The Infernal Riddle of Thomas Peach

‘Treadwell’s picaresque adventure is a virtuoso performance that resonates with our own strange times’ (Guardian)

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Pub Date 12 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 12 Aug 2021

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'Treadwell's book is a magnificent pastiche of 18th-century fiction'
The Sunday Times

'Tristram Shandy meets Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in a novel that addresses dark disturbing themes with tremendous wit, charm and elegance'
Daily Express

'Part historical pastiche, part gothic horror, this is an ambitious and stylistically bold 18th-century adventure with shades of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell'

'Treadwell's book entertains and impresses . . . He must be heartily congratulated both for performing an extraordinary feat of literary ventriloquism and also for reminding us what historical fiction does best: create an entirely convincing vanished world while also using that world as a lens through which to view the present day'


Ah, reader! -- if you would have us answer THAT question -- What mysteries you shall compel us to expose!

It is the year 1785, and a gentleman of modest means has left London for the countryside, to look after his ailing wife.

Among his new neighbours, tongues begin to wag. Why does he keep a locked chest under the stairs? Is it really full of forbidden books? And what exactly is the matter with his wife?

For the most part, though, the couple live in peace -- until a letter arrives, threatening to cut off their livelihood and expel them from their home.

Faced with the prospect of penury -- and perhaps worse -- the gentleman rides out in search of some means to save himself.

But fate has other plans for Thomas Peach.

A bizarre request brings an encounter with a mysterious young woman, raised from infancy as a rich man's ward, now condemned to the madhouse. As their paths become disturbingly entangled, Mr Peach begins to suspect that in her past lies a dreadful secret . . .

Dreadful indeed! -- Yet however fearful the poor child's history -- can her secret be darker, than HIS OWN?

'Treadwell's book is a magnificent pastiche of 18th-century fiction'
The Sunday Times

'Tristram Shandy meets Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in a novel that addresses dark disturbing themes with...

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ISBN 9781529347326
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Featured Reviews

Here we have the enigma that is Thomas Peach. A Londoner of uncertain parentage, who flees the bustling capital city for reasons that are not certain. Taking along with him his meagre belongings and apparent wife, He takes up lodgings in a backwater village in Somerset. Though accepted by the housekeepers and villagers alike, the whispers and the gossiping soon commences as nobody has seen or heard a word from Mrs Peach. Does she exist? Is Mr Peach an authoritarian who keeps her restrained in her bedroom for his eyes only? But Mr Peach has other problems to deal with because he finds himself cut off from his father's inheritance and is subsequently broke and unable to pay the rent. So, he rides to meet with the learned men of Bristol of which he is a member and coincidently so is his landowner, who he hopes will show pity on him. But the landowner Mr Farthingay has an even bigger favour to ask Mr Peach. One that exposes Mr Peach's past and brings untold danger to his future. This novel is a classic piece of historical fantasy fiction that's initially pedestrian but, the more the story develops and more fascinating and spell-binding the book becomes. The character development becomes significant over time and, you come to appreciate the authors' passion for the period. It may irritate some readers, having the situations explained to them as each chapter progresses. I found it enthralling and relevant and added to the build-up of tension and theatre. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would like to say more, but I have to avoid spoilers. It's quite a long read at 632 pages for the Kindle and 464 for the hardback version. But Personally, I think it's worth the time and effort. I am sure it will receive high praise on its release. I'd really like to thank Netgalley/Hodder & Stoughton for allowing me to read this advanced copy.

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This book was incredible, it is well written, the setting is described perfectly, the characters are well developed and the plot line is engaging and engrossing. I don’t want to go into details because I do not want to ruin anything for anyone but whether you like historical fiction, I can guarantee you will love this book.

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