminster but it’s not just a backdrop to a good murder mystery. Whether from personal experience or meticulous research, she provides a fascinating look into the backdoor and basement workings of power in the UK. It’s political intrigue, but where the politics is more than serious people in suits walking around central London - it’s parliamentary procedure, government real estate contracts and press manipulation. The politics is the mystery. And if this sounds a little boring, it’s the exact opposite! Anderson’s achievement, and what I enjoyed the most about this novel, is how these details give the more familiar aspect of her thriller so much weight and momentum.

Sometimes all you need is a good thriller, but perhaps a truly good thriller is secretly lots of other things as well.

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WOAH! This hit a little close to home with everything that is going on in 2020 but it is still an important read and I think this will be a hit! There are very few books about a plague hitting during modern times, you either read about a plague in the past or the future, but reading this book you got a feel for the times around you and you could relate to the panic and the emotions of the characters. That being said I don’t think this book will be outdated anytime soon and many generations will be able to connection to this book. A few times I had to put the book down and take a deep breath because I had to remind myself that the book was fiction and that even though it drew parallels to what was going on today it was happening somewhere else and to people that didn’t exist. I read the book in one sitting and right after I finished I made sure to tell friends that like thrillers plus plague books that this should be their next read when it comes out. I am complete blown away by the talent of the author.

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A captivating read in this time of Covid-19! A page-turning murder mystery with the added interest of an insight into the inner workings of Westminister and the corridors of power. The way the characters are developed make them very believable and interesting. The book is very topical, which made it even more enjoyable as a lockdown read. It is particularly relevant from the perspective of the rejection of science and the role of media manipulation by the rich and powerful. Well-written and can only recommend it.

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This book has many unique qualities. Inasmuch as it is a fast-paced-thriller, and what a ride it is, it has beautiful prose that give it a lovely poetic rhythm at times. The characters, the settings were very well presented, as a reader I heard them, saw what they saw, enjoyed and feared as they did. I cannot wait to see what else Cassandra Fortune uncovers in the next book, she is amazing and yet flawed enough to feel real.
I liked how using third person all the way the author seamlessly changed the points of view when needed. I love London and this book gave me layers of places I had never realized existed, it is very clear that the book is well researched and that the author writes from a place of knowledge.
From beginning to end a fabulous read.

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"Plague" is a fast paced thriller starting in the murky and forgotten world of London's plague pits, ancient sewers and lost rivers that flow beneath the Palace of Westminster.. It soon shifts to the corridors of power in the buildings above which seethe with similar corruption and intrigue.

Great stuff! The characters are alive and engaging. The heroine is obsessional and flawed but I genuinely cared what happened to her, which can be rare in a book. The villain is wonderful and the plot twists just keep on coming!

Altogether this is a splendid book and hard to put down.. Extremely entertaining from start to finish plus it gives considerable insight into the workings of government.

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A murder mystery that involves sewers and Parliament, some might say they are natural bedfellows!
Set in modern day London, a spate of murders that are termed ‘ neglected killings’, involving sexual abuse and torture, make the headlines when a mutilated body is found at a construction site, that used to be a Plague pit.
Cassie Fortune is a Governmental civil servant that deals with transport matters, and she is called in to help, due to previous GCHQ experience. It soon becomes apparent that the murders are linked to MP’s due to the ease of access to the sewer networks, that run close to Parliament, which is where some bodies have been found. Cassie and DI Andrew Rowlands are put on the case . We get a fascinating history of the Victorian sewer systems, recently discovered plague pits, hidden buildings in the bowels of Westminster, the security and history of Parliamentary Gatekeepers and the antiquated rules that help to run such a law making and breaking system. We also find a group of deviant MP’s, but that is ancient history!!
This is a very topical read. The general distrust of Parliament, fears of the spread of a virus, demonstrations against the Police, and the threat to civil liberties, where have we heard that recently?!!
The only sour note in this whole enjoyable read, was the killing of a genuinely’ nice’ character. It was such a shame, and shows great courage so soon in a new series of books. I hope this death was not squandered just for effect.
Books two and three, look to be interesting, perhaps like call of duty, a new fresh lead will be introduced, before being revealed to be a bad egg.
I loved this book, the history and research was spot on. Good modern touches, not too outlandish names and a believable plot, can’t wait for the next ones! A five star read. I will leave reviews on Goodreads and Amazon later.

