This is a Jack Blackjack Tudor Mystery, published in 2016, but takes place in 1554 in England. Jack is a thief, a cut-purse, as they were known back then. He finds a gull (a target) and buys him ale at a pub. Once drunk, he will cut off his purse and make his getaway; however, as he makes his departure, he’s knocked out and when he wakes, he finds he’s lying next to the man’s body with his knife in his hand, covered with blood. He’s accused of murder and runs off. He still has the purse and turns it in to Bill, the man in charge of the little gang of thieves. There’s enough money in there to last a year and the empty purse is returned to Jack. At the bottom of it, Jack finds a secret coded message. He has no idea what it says and is tempted to throw it away. Instead, he finds someone to decode it and discovers it’s obviously a message to the rebels against Queen Mary. Jack doesn’t much care who the Queen is, just that he’s left alone. Unfortunately for him, he’s dragged into the rebellious plot while he runs from the charge of murder. He wants to leave London, but all paths are blocked. The only thing he can do is try to find the real murderer, but runs into dangerous men along the way.
Needless to say, this book is historical fiction. At first, it was a little difficult to get into because the author uses terms common in that era but not now. A glossary of terms would have been useful, especially in the beginning, but I did manage without one. The story’s a little convoluted, but fun, and somehow, Jack survives all of his trials and tribulations. I enjoyed meeting Jack and traveling back to 1554 England.