Good Afternoon everyone,
I hope you are all well and that you’ve had a chance to go on holidays or will soon. I will finally take some time off next week and I’ll be visiting Ireland, which is actually where the excerpt of The Merchant and the Rogue I am sharing with you today takes place, so it made me even more eager to read the book and see Dublin through the authors eyes.
The Merchant and the Rogue is the third novel in The Dread Penny Society, have you read any of the previous books? If you have, let us know what you think of them. I confess I haven’t read any, but their concept is appealing, so you know…never ending TBR 😊 I hope you all like the excerpt!
Thank you so much for visiting Ms. Eden, and thank you for inviting me to be a part of the tour Laurel Ann 😊 It was a pleasure to be amongst all these bloggers sharing information about what seems like an excellent read.
The Dead Zoo by Borgan Donnelly
In the heart of Dublin City, between the River Liffey and the Grand Canal, surrounded by Merrion Square, Trinity College, and St. Stephen’s Green, sits the imposing and stately Leister House where meets the Royal Dublin Society. And housed in the newest wing of this residence-turned-Society premises is a museum of a most unusual nature. Its contents are not unknown elsewhere; its function is not strange for a museum. It is made unusual by the oddity of its name, a moniker both amusing and dark.
This place of learning and study and preservation is a museum of natural history, filled with the remains of animals large and small, bird and insect, mammal and fish. Skeletons sit alongside wax models that occupy displays alongside taxidermy of a most realistic nature. Whales and eagles, rodents and trout, a Tasmanian tiger and a polar bear. The species are too numerous to name here, but the museum is far from empty. And its contents have earned it, amongst the locals, the name “The Dead Zoo.”
Early on a spring morning, Amos Cavey, a man who had earned in his thirty-five years a reputation for intelligence by virtue of having mentioned it so very often, stepped inside the zoo of no-longer-living creatures, having been sent for by William Sheenan, keeper of the exhibit of mammals.
William had asked this tower of intellect to call upon him at the zoo, not out of admiration but desperation. Amos never ceased to brag of his intellectual acumen, and William
was in need of someone who could solve a very great and pressing mystery.
Amos walked with unflagging confidence up the Plymouth stone stairs to the first floor where the mammals were housed. He was not unfamiliar with the museum and its displays. Indeed, he had once proclaimed it “quite adequate, having potential to be impressive indeed.” He had made this observation with a great deal of reluctance as it might very well be seen as a declaration of approval of the Royal Dublin Society, which he did not at all intend it to be.
Alighting on the first floor, he stepped into the grand hall where the preserved species were displayed, some on shelves, some behind glass, some posed on pedestals. The ornate ceiling rose three stories above the stone floor. Two upper stories of balconies overlooked the space beneath. Tall columns supported those surrounding galleries, giving the room a classical look, one designed to complement a place of learning.
He held back his inward expression of frustration at having to step over and around a mop employed by a janitor. The man offered no acknowledgment of their near collision, but simply continued his efforts, so intent on his work that one would assume he was expunging the worst of muck and grime rather than polishing the floor of a museum that was kept quite clean.
“Do not mind Jonty,” William said as he approached. “He is so very dedicated to his work. We owe the beauty of this building to his unflagging efforts.”
Jonty grunted but didn’t speak, neither did he look up from his mopping. As William had declared, he was quite good at what he did, and no oddity of character would see him dismissed from his position. Do we not endure things in people when we value something else enough?
“Your note,” said Amos with his usual air of superior intelligence, “indicated you are faced with some puzzle you find unsolvable.” He spoke the last word with an unmistakable tone of doubt.
“Indeed, I am.” William’s tone held far too much worry for anyone to mistake his sincerity.
“I fancy a challenge,” Amos said. “Tell me of your mystery, and I will find your answer.”
The reader may find this declaration a touch too arrogant, but Amos did have a most impressive intellect. He was not wrong to rate his abilities so highly, though his tendency to regularly regale people with acclamations of his intelligence made him a difficult person with whom to spend any length of time. Were William not truly in need of Amos’s particular assistance, the self-assured intellectual would not have been offered so sincere a welcome.
“How familiar are you with our collection?” the harried keeper asked as he motioned for Amos to walk with him amongst the displays.
“I have visited a couple of times.” Amos looked over the nearest animals with an eye to evaluating them. “I found the musk ox mother and calf intriguing. The particularly large
trout, however, I take leave to declare might actually be a salmon.”
William let the criticism pass, not wishing to dwell on anything other than the matter at hand. They passed the dodo skeleton, a particular favorite of his, though why it was displayed amongst the mammals, he could not say.
“I am, however,” Amos said, “quite intrigued by the polar bear.”
Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often-mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her the freedom and income to employ and protect the poverty-stricken Londoners she’s come to care about, and it gives her father something to do other than long for their hometown of St. Petersburg. She is grateful for the stability in their lives, but she often feels lonely.
Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he’s built a career as a Penny Dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. His membership in the secretive Dread Penny Society allows him to feel he isn’t entirely wasting his life, yet he feels dissatisfied. With no one to share his life with but his sister, he fears London will never truly feel like home.
Brogan and Vera’s paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at her print shop is aboveboard. When the growing criminal enterprise run by the elusive and violent Mastiff begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they’ve both grown to love. But that means they’ll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.
You can find The Merchant and the Rogue at:
and on Audible
Sarah M. Eden is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning Proper Romance series novels including The Lady and the Highwayman and Ashes on the Moor. Combining her passion for history and an affinity for love stories, Sarah crafts smart, witty characters and heartfelt romances. She happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library and dreams of one day traveling to all the places she reads about.
The Blog Tour for The Merchant and the Rogue is just starting so don’t forget to follow it to know more information about the book.
Aug 16 Among the Reads (Review)
Aug 16 Austenprose (Review)
Aug 16 Reading is My Superpower (Review)
Aug 17 Literary Time Out (Review)
Aug 17 Getting Your Read On (Review)
Aug 17 Heidi Reads (Excerpt)
Aug 17 Laura’s Reviews (Review)
Aug 18 Our Book Confessions (Review)
Aug 18 Bookworm Lisa (Review)
Aug 19 Fire & Ice (Review)
Aug 19 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
Aug 20 My Bookish Bliss (Review)
Aug 20 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)
Aug 20 Storeybook Reviews (Excerpt)
Aug 21 Bookish Rantings (Review)
Aug 21 The Calico Critic (Review)
Aug 22 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review)
Aug 22 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Excerpt)
Aug 23 My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight)
Aug 23 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review)
Aug 23 Reading with Emily (Review)
Aug 24 Wishful Endings (Review)
Aug 24 Relz Reviewz (Review)
Aug 24 The Book Diva Reads (Excerpt)
Aug 25 Bookfoolery (Review)
Aug 25 Greenish Bookshelf (Review)
Aug 26 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
Aug 26 Nurse Bookie (Review)
Aug 27 So Little Time… (Excerpt)
Aug 27 Probably at the Library (Review)
Aug 27 Bringing Up Books (Review)
Aug 28 Books and Socks Rock (Review)
Aug 28 The Bibliophile Files (Review)
Aug 29 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)
Aug 29 A Darn Good Read (Review)
Please help Sarah M. Eden get her latest novel, THE MERCHANT AND THE ROGUE, to hit the New York Times best-seller list by purchasing a copy between August 15-22, 2021.
Everyone who submits a copy of their receipt and fills out the form during the week of August 15-22 will receive The Merchant and the Rogue – Swag Bundle. Supplies are limited, so act today. Please visit the Swag Bundle webpage for details.