Author: James McGee, 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction. Napoleonic War. Spy Fiction. Adventure.
Other Details: Hardback. 522 pages.
October 1812: Britain and France are still at war. France is engaged on two battle fronts - Spain and Russia - and her civilians are growing weary of the fight. Rebellion is brewing. Since Napoleon Bonaparte appointed himself as First Consul, there have been several attempts to either kill or overthrow him. All have failed, so far…
Meanwhile in London, Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood has been seconded to the foreign arm of the Secret Service. There, he meets the urbane Henry Brooke, who tells him he’s to join a colleague in Paris on a special mission. Brooke's agent has come up with a daring plan and he needs Hawkwood's help to put it into action. If the plan is successful it could lead to a negotiated peace treaty between France and the allies. Failure would mean prison, torture and a meeting with the guillotine… - synopsis from UK publisher's website.
While I certainly enjoyed this latest exploit of Matthew Hawkwood there came a point when I started to feel a little confused during the later sections when the conspiracy comes to fruition in Paris. So many things were happening that I felt I almost needed to take notes to keep track of events and who was impersonating who or being arrested by who.
However, what I didn't realise until reaching the author's historical notes is that while Hawkwood is a fictional spy pretty much everyone else involved were real historical figures as were the events chronicled. So the complexity in the narrative reflected the complexity of what happened on that day in history. While Hawkwood leaves the scene the author's notes provided welcome details of the fallout of the conspiracy and fates of the conspirators and others.
I am also pleaded to see that the series is continuing with new one due out in 2014.