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“…it's a marvellous exercise in the use of language and historical detail, terrifically grounded, very vivid and real-feeling. I am a really big fan of what this author is doing with queer historical writing and the very strong research and language.”
– KJ Charles 

Two men offer two very different futures to a young rogue struggling to make his way in 1771 London. Blue Billy's Rogue Lexicon is a meticulously researched dive into 18th century London's queer underworld – the journey of a young man searching for himself which just might lead him to first love.

William Dempsey rose from a life of thieving and prostitution to be the personal plaything of the Marquess of Argyll. Then, a betrayal sees him returned to the rough streets of London without patronage, his West End apartment, or a place among the ton.

So on a stormy night, he arrives at a house in Southwark – Marathon Moll’s in the Mint – the bawdyhouse he worked in during his ascent and where he earned the name Blue Billy. Here, amidst the parties and antics at Moll's, he meets Tom, a quiet, conflicted man, who senses in Billy a kindred soul. The attraction is immediate, and they take the first, tentative steps towards each other. But soon Billy is struggling to understand Tom’s motivations. And Tom's silences open the spaces for doubts to grow.

Then an echo from the past brings the promise of a much different future - a seductive young rogue arrives at the house and asks Billy to return to his roots.

To the street language of vagabonds. The canting dialect of thieves.

To the schemes, and the dreams, of his youth.

Readers and Reviewers rave about Blue Billy:

“a poignant coming-of-age story… Lawrence delights with his vibrant character portraits and fruitful mining of the period’s social mores.”

– Publishers Weekly, August 9th 2023

“A beautiful love story between two very different men. Elegantly written and full of fabulous historical details, this very entertaining romp is not only cleverly plotted but it is also blessed with a terrific cast of exquisitely drawn characters. A truly delightful story that will stay with you long after its last gorgeous sentences."

– Jean Luc Estrella, NetGalley Reviews

“A great choice for fans of historical romances. Lawrence has created a delightful world in Moll’s bawdyhouse. If you like period stories that take pains to build a vivid, engrossing picture of the time period, this is the book for you." – Joyfully Jay

“...(an) evocative historical novel of rogues, sex, and found community. Scenes like a staged “marriage” at Moll’s are uproarious, and the brothel offers a heartening sense of connection and camaraderie.”

– BookLife Reviews

“Blue Billy's Rogue Lexicon is one of those rare novels that keep you thinking about it, even after you finish reading. The author has clearly delved deep into the archives that exist about that era, and uncovered some rare gems. A highly recommended, utterly gripping read!"

– Cathie Dunn, author of Highland Arms: Rebellions, Danger, and Romance in Jacobite Scotland

“A gritty and emotional tale of a complex young protagonist… a satisfying and moving novel.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A beautifully written novel… a deep, poignant book with a moving storyline and complex characters. It was a wonderful read!”

– The Historical Fiction Company

Copyright © 2022 by David Lawrence Johnson
                       Broadbound Publishing


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