Book Review

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

The Devil and the Dark Water
Author: Stuart Turton
Pages: 463
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Mystery|Thriller|Fiction
Publication Date: October 6th 2020

Buy here: Amazon UK (affiliate link)

Goodreads Synopsis

Murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.
It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.
But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered.
And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.
Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?
With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

My Review

What I Liked

“Mama says she’d rather be free than wealthy in a cage.’ ‘An argument we frequently enjoy,’ Creesjie snorted. ‘Unlike your mother, I don’t believe women can be free, not while men are stronger.

The Devil and the Dark Water is nothing like I expected. It’s a thrilling, creepy, supernatural mystery that is full of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the very end. I was completely invested in the story and the characters to the point where I really struggled to put it down, but had to because it was a buddy read! This is definitely one of my top thrillers I’ve read and I’m sure my boyfriend would agree because he stole it off me and read it first!

The Story

“Power should be a burden, not a shield. It should be used to everybody’s betterment, not merely for the person who wielded it.”

The book is set in the 1600’s onboard the Sardaam, a merchant ship sailing to Amsterdam. With passengers, crew and maybe a dark Supernatural force, this voyage is not going to be easy sailing.

Sam Pipps, the famous detective is a prisoner on the Sardaam, set to be executed when they make it to Amsterdam. His loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes is hoping to free him but a dark, mysterious force is discovered and threatens the ship. Arent is forced to work with Sara Wessel (not that he minds), wife of the Governor, to figure out what is going on.

The story is fun, fast-paced and there is always something happening to keep you turning the page. Turton mentions in the acknowledgements of The Devil and the Dark Water that it isn’t all historically accurate and I love this. He makes it his own and puts in or misses out the facts he thinks work. Even if you prefer novels that are historically accurate, you might still enjoy this one because many aspects of the era are described in great detail. The story comes alive and it is easy to visualise with help from the diagram of the boat of the first and back pages!

The Characters

“Cleverness is a type of strength, and they won’t accept a woman who’s stronger than they are. Their pride won’t allow it, and their pride is the thing they hold dearest.”

The book is full of interesting and intriguing characters, that you can’t help but love. Arent and Sara are probably my favourites but it does help that we learn so much about them and see their bravery and intelligence.

There are quite a lot of characters in this book and It did get a bit confusing once aboard the Sardaam but the page of notable passengers and crew near the front is extremely helpful and it’s also a nice addition to the book!

Overall Thoughts

“Besides, my beauty won’t last forever. I must sell it for the best price I can.”

Overall, this is an amazing face-paced thriller that hooks you from the very beginning. I really loved the character development as well as the surprising and suspenseful storyline. The only thing that disappointed me really is the ending. I feel like everything is revealed so suddenly and although some things are explained, there are some things that aren’t and It just left me wondering a bit. However, this is still an incredible book and if you are a fan of thrillers, I would definitely recommend this!

Rating: 4.5/5

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Buy here: Amazon UK (affiliate link)

Manchester blogger with a passion for reading, writing and travelling. I always have a book or a cup of tea in my hand.


15 January 2021 at 3:08 pm

Great review. I feel like this one sounds really interesting but I felt like Evelyn Hardcastle fell flat/weird for me, so I’m hesitant.

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