Summary and book reviews of Ruler of the Night by David Morrell

Ruler of the Night

Thomas De Quincey Mystery #3

by David Morrell

Ruler of the Night by David Morrell X
Ruler of the Night by David Morrell
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2016, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2017, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The notorious Opium-Eater returns in the sensational climax to David Morrell's acclaimed Victorian mystery trilogy.

1855. The railway has irrevocably altered English society, effectively changing geography and fueling the industrial revolution by shortening distances between cities: a whole day's journey can now be covered in a matter of hours. People marvel at their new freedom.

But train travel brings new dangers as well, with England's first death by train recorded on the very first day of railway operations in 1830. Twenty-five years later, England's first train murder occurs, paralyzing London with the unthinkable when a gentleman is stabbed to death in a safely locked first-class passenger compartment.

In the next compartment, the brilliant opium-eater Thomas De Quincey and his quick-witted daughter, Emily, discover the homicide in a most gruesome manner. Key witnesses and also resourceful sleuths, they join forces with their allies in Scotland Yard, Detective Ryan and his partner-in-training, Becker, to pursue the killer back into the fogbound streets of London, where other baffling murders occur. Ultimately, De Quincey must confront two ruthless adversaries: this terrifying enemy, and his own opium addiction which endangers his life and his tormented soul.

Ruler of the Night is a riveting blend of fact and fiction which, like master storyteller David Morrell's previous De Quincey novels, "evokes Victorian London with such finesse that you'll hear the hooves clattering on cobblestones, the racket of dustmen, and the shrill calls of vendors" (Entertainment Weekly).

ONE
THE LOCKED COMPARTMENT

London

On Thursday evening, 22 March 1855, a frowning gentleman studied a two-page document that lay on his substantial desk. His name was Daniel Harcourt. Fifty years old, the solicitor was stout, a consequence of his sedentary profession. His gray frock coat and waistcoat were of the finest tailoring. His gold watch chain indicated his respectability. The glowing coals in his fireplace worked to remove the damp chill from a recent rain, but at the moment, a fire wasn't necessary. As Harcourt looked up from the pages, he felt the internal heat of triumph.

"Are you quite certain about these details? The house in Bloomsbury? Everything?"

The man who stood on the opposite side of the desk wore a faded greatcoat of inferior quality. His raw face had the creases of someone who worked outside for long periods in all kinds of weather.

"I did the job myself, Mr. Harcourt. If you patrol the streets the way I did for ten years, you get to know who to talk to. ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The level of historical detail can't be beat. Although I've read many novels set in the Victorian period, I can't remember any that are as packed with information as Morrell's books, yet still remain entertaining. The series as a whole falls a bit short in the mystery department; in each case I found the denouement less than convincing and felt somewhat dissatisfied with the murderer's motives and actions. Hard-core mystery fans might find the books disappointing. However, historical fiction aficionados—particularly those interested in Victorian England—will very likely revel in the layers of detail in Ruler Of the Night.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Full Review (629 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Richly detailed and engrossing; Morrell animates the Victorian era and delivers genre thrills with rare style and panache

Booklist
You don't have to read this series in order, but you'll want to read every volume. Philosophical, uncannily perceptive De Quincey competes well with Sherlock Holmes for brilliance despite drug use, and his Holmes-like cynicism and intelligence suggest Cyrus Barker in Will Thomas' Barker and Llewelyn series.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Spectacular...The narrative builds to a powerful but bittersweet ending that will leave readers hoping that Morrell eventually chooses to resurrect this superb series.

Author Blurb John Sandford, author the New York Times-bestselling Extreme Prey
...an exciting blend of high-thriller and Dickens, with parallels to our own time that are both fascinating and unsettling. I've been a Morrell fan for years, and Ruler of the Night is as gripping as anything he's done.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Sensational Murder That Rattled Victorian England

In Ruler of the Night, David Morrell uses the first murder on a train as the starting point for the mystery set in 1855. Such a tragedy didn't actually occur until 1864, however, and the historical facts of the case are quite different than those penned in the novel.

The world's first public railway to use steam locomotion opened in 1825 on a 25-mile stretch between Stockton and Darlington in the North of England. Less than 20 years later, over 6,000 miles of tracks had been built across Britain. By 1864, crimes such as luggage theft and robberies had become quite common. The public was beginning to believe that rail travel was unsafe.

On Saturday, July 9, 1864, the 9:50 p.m. train from Fenchurch Street on the North London Railway ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by David Morrell

If you liked Ruler of the Night, try these:

  • The Woman in the Water jacket

    The Woman in the Water

    by Charles Finch

    Published 2019

    About this book

    More books by this author

    This chilling new mystery takes readers back to Charles Lenox's very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London's most brilliant detectives.

  • The Convictions of John Delahunt jacket

    The Convictions of John Delahunt

    by Andrew Hughes

    Published 2016

    About this book

    Based on true events that convulsed Victorian Ireland, The Convictions of John Delahunt is the tragic tale of a man who betrays his family, his friends, his society and, ultimately, himself.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Educated
    Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Voted 2018 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Tara Westover had the kind of ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Voted 2018 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Towards the end of Madeline Miller...
  • Book Jacket: Children of Blood and Bone
    Children of Blood and Bone
    by Tomi Adeyemi
    Voted 2018 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    What would you do if, in a ...
  • Book Jacket: Where the Crawdads Sing
    Where the Crawdads Sing
    by Delia Owens
    Voted 2018 Best Debut Novel Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Where the Crawdads Sing was a ...

See all Award Winners & Top 20

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Removes
by Tatjana Soli

A powerful, transporting novel about the addictive intensity and freedom of the American frontier.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Travelling Cat Chronicles
    by Hiro Arikawa

    A life-affirming anthem to kindness and self-sacrifice.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7 ½ Deaths of
Evelyn Hardcastle

"Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day...quite unlike anything I've ever read." - A. J. Finn

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.