• M, King's Bodyguard

  • A Novel
  • By: Niall Leonard
  • Narrated by: Marcus Lamb
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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M, King's Bodyguard

By: Niall Leonard
Narrated by: Marcus Lamb
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Publisher's Summary

A thrilling, "action-packed page-turner" (Wall Street Journal) based on a true story of anarchy and assassination in Edwardian London, centered around one detective’s mission to preserve the life of his king and prevent a bloody war in Europe.

From humble beginnings in Ireland, William Melville has risen through hard work, intelligence, and occasional brute force to become head of Scotland Yard’s Special Branch, personal bodyguard to Queen Victoria and her family, and the scourge of anarchists at home and abroad. But when the aged Queen dies in January 1901 and the crowned heads of Europe converge on London for her funeral, Melville learns of a conspiracy, led by a mysterious nihilist known only as Akushku, to assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany at the ceremony. 

Racing to prevent the atrocity, Melville and his German counterpart Gustav Steinhauer find themselves tangled in a web of adultery, betrayal, and violence. As the funeral looms ever closer, Melville realizes that Akushku is the most resourceful and vicious foe he has yet encountered—but is the greater threat from Melville’s enemies, or his allies?

©2021 Niall Leonard (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Authentic, rich, and completely absorbing, Niall Leonard’s new novel is historical but feels like its own magnificently built world, an Edwardian London as morally murky and lovingly detailed as Philip Kerr’s Berlin. We can only hope there are further Melville books to come.” (Charles Finch, author of An Extravagant Death)

“Historical fiction at its best. Based on actual events and real characters, author Niall Leonard weaves fact and fiction into engrossing tale that informs as well as entertains.” (Florida Times-Union)

“A lively and assured historical drama.... Melville and Steinhauer, along with many other characters, are based on historical personages, and their portraits - along with that of stinking, foggy London - are finely drawn.... Scenes of shootouts, explosions, and hurtling locomotives are refreshingly vivid. The novel’s quieter moments are, however, its best, and none is better than its final twist.... A briskly paced, richly atmospheric historical thriller.” (Kirkus Reviews)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Gripping Read

From the beginning of this Victorian-era thriller to the end, this story held me in its thrall. My heart raced and I held my breath as I listened to the narrator and felt myself transported to the gritty streets of lower class London and to the contrasting luxury of the upper class and Royals. This book held my attention to the very last and made me long for a sequel -another adventure for Melville and the Special Branch would be a must-read for me. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a gripping story full of political intrigue based on real-life historical events.

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Loved it

I hope there will be more coming for Melville. Wonderful characters that I would like to know better.

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A great yarn

A great story that has basis on real life events. The story jumps off the page, especially when the narrators Irish brogue passes through your ears. Take a listen.