The First Horseman is the first book in the Thomas Treviot series by D.K. Wilson, which focuses on investigating actual unsolved Tudor crimes.
It is 1536. Thomas Treviot is a well-to-do jeweller of Goldsmith’s Row, and a prosperous member of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths of the City of London. At the beginning of our story, Treviot is undergoing a very difficult time. He has lost his father and wife in quick succession, and now, struggling to cope, he seems quite determined to destroy himself.
However, a close family friend, Robert Packington, is doing his best to save not only Thomas himself, but also his reputation and his business. Robert is a very wealthy, well-connected merchant, and well-known about London for his generous, charitable nature. And yet, it isn’t until Robert Packington is murdered that Thomas Treviot learns just who his friend really was, and who and what he was involved with.
As the story develops, we are drawn into the dangerous world of Tudor England, just as Thomas Treviot himself is drawn in – even though his friends are continually begging him to leave well alone. He can’t possibly understand the danger he is in and powerful people he is playing with. But he cannot forget how his friend refused to abandon him, no matter the silly things he got involved in as a consequence of his grief ; he cannot abandon him in return. So, now that Robert is dead, the only thing he can do for him is to try and bring his killer to justice.
The problem is there are a number of people with bigger things at stake, who are more than happy for the assassin’s identity to remain a mystery. How will Master Treviot fare in the difficult – not to mention dangerous – political and religious period of the Reformation?
The murder of Robert Packington was a real historical event. He was shot down in pre-dawn Cheapside, on his way to mass. It was the first recorded assassination by handgun in the history of London, and it went unsolved. The First Horseman provides a fictional yet possible account of what might have happened, and why.
The first thing I noticed when I started to read the book, is that it is packed full of historical detail; enough to bring the period to life but without drowning out the story. The people (both real and fictional) and places are described in vivid detail, creating a rich and vibrant tale.
The character list is certainly colourful, and spans all spectrums of Tudor society. The interplay between the characters was believable and engaging, and the dialogue was fluid.
I really enjoyed reading The First Horseman. I could hardly put the book down, it was so engrossing. What’s more, there was much that happened in the story that I could not of guessed was coming, which was refreshing and maintained a high level of interest in the plot. I am certainly looking forward to reading the second in the series, The Traitor’s Mark…
If you love historical fiction, or are interested in Tudor history, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you.