Title: Rags Of Time
Author: Michael Ward
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
First published: July 9th 2019
Publisher: Sharpe Books
Finished reading: December 17th 2020
Pages: 318

“What Tom thought was of no account. Even the truth was of no account. What really mattered was what people believed.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I always love a good historical mystery, and as soon as I read the blurb of Rags Of Time I knew I had to read it. An interesting historical setting is always key when it comes to historical mysteries, and the 17th century setting in London sounded like the perfect backdrop for a very intriguing murder mystery. It took me longer than expected to finally get to it, and now that I’ve finally read it I can say that the historical aspect of Rags Of Time is without doubt well handled. Sure, I did end up having mixed thoughts, but as a whole it still turned out to be a solid read.

Like I said before, it was the historical setting that really stood out for me. We are talking about 17th century London, a very turbulent time in history and the many historical descriptions portray this perfectly. I also really enjoyed the merchant element with the spice traders and the Dutch influence. It gave the story more dept and it was an interesting backdrop for the murder mystery and the things happening to the main character Thomas Tallant in general.

As for the murder mystery itself… I was a bit underwhelmed by this part of the plot to be honest. Things were quite vague during most of the story, and I honestly don’t think the final reveal made up for this unsatisfied feeling. I still can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but as a whole I found this part of the story to be rather lacking. This feeling might also have to do with the pace, which I found to be considerably slow most of the time, up until the point that the story dragged in parts and I found myself starting to skimread more than once. And that is never a good sign, right?

I had mixed thoughts about the main characters too. Sure, Rags Of Time is quite character driven and there is quite some focus on the development of especially Thomas Tallant, but I don’t think I actually liked him or any of the other characters. I also felt like their interactions weren’t always all that natural and this forced interaction haltered the pace as well.

In short, there were things that worked for me (historical settings), while other elements simply didn’t convince me (pace, murder mystery, characters). Rags Of Time is by no means a bad read and it might just have been the wrong story at the wrong time for me, but the fact remains that I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I thought I would.


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