The Quality of Mercy

The Quality of Mercy
Barry Unsworth
Reviewed by Jackie Fishleigh
Thu, 01/09/2011

This standalone sequel to the Man Booker prize-winning Sacred Hunger opens in the spring of 1767.

Erasmus Kemp, the wealthy son of a disgraced Liverpool slave-ship owner, and Sullivan, a hapless Irish fiddler who has escaped trial for mutiny and piracy, are setting out on separate missions. Their paths are destined to cross in a Northern mining village.

The movement for abolition is growing but there are vested interests and legal conundrums to confront and Unsworth brings vividly to life the moral dilemma of slavery.

Unsworth has an exceptional talent for plotting which keeps the action rolling along beautifully, and The Quality of Mercy provides a detailed and nuanced picture of 18th-century England. A gripping read.


Add comment

Login or register to post comments

Books in this genre

First Time Solo
Iain Maloney
Review by Emily Webb
The Taxidermist's Daughter
Kate Mosse
Review by Cara Fielder
The Crimson Ribbon
Katherine Clements
Review by Lydia Winter
We Are Not Ourselves
Matthew Thomas
Review by Rosanna Hawkins
  • x
  • x