10 Books for the TBR if You Loved Tom Hardy’s Taboo

By February 24, 2017Polls and Discussion, Television

Am I the only one sucked into the weird and wonderful world of Taboo? The show is currently airing on the BBC, in the US and on Amazon Prime, starring Tom Hardy. It’s his own production, written by his father, and it’s about the most darkly different show on the television right now.

Taboo has aired to mixed reviews, but generally the reception has been good. What it lacks sometimes in dialogue it makes up for in sheer weirdness full of magic, incest and surrealism, and some fantastic imagery.

Adventurer James Delaney builds his own shipping empire in the early 1800s, but now he is dead and his son is back from the dead to claim his inheritance. With themes of slavery, colonialism, magical realism, and many taboo subjects, the show is set in the early 19th Century, mostly in London and heavily features the East India Dock Company and the war with America.

Hardy plays the role well with shades of Oliver Reed’s Sikes, grunting and mono-syllabic, while still owning every inch of the screen he possesses, and if you’ve enjoyed Season 1 as much as me then we have some books to recommend while we await the now confirmed second season!

The Devil’s Company – David Liss

If you’re interested in the East India Company and you’d like another novel set around the same scenery then The Devil’s Company is a fantastic murder mystery, full of intrigue, darkness and suspense. It’s the third in a series but the only one set around the East India Dock and it stands alone pretty well.

The Devil’s Company US
The Devil’s Company UK

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The Honourable Company – John Keay

And if that doesn’t quench your appetite then The Honourable Company is a great nonfiction read. Written in a relaxed narrative it covers the history of the world’s greatest trading power.

The Honourable Company US
The Honourable Company UK

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The East India Company: Trade and Conquest from 1600 – Antony Wild

The East India thrived through a time of Imperialism, slavery and darkness and this complete nonfiction history is an essential read if you’d like to know more about how the East India company became the biggest global superpower even known.

The East India Company: Trade and Conquest from 1600 US
The East India Company: Trade and Conquest from 1600 UK

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Journal of the Plague Year – Daniel Defoe

If Downton Abbey is Jane Austen then Taboo is Daniel Defoe. Defoe was known for writing about themes of Imperialism and colonialism in Robinson Crusoe but in Journal of the Plague Year he speaks of one man’s experience of the year 1665, the Great Plague. It’s gritty realism at its very best with that dark Gothic theme you’re looking for.

Journal of the Plague Year US
Journal of the Plague Year UK

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Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

While we’re on the classics we have to mention Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, a dark novel told from a boat on the River Thames. Protagonist Marlow tells his friends of a voyage up the Congo River and shows it’s hard to tell the civilised from the savages when it comes to the crunch. Hardy has specifically mentioned channelling both Marlow, and Dickens’ Sikes for the role, giving this novel specific meaning.

Heart of Darkness US
Heart of Darkness UK

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The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

We’re leaving London but we’re sticking with the classics, much magical realism and a vodka drinking cat as we head to Soviet Russia for the Master and Margarita. It’s not an easy read but it’s well worth it if you stick it out.

The Master and Margarita US
The Master and Margarita UK

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A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E Schwab

If you love the fantasy element of Taboo then try A Darker Shade of Magic. Adult fantasy set in parallel Londons. Not quite so dark as Taboo, it’s full of magic, fast-paced and complex and is on the upper end of quality adult fantasy novels.

A Darker Shade of Magic US
A Darker Shade of Magic UK

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Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd

Whitbread Award winner and Guardian Fiction winner 1985 is Hawksmoor, a parallel tale that switches between 18th century London and 1980s London. It’s dark and full of mysticism, human sacrifice, murder and suspense and should quench your appetite if you want more Taboo!

Hawksmoor US
Hawksmoor UK

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Hairy London – Stephen Palmer

High fantasy set in Edwardian London, Hairy London is full of magical realism, dark alleys and weird and wonderful characters. Fast paced and surreal, it’s a real page turner, as odd as Taboo, but overall rewarding.

Hairy London US
Hairy London UK

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The Unseeing – Anna Mazzola

Set in London in 1837, The Unseeing is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress sentenced to hang for the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. It’s a twisting tale of family secrets and an intricate plot worthy of the Delaneys.

The Unseeing US
The Unseeing UK

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8 Books that Capture Caribbean Voices and the Spirit of the Windrush Generation

By | News, Polls and Discussion | No Comments
Dominating the news in the UK and around the world this week is the despicable treatment of the Windrush generation, a generation of Caribbean migrants who came to Britain after World War II to provide labour.

The name comes from HMT Windrush, a troopship that brought 492 migrant workers to Tilbury Docks, London on 22nd June 1948. These people were the first to land on our shores, and the name came to mean anyone that arrived in this movement, which lasted until 1971. Read More

Harriet Tubman Day – 5 Great Reads

By | Literature, Polls and Discussion | No Comments
Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who went on to become a saviour to many, an abolitionist and anti-slavery activist. Born into slavery in around 1822, Tubman escaped to freedom, and subsequently made some thirteen missions back to the south, helping to rescue around 70 families using a network of safe houses known as the underground railroad.

When the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army and was the first woman to lead an armed expedition when she led the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more then 700 slaves. Read More

5 Characters from Literature We’d Love to Party With

By | Polls and Discussion | One Comment
Literature remains one of our favourite pastimes because books are able to transport us from our own lives and bring us exciting new adventures we could only have dreamed of. With the help of literature, we can visit far off places, meet wonderful new people, explore fantasy worlds, embark on epic quests, solve crimes, visit bygone eras of history and, every now and then, attend really awesome parties. In today’s article, we’re looking at five characters from literature we’d love to party with. Read More

New York Bookstore Features Books from Sh*thole Countries

By | Authors, Literature, Polls and Discussion | No Comments
Turning negatives into positives is always a good thing, and right now we’re in love with Rough Draft Bar and Books in New York for their display featuring authors from ‘shithole countries’.

Since he has taken office, President Trump has done a pretty good job at offending the rest of the world. A while ago he banned travellers from many Muslim countries and we responded by featuring a list of books from the Muslim ban list. Read More

7 Box Set Book Series for the Fantasy Fan in Your Life

By | Polls and Discussion | One Comment
It’s the time of year for buying gifts, and while we all know that books make fabulous presents it can be hard to know what to buy. If you have a friend who loves fantasy then today we can help by recommending 7 box set book series, all from the broad fantasy genre.

All the series we’ve chosen are complete so there’s no waiting for the next book in the series, and they’re all available as complete box sets, with lovely cover art, making the perfect complete gift. Read More

5 Best Books About the JFK Assassination

By | News, Polls and Discussion | One Comment
The assassination of John F. Kennedy is one of the best known events in American history and with so many files from the assassination finding themselves classified, it’s an event that has always attracted conspiracy theorists. Over the years the subject has been discussed extensively, and many books on the subject have been written. You’d think we may have exhausted the subject but with the release of a cache of classified files last week, the subject is back in the forefront of the minds of many. Read More



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