What drew me to this book was the location , having lived there for 10 years.
Maldon on the Blackwater estuary.
The book begins in 2014 and a follows DCI William Constable who is trying to catch an international drugs ring and help bring them down. It fails, and the case is put on the back burner, and he finds himself sent back to his own town of Maldon back on the beat.
We are then taken back to Maldon ( Maeldune ) in AD 991 , and follow the life of Wilheim . He works on the Salt pans for his slave master. ( Maldon Sea Salt ! )
What I really loved about the book was the way the story unfolds and interweaves through the two timelines and I found myself really wanting to know what happens in both their lives.
A very cleverly thought out story . Well done Paul Smith a master storyteller !
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/publisher/title/228707/reviews
by NetGalley review
I have worked in the Maldon area for the past 15 years and it was exciting and invigorating to read a book set in an area I know well, the story is engrossing and is as a much thriller as is it is a history lesson, the characters were believable and thankfully not your archetypal superhero cop which was a real pleasure.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/228707/review/412372
by NetGalley review:
A great deal of research is evident in this glimpse into the Blackwater, both in the summer of 991 AD and again in
Spring and summer of 2014 AD.
The setting of Blackwater Estuary is presented as spooky, both in the tenth century and the twentieth. Located in Essex at the vergence of Blackwater River with the North Sea with several islands peppered among the wetlands, Blackwater is a birdwatchers haven. It has actually been designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and Special Protection Area and a Natural Nature Reserve. The city of Maldon is a centuries-long center for sea salt collection and the area has a history going back well into the Anglo-Saxon period. Paul Smith wraps all that history around the wetlands with a well-developed mystery and personable characters well defined. The Blackwater is an excellent introduction to this author and this unique seat of Norman history.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/228707/review/312916
by NetGalley review
Paul Smith was born in Maldon, the setting for THE BLACKWATER. Paul is a Veterinary Surgeon, and the author of several textbook chapters and publications. His career has led him to leave the Blackwater, but his passion for Maldon, its surrounding estuarine landscape and storied past endures.