A haunting, magical story of a cursed gem and the people who suffer in its wake, set in seventeenth-century London.
Most men of stature wouldn't marry their betrothed after she'd been kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery in the harem of the Great Turk, but Paul Pindar, wealthy merchant and former ambassador to Constantinople, is not most men. When Paul and Celia, finally reunited, return to London in 1611, his house at Bishopsgate has stood empty for nearly a decade. A phalanx of carpenters, upholsterers, and gardeners have been summoned to restore it to its former glory.
But all is not as it seems. Celia is frail, and their marriage, despite her longing, is childless. Traumatized by her experiences, she is unprepared for English society and the duties of managing a house with a full staff. Paul arranges for Celia's old friend, Annetta, to join them in England as Celia's companion, but Annetta arrives to find that another woman, the widow Frances Sydenham, has insinuated herself into the Pindar household. Lady Sydenham seems to have a mysterious hold over Celia and, Annetta suspects, increasingly over Paul.
Who is this woman, and what are her motives? Like everyone else, including members of the royal family and Pindar's greedy brother Rafe, she is fascinated by the Sultan Blue, the legendary diamond Pindar has brought back from the Middle East. All of London wants to get their hands on the jewel, despite the dark magic properties that are said to surround it, but Paul Pindar might be the only merchant who doesn't have a price.
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Katie Hickman is the author of seven previous titles, including two bestselling history books, Courtesans and Daughters of Britannia. Travels with a Mexican Circus was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and her novel The Quetzal Summer was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year award. Her novels The Aviary Gate and The Pindar Diamond have sold in nineteen countries. Katie Hickman lives in London. www.katiehickman.com
"Exceptionally engaging . . . Historical fiction fans and readers looking for a riveting tale with an aura of mystery will be enthralled." - Library Journal
"The relationships between the three central characters are wonderfully sinister, and Hickman is a born storyteller. A hugely enjoyable read." - The Times
"This intriguing premise hooks you from the very start, unravelling slowly and elaborately through Hickman's beguiling storytelling. It's both a gripping and unsettling tale, interwoven with an air of dismal mystery throughout." - Readers Digest
"The House at Bishopsgate combines mystery, history, excitement, exotic settings, royalty, jealousy and family dramas in a very readable and fascinating story." - The Midwest Book Review
"Skill as a historian doesn't guarantee equal ability as a novelist, but Hickman's latest work of fiction balances knowledge, atmosphere and story beautifully." - The Mail on Sunday
"Katie Hickman has created a world filled with love, intrigue, ambition and mystery. The House at Bishopsgate is a completely absorbing and delightful novel." - Amanda Foreman, author of A WORLD ON FIRE
"Hickman's novel transported me to the England of James I; Celia, Paul, Annetta, and John Carew swept me away . . . Engrossing . . . The author's lush writing brings the characters and settings to life, whether she writes of Venetian convents, penniless rat-catchers, a miraculous diamond, or an abandoned English manor. Highly recommended." - Historical Novel Society
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