This what not a great read for me. It was originally published in 1983 and I felt it hasn’t aged well. Brendan Doyle is the protagonist but I couldn’t like the character at all. A Gary Stu a male wish fulfilment character who yes had a lot of crap thrown at him but also bounces back implausibly to everything.
It felt like it relied on racial stereotypes and this made me uncomfortable as a reader. I understand that this was published over 35 years ago but the portrayal of ‘gypsies’ really wasn’t great.
There was a grand total of one female character of any importance and she was underserved particularly towards the end of the novel.
The beggar’s guild stuff was really interesting but Horrabin was a character who was viler than I felt like dealing with.
I was at odds with many of the book club attendees. Many said it was a rip-roaring adventure but I felt almost that too much got paced in.
Would I read more by this author, yes I think I’d give a different title a try because I love hidden history stories and the elements where the author plays with Byron and Coleridge.