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This is the first in a planned trio of novels featuring Cassandra, or Cassie, Fortune, an ex-GCHQ spook who has now been demoted to a procurement position within the Civil Service. It still rankles with her despite being based within the Palace of Westminster but her life is about to change. Could this put her back to where she belongs?
Plague begins with DI Andrew Rowlands attending a pauper’s funeral of an unknown Danish boy. He was the latest of 7 young and vulnerable victims who were raped and tortured to death and Andrew is determined to find his killer.
Meanwhile Cassie is 200 ft below South Molton Street as construction work on Crossrail has been halted. An ancient burial chamber has been discovered which may be over 500 years old. However when one of its walls collapses a far more recent body is found. The killer has struck again and it’s now a crime scene. Cassie is given 7 days to gather information and be part of the investigation. She has received her orders from a future Prime Minister. She is thrilled to be back in the thick of it and to have regained access to power. But she notices a Polish tattoo on the victim. It’s a kotwila, an anchor – someone must be able to identify him.
Another young man is found dead and Cassie recognises him as a workman at the Palace – but why is her access pass in his jacket pocket? And it’s she who makes the connection of the bodies being found in former plague pits around London. Someone has a good knowledge of the layers of history beneath London’s streets and where to hide the evidence of his ‘entertainments’. Someone who is prepared to whip up public hysteria about the bubonic plague apparently coming back to life. But the killer’s becoming careless and leaves an important clue when another victim is found alive. Are they becoming careless?
I wasn’t surprised to learn that the author was a senior Civil Servant as she really knew how to make her reader feel part of that world. The movers and shakers, the climbers and backstabbers, the dodgy deals; all of them determined to climb the greasy pole to the top. Cassie knows this world so much and wants to become part of it again despite being dismissed as a ‘tame spook.’ The author has also really done her research into the Palace of Westminster and the ancient parts of hidden London. It’s almost a character in itself.
Plague is a fast paced thriller that would make a great holiday read. It had several twists and turns that built towards the climax of a thrilling chase through Churchill’s War Rooms. There’s a genuine love of London and its secrets. I liked the idea that Cassie saw the investigation as a tapestry as she wove, undid and rewove some of the strands and was confident of finding the central design. Recommended.

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If you've read the blurb, then you'll know that Julie Anderson's "Plague" isn't about a plague... well, not in the obvious sense, anyway. This book definitely has the "ooh" and "leaning forward in your seat" factors - both when it comes to the plot and character development. There's a touch of horror with the plague pits, recent corpses, and underground London which really spiced up the story for me. The writing flows really well, making this an easy book to read. I hear there are 2 books to follow this one... Yay!

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an advance copy to review. This review is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.

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Very good read. Started with action and this continued all the way through. There was always something going on that keeps you saying “just one more chapter”. I finished this quite quickly as it was an absolute page turner. I think Cassie was amazing and shows the intelligence of women in the world of normally powerful men. Spoiler alert!! I kept thinking that what happened didn’t actually happen and it would just be a ploy to bring Lawrence and the rest of the group out into the open, sadly I was wrong and it did happen and I was gutted for Cassie. Was very happy to read that there will be a series of books spanning from this one.

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Action, adventure disease and corruption ( and that is just in Westminster and British politics!)
A page turner of a thriller that is well timed in our currant situation. Wonderfully written characters that are completely believable and some interesting insights into the corridors of power

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Very tense and suspenful. Edge of your seat reading. Very strong story voice. Will have you feeling as if you're there with them trying to figure out the puzzle. Highly recommend. Happy reading!

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A great read. I really couldn't put it down hence finishing it at 1am.
Cassie, a civil servant is teamed with DI Rowland to investigate a series of murders that could involve Parliament. I did have to concentrate at the beginning as there is a lot of ministers, MPs and Lords to keep track of. It was an interesting concept that the villain stirs up the public and press about the risk of the plague to waste police time and divert from the killings. It is a clever plot with great characters; even Cassie, the heroine is a selfish power seeker. A really enjoyable, well researched book.

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Casssie is a former GCHQ investigator who has been scapegoated and reduced to a lowly civil service job. By chance she is present when a body is found in a plague pit unearthed in the Crossrail works.. Another body emerges, killed by the same hand and Cassie is seconded to work with the police because there seem to be links with the Houses of Parliament. She is further asked to report on whether there is any whiff of corruption about the leading contender to take over as P.M. A cracking tale of corruption intrigue and violence ensues. Its action packed and will keep you turning the pages. Julie Anderson is a former civil servant , clearly knows her way around Whitehall, and uses that knowledge to tell a convincing story.

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This book was a real page turner. It's a cliché but in this case true - the plot was fast paced, intelligent and intriguing. The setting was different and obviously well researched. It would be mean to go further into these settings as the story revolves around them. This book was a pleasant surprise to me as I did not know the author before. Highly recommended.

