Seville 1776. The city is shaken by the appearance of a number of decapitated priests. In every case the corpses show no wounds and there is no sign of blood. Gaspar de Jovellanos, a city judge, helped by Richard Twiss, an intrepid English traveller recently arrived in Spain, and Mariana de Guzmán, a young, intelligent aristocrat who is secretly in love with Gaspar, will begin a frantic search for the murderer, whose ongoing atrocities seem to be foretold by a series of published predictions. As these dizzying events play out, Seville is torn between the fear and inscrutability of the Church and the new ideas of the Enlightenment.
An excellent historical mystery novel. Remarkable, very readable and well researched and executed by the author.
A fascinating period not often depicted in literature: Seville in the 18th Century. A serial killer spreads terror amongst the people and Church. A fight to the death between the Church and the Enlightenment. A pair of unforgettable protagonists acts out a complex spy plot involving the British Crown and a disappeared shipment of gold.
The novel is enhanced by serious romantic episodes that give the characters (and reader) a break from the crazy pursuit of the murderer.