Troubador Transit of Mercury

Released: 28/01/2019

ISBN: 9781789016277

eISBN: 9781838595739

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

Transit of Mercury


Think you know who you are? Think again! Within 48 hours Tom Talbot goes from high-flyer to no-hoper, city banker to jobless fraudster, pinstripe commuter to terror suspect. His dog is killed and his home is ransacked, a ghostly Tibetan monk and an enigmatic Oxford professor give him tantalising glimpses of a forgotten destiny.

As well as an identity crisis of Jungian proportions, visions of the past link him to a girl murdered on the Silk Road, the gifts of the Magi and the house of Medici.

Concurrently, in New York, young hotshot lawyer Miranda Maddingley learns that her wealthy uncle has died suddenly, leaving his fortune to a cousin she’s never heard of, and leaving her with just an old ring. Smelling a rat, she tries to contact her cousin but learns he works deep inside the Vatican. Meanwhile, she unearths a mysterious family connection to Amerigo Vespucci, his voyages to America and a tragic Medici love triangle.

Miranda meets Tom in Florence where she has fallen under the sinister Count Scala’s spell. In a race against time, following cryptic clues and supernatural phenomena around iconic buildings and works of art, with gangsters and fanatics in hot pursuit, they finally reach an astounding apocalyptic climax.

The British Fantasy Society

Books Monthly

Murder, mystery, thriller, I wasn't sure into which category I should place this book. In the end, I decided this falls into those satisfying hybrids that give you a little bit of everything. Tom is living his best life until he isn't and when things go bad they really go bad for Tom. Tom doesn't just lose his job, he is implicated in a fraud a big no-no in finance, his house is tossed, and unfortunately, his poor dog is murdered (trigger warning for a murdered dog)

While this is happening we get to meet Miranda who is a lawyer, who learns that her wealthy uncle has passed away and he has left his estate to an unknown cousin. Miranda smells foul play and she is off to investigate this cousin.

Miranda and Tom's story converge in Florence with Count Scala, (I rolled my eyes at the Count part) but all was forgiven as the author kept me engaged and on my toes throughout the story with the twist and turns.

I thoroughly enjoyed for what it was pure escapism. Pick it up and enjoy it.

by Lisbeth

It's a captivating book. I enjoyed all the places described in the book, particularily Florence. The characters were fastinating. I found the plot interesting and look forward to Jones next novel.

by Anthony

Absolutely gripping from start to finish! I generally prefer crime fiction but thought this looked interesting and that was that! I couldn't put it down and I find it hard to believe that it's the author 's debut novel, but it is!

Simon Jones is a classics scholar and theologian and my goodness he can write. The novel involves a banker who discovered a fraud at the Italian bank where he worked and duly reported it. However the fraud is pinned on him and before he knows it, he's out of a job. Things go from bad to worse when he meets a ghostly Tibetan monk on the train home, who warns him that a terrorist is about to explode a bomb on the train. Tom manages to foil the member's plot but becomes a suspect in the process, he gets home to find that his house has been burgled and his dog has been killed. Add to the mix a feisty lawyer who has just been disinherited from a $75,000,000 fortune, an aunt previously unknown to Tom who has news for him about his parents, the Vatican, Florence and the Medici family and you will understand that this is NOT your average run of the mill thriller.

I never leave spoilers so I think I have given you sufficient insight into the plot. All I really want to say is that this novel is definitely not to be missed and I sincerely hope that Simon Jones is already hard at work on his next book.

by Mary

This book is weird. While this book is SO good, it's sometimes hard to follow. I will probably read it again in the next couple months, just to try to make sense of it.

I loved the development of the characters, even when I wasn't quite sure what was really going on. I also, really bad, want to know why the author named the book Transit of Mercury. I never could really figure that out.

This book takes astronomical signs, mystical secret societies, and reincarnation (to a point) to get its message across. The author's use of language makes this book interesting, without overwhelming it with big words.

One thing I didn't really like is the use of single quote marks for everything: conversations, quotes, or the like. This sometimes made it hard to distinguish when someone was talking and when they weren't. I've ran into this in books before, and for some reason it confuses me, and sometimes affects my enjoyment of the book.

Luckily, for this book, I was able to get used to that part soon enough in the story that it didn't affect my overall enjoyment. I will still likely read the book again. This is the author's first book, so I wasn't able to find much information on him. I do hope to see more of his work. His imagination, and way of putting a story together really appeals to me. While this book has some idiosyncrasies that I don't really enjoy, my dislike of them isn't specific to this book. They are just things I don't like in anything I read.

Would I recommend this book?

Absolutely I would! If you enjoy paranormal books, or books about secret societies, you will likely really enjoy this book. I know I did! Normally, I try to find a small excerpt to include in my review, but I couldn't find one that wouldn't completely spoil the story. This book is convoluted, but in a way that eventually makes sense. I like that. I enjoy things I can't figure out right away, and this book definitely did that for me.

My Final Rating

This book gets 4.5 stars out of 5. I really enjoyed the story, and will definitely read the book again. I only took off half a star for the punctuation quirks, because while I was able to get used to them, I think they would be confusing to some readers. I really enjoyed this book, and will keep it as part of my collection for a re-read at a later time. I want to congratulate this author on a debut that kept me on the edge of my seat! I couldn't wait to figure out what happened next!


I usually have trouble with books that are told in multiple points of view, but I didn't have an issue with this book. It was really good, kept me guessing through the whole story, and is definitely one I will read again.

by Pamela

Whilst trying to describe this book to a friend I ended up saying that it was a mixture of mysticism, history, science fiction (including time travel) and adventure - which pretty much sums it up. The term ‘genre defying’ is often used though rarely accurately but this novel really is impossible to catagorise.
The author’s scholarly background is obvious as his tale takes us from the time of the birth of Christ to the tragic history of the Medici family in Florence and on to the present day. It is very hard to describe the plot without spoilers but suffice to say the lead character, Tom, starts the novel as a banker with a cosy well paid job and all he could really wish for and, within a few pages, finds his life changed permanently.

The story involves the interplay of several factions and, to the author’s credit, it is by no means clear which, if any, are the ‘goodies’ as they all see themselves as serving the greater good. That said, Count Scala, is wonderfully, almost comically, presented as the archetypal moustache twirling, lady charming bad guy and yet, although we look forward to his inevitable defeat, he develops into a more sympathetic character as we realise how much he is driven by his history to be the person that he is and to do the deeds that he feels compelled to do.

The novel is a page turner though, as one would expect from a Oxford Graduate, the plot is complex and attention must be paid by the reader at all times or the labyrinthine twists and turns will soon leave one as lost as the Athenian sacrifices thrown into the Minotaur’s lair. My only criticism is that there is so much going on in the story that it can feel rushed, and, would, I think, have been even more compelling had it been a series of three (or more) novels where the Rinpoche’s life before his transcendence, the Gifts of the Magi, Tom’s story and Miranda’s adventures could all have time to breathe before they intertwined in the climatic finale. I wonder if some sections were edited out for length as one character certainly promised Tom that they would meet again before fading into the background. Perhaps though, this is a hook for a future story – who knows?

I recommend this to those looking for an intelligent and thought provoking novel and look forward to Simon Jones’ next story. In the meanwhile I plan to watch the TV series ‘The Medicis’ as my interest in the tragic yet historic story has been well and truly piqued.

by NetGalley review

I really enjoyed SImon's book. It was obviously well researched, lively and full of history about the Medici family in Rome. I had just read the first few books of the Assassin's Creed series which are also based on the Medicis so this did affect my reading of this book however, I look forward to reading the next in this series.

by NetGalley review

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