Today I would like to welcome you all on the last stop of the Blog Tour for Unlawful Things By Anna Sayburn Lane and I would like to share a guest post written by the author, with all of you. Thank you very much to Anne from Random Things Tours for the invitation. Please do show some love to all the wonderful book bloggers on this blog tour by following and sharing their work. 🙂
Publisher: Anna Sayburn Lane
Release date: 22 10 2018
Price*: Kindle £2.99 (GBP)/ Paperback £9.99 (GBP)
Kindle $3.91 (USD)/ Paperback $13.01 (USD)
Pages: ~ 424
You can get this book here:
Description of the book: A hidden masterpiece.A secret buried for 500 years. And one woman determined to uncover the truth. When London tour guide Helen Oddfellow meets a historian on the trail of a lost manuscript, she’s intrigued by the mystery – and the man. But the pair are not the only ones desperate to find the missing final play by sixteenth century English playwright Christopher Marlowe. What starts as a literary puzzle quickly becomes a quest with deadly consequences. When Helen realises the play hides an explosive religious secret, she begins to understand how much is at stake.
Relying on her quick wits, she battles far-right thugs, eccentric aristocrats and an ancient religious foundation, each with their own motives for getting their hands on the manuscript. She discovers there is a price to pay for secret knowledge, but how high is too high? Unlawful Things was shortlisted for the Virago/The Pool New Crime Writer Award. If you love a bit of historical sleuthing and a healthy dose of fast-paced action, you’ll enjoy this intriguing debut thriller from Anna Sayburn Lane.
Guest Post: What’s the Marlowe connection?
When I was writing Unlawful Things, a literary agent wanted to know why I’d picked Christopher Marlowe to base my mystery around. Why not someone everyone had heard of, like his contemporary William Shakespeare?
The obvious answer is that Shakespeare’s life was pretty dull. He wrote plays, he bought property in Stratford-upon-Avon, he married and had children. His portrait shows a thoughtful middle-aged man, his hair receding fast.
Kit Marlowe, on the other hand, seemed incapable of staying out of trouble, died young in suspicious circumstances and was a rather dashing dandy. His life and death are full of mystery. Some people even think he was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays. From a novelist’s point of view, there’s no contest.
I first came across Marlowe at school, studying his best-known play Doctor Faustus. The final act was what stayed with me; the scene where Faustus counts down the minutes of his final hour on earth, waiting for the devil to come and claim him. It’s deliciously creepy. But it wasn’t until I discovered his grave in St Nicholas’ Church, Deptford, that I started to find out more about his life.
Marlowe was the son of a shoe-maker in Canterbury, Kent, probably expected to join his father in the trade. But he gained a scholarship to the Kings School, the grammar school linked to Canterbury Cathedral, then another scholarship took him to Corpus Christi College in Cambridge University.
At Cambridge it gets really interesting. He’s thought to have become a spy for the Elizabethan secret service, carrying letters to and from the continent, and spying on Catholics in a seminary in France. Later, he’s thrown into jail for his part in a knife fight that left a man dead in Shoreditch, East London. He was acquitted and freed, only to be arrested again in Flanders, this time accused of forging money. A few years later and he’s in jail again, for his part in a street brawl. What fascinated me was the way he seemed to get up to his neck in trouble – only to be extricated at the last minute. Did he have powerful friends, I wondered? Did he know something that people wanted kept quiet?
And then, at last, his luck ran out in Deptford. His position was already precarious. He’d been accused of atheism, and was to appear before the court to answer charges. Some former friends, all of them with links to the secret service, invited him to dinner. At some point after they’d eaten, Marlowe was killed – stabbed through the eye with his own dagger.
What had happened? There are dozens of theories, not least that he’d outlived his usefulness as a spy and become a nuisance. But what if it all linked back, I wondered, to his sudden change of fortune in Canterbury. What if he’d learned something there, a secret about the Church of England or Canterbury Cathedral, that had brought him rewards, and success, and then protection?
My favourite types of fiction link historical fact and flights of fancy. I enjoyed crafting that ‘what if…’ into a twisty tale of historical hide-and-seek, mixed with contemporary action. I hope readers will enjoy it too.
About the author: Anna Sayburn Lane is a novelist, short story writer and storyteller, inspired by the history and contemporary life of London. Unlawful Things is her first novel. She has published award-winning short stories in a number of magazines, including Mslexia, Scribble and One Eye Grey.
Her Mslexia award-winning story Conservation was described by judge and Booker-longlisted author Alison MacLeod as “a powerful and profound contemporary piece in which one man’s story stands for an entire nation’s… it’s a punch to the heart, a story that will haunt and touch its readers deeply”. She has told stories at London club The Story Party and One Eye Grey’s Halloween event, Moon Over the Lido.
Website: http://www.annasayburnlane.com/ / Twitter: @BloomsburyBlue
*-the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com on the current date. The price might change at the time of your purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates.