The Devil's Acre

Category: Books

A novel of intrigue, violence and conflicted loyalties from the author of The Street Philosopher, Matthew Plampin.

What price to take hold of the devil’s right hand? Spring, 1853. After a triumphant display at the Great Exhibition in London, the legendary American entrepreneur and inventor Colonel Samuel Colt expands his gun-making business into England. He acquires a riverside warehouse in Pimlico and sets about converting it into a pistol works capable of mass producing his patented revolvers on an unprecedented scale – aware that the prospect of war with Russia means huge profits. The young, ambitious Edward Lowry is hired by Colt to act as his London secretary. Although initially impressed by the Colonel’s dynamic approach to his trade, Edward comes to suspect that the American’s intentions in the Metropolis are not all they appear. Meanwhile, the secretary becomes romantically involved with Caroline Knox, a headstrong woman from the machine floor – who he discovers is caught up in a plot to steal revolvers from the factory’s stores. Among the workforce Colt has gathered from the seething mass of London’s poor are a gang of desperate Irish immigrants, embittered refugees from the potato famine, who intend to use these stolen six-shooters for a political assassination in the name of revenge. As pistols start to go missing, divided loyalties and hidden agendas make the gun-maker’s factory the setting for a tense story of intrigue, betrayal and murder.

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The Devil’s Book Club

Category: News

devils-acreAt 11.30 on Monday morning the kettle went on in the HarperFiction kitchen and the biscuits were cracked open early. Five editors, three publicists and a designer tried to work out how to turn on the TV and seven minutes later we had lift off. We tuned in to The TV Book Club just in time to pretend we had all read everything Kafka had ever written and to watch the ads. But then, the moment we had all been waiting for – THE DEVIL’S ACRE and Matthew Plampin were on the telly!

THE DEVIL’S ACRE, Matthew’s second novel tells the story of the short life of Colonel Samuel Colt’s Westminster gun factory, and his newly appointed London secretary, Edward Lowry. A desperate time for London’s poor, Lowry shows us the underbelly of society when he begins an affair with a girl from the factory floor and discovers corruption is rife.
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