Book Review “The Bloodless Boy” by Robert J. Lloyd


In 17th Century London, a murder
investigation by intrepid scientists Harry
Hunt and Robert Hooke uncover shocking
revelations in this gripping debut thriller,
where politics, religion and science meet.
INSPIRED BY HISTORICAL RESEARCH: while studying for his MA degree in ‘The History of Ideas’, Lloyd came across Robert Hooke’s
Diary. The life and experiments of this extraordinary man, including Hook’s book Micrographia, the first important work on microscopy,
triggered the thought that Hooke would make an effective investigator, able to interpret evidence left on a body.
REAL HISTORICAL CHARACTERS: including our main protagonists Robert Hook, the Curator, then Secretary of the Royal Society (still
going today, the society promotes and celebrates advances in science) and his assistant Harry Hunt about whom little biographical
information is known ; prominent English politician Anthony Ashley Cooper (the Earl of Shaftesbury) and his secretary John Locke,
the ‘Father of Liberalism’ … plus many more (see the enclosed character glossary).
A FAMOUSLY UNSOLVED MURDER: offers a fictional conclusion to the real-life murder of the Justice of Peace, Sir Edmund Berry
Godfrey, whose mysterious death in 1678 caused anti-Catholic uproar in England.
MORE THAN JUST ANOTHER THRILLER: it is an exploration of late-17th century politics and attitudes, taking place as the new, empirically
based science emerged, as well as an action-packed adventure.
OVERCOMING THE ODDS: after mutliple rejections, Lloyd originally self-published The Bloodless Boy in 2014. The novel captured the
imagination of readers immediately, gaining over 100 five star reviews on Amazon. Finally, after 7 years, Melville House co-owner
Dennis Johnson came across the book, fell under its spell and signed it up.
PERFECT FOR FANS OF: Andrew Taylor and Susanna Gregory with the literary stylings of Wolf Hall and The Name of the Rose.
FIRST IN A SERIES: The Bloodless Boy will be followed by two further books, all featuring our ‘dectectives’ Hooke and Hunt, as well as
cameos from famous historical figures, from Wren to Newton.
BEAUTIFULLY PACKAGED: the stunning hardback will have map endpapers and a dust jacket adorned with luxurious finishes.
The City of London, 1678. New Year’s Day. Twelve years have passed
since the Great Fire ripped through the City. Eighteen since the fall of
Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of a King. London is gripped by
hysteria, and rumours of Catholic plots and foreign assassins abound.
When the body of a young boy drained of his blood is discovered
on the snowy bank of the Fleet River, Robert Hooke, the Curator of
Experiments at the just-formed Royal Society for Improving Natural
Knowledge, and his assistant Harry Hunt, are called in to explain such
a ghastly finding—and whether it’s part of a plot against the king. They
soon learn it is not the first bloodless boy to have been discovered.
Wary of the political hornet’s nest they are walking into—and using
scientific evidence rather than paranoia in their pursuit of truth—
Hooke and Hunt must discover why the boy was murdered, and why
his blood was taken.
The Bloodless Boy is an absorbing literary thriller that introduces two new indelible heroes
to historical crime fiction. It is also a powerfully atmospheric recreation of the darkest corners of Restoration
London, where the Court and the underworld seem to merge, even as the light of scientific inquiry is starting to emerge…


The Bloodless boy is an absolute masterpiece in terms of the obvious level of research, time and effort that Robert J. Lloyd has committed to this stylish novel.

At first I found it hard to sort out the characters. They are described and developed superbly well however it took me a few pages to get everyone organised in my head. Once I just let myself get into the story I was enthralled. An unusual story surrounding The Bloodless Boy that takes you through the very accurate historical setting of the 17th century. The prejudices, strong beliefs and mistrust of the era is brought to life incredibly well. The plot has a very intricate theme but not overly complicated that you can’t follow what is happening.

Over all this is a truly gripping book that takes on a journey of discovery. A journey towards finding out how and more importantly why the boy is murdered. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an in-depth historical novel with twists and turns that keep you riveted right to the end.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Robert J. Lloyd grew up in South London, Innsbruck, and Kinshasa (his parents worked in the British Foreign Service), and
then in Sheffield, where he studied for a Fine Art degree, starting as a landscape painter but moving to film, performance, and
installation. His MA thesis on Robert Hooke and the ‘New Philosophy’, inspired the ideas and characters in The Bloodless Boy. He
lives in Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons. This is his first book

With thanks for the advance copy to…

Nikki Griffiths at Melville House UK

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s