March 20, 2020


What relationship between two characters interested you the most and why?
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Kathleen Sigler

The loving relationship between Queen Victoria and Albert surprised me greatly since it was an arranged marriage. She apparently allowed him quite a bit of autonomy and they were in love until he died. They were attentive to each other’s needs and very close. I think it’s fair to say, not all political-alliance marriages provoke life-long devotion and this seems contrary to our modern ideas of romantic love. The idea of no-choice is suffocating and noxious to western people but I realize many cultures still practice this. Very interesting to read an account that fractures a pre-conceived notion.


Victoria and Albert were absolutely a love match. She not only loved him until he died, but until she died many years later.

Sharon A

The relationships between Cobb and his “children,” especially Tom, were most fascinating to me. The psychology of a killer and what motivates people to do the things they do, especially dark things, have long been topics of interest.


I so want Tom to break free of the hold that Cobb has over him. Hopefully by the end of the book he will be saved.


Yes. Thinking same!!


Agreed. It’s been interesting to see him indoctrinating them into his “family.”

Kt Shar

I also found these relationships to be the most interesting. Such a pull away and towards between them!


I enjoyed the authors description of marital relationships – the Fields, the Queen and Prince, the Darwin’s. I also appreciated the mother son relationships Tom and Martha McGinty, Cobb and Mrs Alexander. There was so much in this book to sink your teeth into. Most of the Victorian information wasn’t new to me having read the recent novel on Darwin’s Daughter and watching the recent slew of BBC specials on Victoria and Albert but the author wove it all together well.

Ann Marie

I enjoyed watching Jane Field’s development throughout the book. I liked her in the beginning but did not think she would become a hero as she did.


I, too, enjoyed watching Jane Fields come into her own as the story progressed. Her husband’s and the author’s respect for her were apparent.

Deb M

I have to agree with Sharon on this question. The power Cobb had over his children was very intriguing.


The hold that “Master” had over his victims was interesting. I would have liked to learn more about his relationship with his mother.

Christina Atencio

One that interested me the most was the relationship between Cobb and his “children”. I could never understand how someone would stay, even when they had many opportunities to escape. I would have a million times if I were in their shoes. There had to have been quite a bit of psychological abuse for that to work the way it did!


Stockholm syndrome. Cobb was a master at the physical and the psychological.

Kolleen Daniels

I think the relationship between Master and the various characters was extremely interesting to me. Some of his followers seemed to violent, it never was apparent to me what about his existence caused this sort of reaction in others.

Kathleen Nelson

The Fields were so tender to each other, despite their formal, stiff language. The depth of their life be transcended words. It was obvious through their actions.


I wish Cobb and his mother was explained in more detail. The relationship between Tom & Mary, once she’s sent away, she seems to just forget all about him…and does she gladly go along with Cobb? I thought it a bit anticlimactic when Tom is returned after the ordeal his mother went through, sitting in the streets with her signs and going a bit mad, their reunion was just…he goes home with her, the end?

Kay B.

i found the relationship of cobb to his children the most fascinating he had such a power over them

Mary Pat McQueeney

Mayne and Fields had fascinating exchanges. I felt I was listening to something John Cleese would do.


I found the relationship between Cobb and his mother intriguing, but perhaps the author could have provided more information to further clarify it. The elements of abuser/victim, what contributes to the makeup of a serial killer, and Darwin’s theory all interwoven were fascinating.

Dee Lynch

Yes, the mother-son relationship was just lightly touched on in her last day. Her character developed once at the Fields, prior she seemed like another servant, as in the Hamlets. She was evil, and ugly of course.


I was most interested In the relationship between Cst. Llewellyn and Inspector Fields. Although there was friction between the two initially, especially when Fields discovered Llewelyn was a communist, both remained devoted to each other. Even after Llewellyn was demoted, he continued the investigation initiated by Fields. Time again, he risked everything for the investigation and for his boss, He covered up the death Cobb’s mother at the hands of Field’s wife and friends. He never seemed to lose faith in Fields, even when the latter lost faith in himself. He was rewarded ultimately by being accepted by Fields as… Read more »

Anne Marie Jefferys

Cobb and Tom. It was like that a father and son but on a Stockholm syndrome sort of way. He psychologically abused him and it was a matter of time before he escaped. Then there was Tom and Fields who showed a more loving care for the boy

Diane Thomas

I agree the connection was on par with Stockholm syndrome. The push and pull added intrigue to the story.

Leann N

The relationship between Mary and Cobb – I felt like he had been poisoning the families she worked for to fasten his hold over her, but then why would she have acted alone in the end?

Danielle W

I don’t think she acted alone in the end – I think that was all arranged through the Bishop by Cobb. But who knows where she went in the end?


Prince Albert and Owen. The two men are sparring, which usually happens over a romantic interest, but here it is over Darwin.

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