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Ace, King, Knave

Maria McCann

Ace, King, Knave by Maria McCann is a powerful, gripping novel about the dark underside of eighteenth-century England, from the bestselling historical novelist and author of The Wilding.

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Behind doors is another story. Behind doors you can do what you like.

Sophia – rational, demure, and hiding a ‘little weakness’ – has recently married the charismatic Mr Zedland. But Zedland has secrets of his own and Sophia comes to suspect that her marriage is not what it seems.

In cramped rooms in Covent Garden, Betsy-Ann shuffles a pack of cards. A gambler, dealer in second-hand goods, and living with a grave robber, her life could not be more different to Sophia’s – but she too discovers that she has been lied to.

As both women take steps to discover the truth, their lives come together through a dramatic series of events, taking the reader through the streets of 1760s London: a city wearing a genteel civility on its surface and rife with hypocrisy, oppression and violence lurking underneath.


Maria McCann is the author of As Meat Loves Salt (Fourth Estate, 2001) which was an Economist Book of the Year and The Wilding (Faber, 2010) which was longlisted for the Orange Prize and chosen as a Richard and Judy book club choice, and most recently Ace, King, Knave, chosen by Hilary Mantel as one of the best books of…

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