The McArandy brothers, Jack and Ethelred, should have led charmed lives. Good-looking, and with a rare musical ability, they captivated their Spitalfields neighbours and were about to become famous throughout the city when their father’s drunken violence towards their mother caused them to commit their first heinous crime together.
Ethelred was shattered to discover the murder of their father was not his elder brother’s first, and from then onwards their relationship was fraught, though inextricably and tragically entwined. James’s crimes become so outrageous that even his staunchest friends in the London underworld eventually testified against him and, inevitably, he fetched up at Tyburn.
Historical fiction at its best, Berry has authentically drawn her hero, and memorably placed him in his historical context.