Back Home by Tom Williams – Book Review
Back Home by Tom Williams – Book Reviewed by Sharon
The Williamson Papers
Publisher – Accent Press
Pages – 216
Release Date – 18th April 2016
ISBN-13 – 978-1783756445
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
The final thrilling instalment in the Williamson Papers, set in a superbly drawn Victorian London. Back in England after surviving the horrors of Cawnpore, John Williamson returns to his hometown.
On looking up an old friend, he finds the man hasn’t been heard of since his departure to London, the glamorous capital of the British Empire. Concerned for his friend’s safety, Williamson follows him to the metropolis, where he has fallen into bad company and now dwells in the notorious rookery of Seven Dials. Worse still, the intelligence services are on his trail, convinced that something worse than petty criminality is occurring in the slum: that foreign subversives are at work there, with catastrophic designs on Britain herself.
Blackmailed into helping the investigation, can Williamson manage to save his friend from certain death – and survive himself, in a world that condemns him for his sexuality?
I read ‘Back Home’ as a stand-alone novel as I have not read the other books in the series. It would have been good to know about what this character had been up to in India before he returned home but I did not feel that this detracted from my enjoyment of the novel at all.
I have to make a confession first: I adore all things Victorian, so I suspected that this book would be a great hit with me and I was not wrong!
It is perfectly paced and has an authentic voice which gives a real sense of time and place. The fascinating divide between the haves and have-nots of Victorian England is cleverly explored but not over-done. The author has clearly done his home-work here and weaves in subtle details without you even realising it. At no point does this seem like a history lesson but I finished the book feeling like I had learned a lot!
I loved Williamson, the main character, and got a feeling for what had gone before in his life and how it had shaped his character. I was surprised by the manipulative nature of the secret services and Williamson’s initial acceptance of their authority. The relationships between the characters are believable and there are some exciting scenes. I never bored of the narrative!
Book reviewed by Sharon
I have been writing about boring things like insurance for most of my adult life, but a trip to Borneo eventually resulted in a novel: ‘The White Rajah’. This told the story of James Brooke of Sarawak, seen through the eyes of his (fictional) lover, John Williamson. One thing led to another and I found myself writing another novel, following John Williamson’s adventures after he left Borneo. The result was ‘Cawnpore’. Historical novels have now become something of a habit and I’m now finishing another book, this time set in Argentina around the time of the Napoleonic wars.
I live in London and when I am not writing, I enjoy skiing, skating, and dancing tango, preferably in Buenos Aires. In between, I have exciting conversations with my bank manager about how this is to be financed. He says he will be very grateful if you bought my books.