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During excavation works an ancient burial pit is unearthed and work is stopped for inspection by officials, it is identified ss a plague pit which gives rise to panic by the workers; however quick imposition of authority and reassurance by the civil servant supervising the inspection averts a stampede. When an earth fall occurs a further chamber is revealed full of bones and a human body, seemingly tortured and with his throat slit. The female civil servant a well-drawn out character, perverse, stubborn, and impetuous is assigned as a watching brief when more bodies and a murder investigation is set in motion. Rather than a serial killer it becomes obvious that a high-level organisation is involved that is linked possibly to politicians and business interests. During the investigation the civil servant with experience from her former role as an investigator into politically sensitive issues suspects that further crimes were due to be set in the commons and their suspicions being apparent, causes those involved to get the investigators killed with the lady barely escaping with her life before that the case is finally cracked. A most interesting story set in the houses of parliament and its culture and environment and how false news and media manipulation can be used as a tool to stir up public hysteria to hamper the criminal investigation.

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A highly entertaining and well written mystery that kept me hooked and guessing.
Good character and plot development.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

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Set in modern day London, Plague (Claret Press) by Julie Anderson is a really exciting thriller, the title suggests a novel set against a background of a plague but what this really is a gripping murder mystery and political intrigue.

The story begins when workmen discover a plague pit while working on the London underground network, but there is also a grim discovery of a body that has recently been placed there. How? And who committed the murder? Cassandra Fortune who as a civil servant has a past that he is trying hard to overcome, is there. A day later another body is discovered and there are similarities and also discovered in a plague pit. This victim has connections to the Palace of Westminster and government officials are nervous. Mention of recently discovered bodies in plague pits and there is a media frenzy and the public are now very nervous. Is this the plague returning and are there more victims to be discovered?

The killing is not over and time is running out, high ranking civil servants want answers before Parliament closes and there is pressure on both Cassandra and Detective Inspector Rowlands to find the killers before they strike again and strike fear into the public about the return of the Black Death? Meanwhile someone really is going after Cassandra and it is not only her career that could be ended if the killers are not found and quickly. The pressure is mounting.

Running under central London is the forgotten underground River Tyburn that plays a significant role in the storyline as do some extremely dangerous people who will not stop at anything for power and they have eyes at the very top.

This is a fast moving thriller that has political intrigue as well as money and greed at the very heart of the story and dark secrets of London’s underground. I really enjoyed Julie Anderson’s writing as she creates some interesting characters for the plot and creates a storyline that is tense and you are not sure what is coming next and you feared for Cassandra Fortune at every turn of the page.

288 Pages.

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Another great and unexpected find!
Cassie has a chequered past working for GCHQ and now relegated to the Office of the Deputy PM, in this role she finds herself, unbeknowingly, at the discovery of one of London’s ‘plague pits’....but also discovered there are signs of recent murders and torture, this looks like it is linked to a recent young Danish mans death in London, it starts to point to Parliament and some of the wealthiest men in the Country being involved
With her prior knowledge and links to high Govt officials ( as asked to by Govt Ministers re her previous work) she starts on a no holds barred investigation into what could be the biggest scandal for many years, all this with the press insisting there is a new ‘plague’ thrashing its way through London ( it was interesting to read mention of Covid as something of the past )
Having worked at the House of Lords for 8 years this was a fascinating read as many of the places and protocols I saw daily were re-visited, also fascinating were the visits to ‘underworld London’, the lost rivers and systems below us all here in the Capital
I liked Cassie and her ‘thoughts’ as she spoke ( kinda answering herself but saying what she meant and not what she had to say ) and I enjoyed the story telling that went from dark and grim to adventurous and exciting, often on the same page
I guess the book reminded me of Hostel with a 24 edge and a big helping of political drama
As said another unexpected find and one I really enjoyed and glad read, roll on Book 2 ( and Book 3 which I believe is already written )

5 Stars

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Cassandra Fortune (Cassie) is a civil servant moving in the high echelons of political elites. She carries about the burden of her previous, badly imploded, career and tries to rebuild it in her new role at the Deputy Prime Minister’s office. It is at this point that she uncovers a body of a young Polish man among the remains in one of London’s old “Plague pits”. Another body, this time of a young Spanish man, is found together with Cassie’s pass to the Palace of Westminster. Links begin to form between the deaths, Cassie, the Whitehall and commercial lobbies. Cassie embarks on an investigation alongside Detective Inspector Andrew Rowland.
Plague is a tight, fast-moving and absorbing crime drama. The theme of the resurging plague is particularly relevant in today’s reality as is the exploration of political power and influence, corruption and dodgy dealings. Cassie’s romantic interest in Andrew Rowland (which doesn’t quite take off) adds that extra human touch to the story, which is both believable and nuanced. The plot picks up pace as it moves towards the dénouement and becomes quite impossible to put down.

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