First published in 1972 (as The Popinjay Stairs), this novel set in Restoration England is one of the finest productions in Geoffrey Trease's long and distinguished career as a writer of historical fiction for young readers.
The inciting incident for the novel's drama is the hold-up by highwaymen of a coach that numbers among its passengers one Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Office of Lord High Admiral of England, and accordingly a young man who holds a high responsibility for the nation's naval defences. That the villains should relieve their victims of jewellery and watches comes as no surprise - but why are they so interested in the well-worn leather case of official documents belonging to Mr. Pepys?
What follows is a headlong tale of adventure, blackmail and treachery, culminating in a midnight river chase on the Thames.
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Geoffrey Trease was a prolific writer, with over 100 books to his name, and has been translated into 20 languages. He is best known for his children's historical fiction. His most popular and successful book, Cue For Treason, portrayed a company of strolling players in Shakespeare's time and a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth I.More about Geoffrey Trease