Spotlight: Kate Braithwaite, The Road to Newgate

The Road to Newgate
by Kate Braithwaite

Publication Date: July 16, 2018
Crooked Cat Books
Paperback & eBook; 280 Pages

Genre: Historical/Mystery



What price justice?

London 1678.

Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II. The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.

Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations. Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure. And neither know that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.

When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’s integrity, the consequences threaten them all.

“Moved me greatly and brought tears to my eyes. Gripping, moving and brilliantly captures this tense and sometimes brutal episode in late seventeenth-century English history.” -Andrea Zuvich, Author & Historian

“A real pleasure to read,” -Denis Bock, author of The Ash Garden & The Communist’s Daughter

“Meticulously researched, vividly imagined, and deftly plotted. Rich, resonating and relevant.” -Catherine Hokin, author of Blood & Roses, the story of Margaret of Anjou.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


I am lucky enough to have previously reviewed this fabulous novel, here, so am delighted to be able to share an extract with you this time around. Enjoy!

The chamber of the House of Commons, viewed from the public gallery above, resembles nothing so much as a stew-pot bubbling and turning; a human soup. Noise rises up like steam, and little of what is said has any real substance. Tempers flare, men spark with anger and then subside in their turn as debate flows back and forth across the floor. Attendance is irregular, but on this occasion, there’s nowhere else to be. Bewigged, be-robed, befuddled, bemused, belligerent, and bellicose: all our great men are spread out before us.

I stretch forward in my seat and catch my first glimpse of Titus Oates. He’s swathed in clergyman’s silks and sports a gloriously rich russet periwig that falls to his shoulders in two soft, spaniel’s ears. He’s a tall, broad-shouldered man who, at least from this perspective, appears to tower over the Members of Parliament tightly packed into seats on both sides of the Commons chamber. Oates’s face is not unknown to me. It has been impossible to be alive in London and not see the strange features of this self-proclaimed ‘Saviour of the Nation’ flapping on the newspapers and engravings that hang from bookstalls across the city. Nor is it a face easily forgotten. He has a notably short brow – barely two fingers’ width of flesh separate his hairline and eyebrows – and his eyes are deep-set, hard for me even to see at such a distance. He has a large nose over a surprisingly small mouth, but it is the chin that draws all eyes. Like a fat toad on a lily pad, Oates’s chin squats on his white surplice, absorbing whatever neck he might once have possessed. His puffed-up cheeks are red (with the good living of Whitehall, I suspect), and surely his head is swollen with his new-found prominence in the world. He stands, head bowed with apparent humility, until the rabble falls silent.

“I have been instructed,” Oates declares, “to lay out a little of my own history to you, so that you can understand how I have been able to uncover a most horrifying litany of treachery and rebellion.”

He is an ugly man and he has an ugly way of speaking; his voice is almost as extraordinary as the face from which it issues. It is nasal and surprisingly soft, with a hint of a lisp. There is a feminine quality to it, quite at odds with his large frame and ox-like demeanour. And there is something peculiar in his pronunciation. When Oates produces a vowel, it’s pulled out of him, almost unwillingly. Somewhere between a stammer and a hesitation, he holds onto each vowel for just a second too long, lengthening his words. At times he must have been ridiculed for his strange looks and absurd speech, but no-one is laughing now.

“I am, as my garb declares, a clergyman. I am a Doctor of Divinity, having gained my degree from the University of Salamanca in Spain. Returning to England, I spent some years in a good living in Sittingbourne, but in time I felt a young man’s urge for a more exciting existence. I became a chaplain at sea and saw out some of the fiercest battles of our Dutch wars. I had the honour of voyaging with men of real worth and honour; Sir Richard Routh, to name but one.”

It appears that the Members can forgive Oates his ugliness and attune their ears to his bizarre nasal delivery. Many are nodding. I think of William and grit my teeth.

“Throughout my voyages and adventures,” Oates says, “I met many men and heard many whispers that began to cause me great concern.” He frowns as if the memory leaves a bitter taste on his tongue. “I heard,” – here he sucks in an audible breath – “the whisperings of the Catholics.”

From both sides of the House comes an answering rustle, a flapping of wings.

About the Author

Kate Braithwaite grew up in Edinburgh but has lived in various parts of the UK, in Canada and the US. Her first novel, CHARLATAN, was long-listed for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Novel Award in 2015. Her next book, THE ROAD TO NEWGATE was released on July 16, 2018.

Kate and her family live in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

For more information, please visit Kate’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, January 10
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, January 11
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, January 14
Guest Post at Short Book and Scribes

Tuesday, January 15
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, January 16
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, January 17
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, January 18
Feature at The Writing Desk
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, January 21
Review at Bookish Rantings

Tuesday, January 22
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, January 23
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, January 25
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at A Darn Good Read


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of The Road to Newgate! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Road to Newgate


One thought on “Spotlight: Kate Braithwaite, The Road to Newgate

  1. Thanks so much for hosting Kate’s blog tour! The Road to Newgate was a fabulous read, I hope you will check it out!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

    Liked by 1 person

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