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The Poison Bed

UK Publisher: Michael Joseph
US Publisher: Pegasus Books

Autumn, 1615.

Celebrated couple Robert and Frances Carr are imprisoned on suspicion of murder.

She has been rescued from an abusive marriage by Robert, and is determined to make a new life for herself. Whatever the price.

He has risen from nothing to become one of the country’s most powerful men. But to get to the top, you cannot help making enemies.

Now a man is dead. And someone must pay with their life.

Frances knows the truth can kill. Robert knows a lie can set you free. Neither understands their marriage is a poisoned bed.


Longlisted for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2019


‘This page-turner takes a true story from the Jacobean court and turns it into a gripping psychological thriller. Readers will be awake deep into the night, tryin to untangle the truth.’ The Times, Books of the year – Historical fiction

The Poison Bed by EC Fremantle is a gripping novel with the pace and plot twists of a psychological thriller. Who did it? This page-turner will have you awake long into the night trying to work it out. Don’t google, because The Poison Bed is based on a real scandal at James’s court, which Fremantle has drawn on to create this ingenious delight.’ The Times

‘Immaculately detailed and atmospheric, this Jacobean mystery borrows from both revenge tragedies and contemporary noir thriller to manipulate the reader. It is dark, clever and compulsive’ Daily Mail

‘Based on shocking real events, this is an electrifying, brilliantly executed thriller.’ Woman & Home

‘This is a subject I’ve long wanted to tackle, and Fremantle gives it her elegant and engaging best.’ Alison Weir, The New York Times

‘I love a book that keeps me reading long past my bed-time, and The Poison Bed certainly did that. With its intoxicating blend of intrigue, seduction, witchcraft and murder, all within the Jacobean court, The Poison Bed is beautifully told and impossible to put down.’ Karen Gillece

‘Deliciously sinister. A toxic blend of glamour, intrigue and ambition’ Andrew Taylor

‘Excellent writing! Top-notch characterisation! If you haven’t read any Fremantle yet, oh what a treat is ahead of you!’ Marian Keyes

‘The Poison Bed is a sharp, well-constructed mystery thriller that offers a fresh take on the historical novel.’ The Bookbag

‘This story is even more fascinating knowing that it is based on a true story. So much intrigue, passion and even murder – everything I look for in a good read!’ donnasbookblog

‘This novel was seriously transfixing. The characters were amazing. I read a lot of fantasy books which have recently seen a rise in the power of the anti heroine and for me, Frances Howard outshone them all. Completely gripping I really found it a struggle to put this one down. I loved The Girl in the Glass Tower and with The Poison Bed Elizabeth Fremantle has fast become one of my favourite authors of historical fiction. 5*’ NetGalley review

‘Fremantle does a masterly job of recreating the feel of the period, along with making the atmosphere of suspicion and plotting palpable. Readers will eagerly await her next historical.’ Publishers Weekly Starred Review