I’ve very excited today to share a brand new shiny cover for The Road to Newgate. I so love these characters and their story, so it’s great to see the book get this awesome new look.
As with The Girl Puzzle, each ‘slice’ has been chosen with care. Here’s the low-down on each one, and how they relate to the novel.
I first came across Titus Oates in a newspaper article about the ten worst Britons ever – one for each of the last 10 centuries. Titus, quite rightly, ‘won’ the 17th century and totally deserves to be known as one of the greatest liars in history. In our current times of fake news, wild claims and counter-claims, the story of The Popish Plot is alarmingly relevant.
Politics isn’t at the heart of The Road to Newgate though. It’s far more a story about how larger events effect everyday people, and in particular, my lovely married couple Anne and Nat Thompson and their excellent friends William Smith and Henry Broome.
As with The Girl Puzzle – and with all good historical fiction where real events and people come out to play! – the written word is an important factor in the story and in the lives of my characters. Nat Thompson is a writer, based on a composite of two real political writers of the late 17th Century, Nat Thompson and Roger L’Estrange.
L’Estrange was a real thorn in the side of Titus Oates, particularly with his newspaper, The Observator.
In the edition pictured here, and used on the cover of The Road to Newgate, you can see how L’Estrange used a Q&A format to create mock interviews to test out – and undercut – the claims of his opponents. Printing and the written word are important to many characters in the novel, not least Nat’s wife Anne.
Speaking of Anne…
Although Anne Thompson is not a real historical figure, she’s very important to all aspects of The Road to Newgate and I was very keen to signal that on our new cover.
This is in fact Frances Brooke (1640 – c1690). She’s slightly older than Anne, who in my head was born around 1658, but she fits my image of Anne perfectly and is pictured here in a portrait painted by Peter Lely, as part of his Windsor Beauties series.
And last but not least, there is a slice of this wonderful map:
Not only do I have this map hanging on my dining room wall, but it was an incredible resource as I sat thousands of miles and more than two centuries away from Restoration London, writing The Road to Newgate. This map is interactive, made available by Briish History Online here, and can be zoomed in and out with amazing clarity. All the key central London locations in the novel are on that map… Nat and Anne’s home, Henry’s print shop, Smithfield, Sam’s Coffee House by the Royal Exchange and, of course, Newgate Prison. I’m delighted to keep the map in this new cover and can’t wait for paperback purchasers to see the wonderful back cover. I love it almost as much as the front!!
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY?
Almost forgot! The other great news is that The Road to Newgate ebook is free for this weekend only. I hope you’ll take a look!