by James McGee
Rebellion is brewing in Napoleonic Paris, in the new action-packed novel from the author of the bestselling Ratcatcher 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...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 07/07/2011
- Category: Historical adventure
- ISBN: 9780007320189
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Review by AHS-Wolfy
The fourth book in the continuing adventures of Matthew Hawkwood finds our hero being seconded from his normal London beat to an agency for the Home Office. They have a mission that requires his unique talents and want him to go to Paris to see if the planned operation is feasible and to provide assistance if it is. When he finally gets to the French capital, let's just say that his travel plans were a little disrupted, he discovers that his contact is an old colleague that he thought never to see again. The plan of action? With France at war in Spain and Napoleon planning to invade Russia the time might be right to stage a coup and install a new regime that might be more favourable to a peaceful co-existence with England.When you pick up a book to continue a series you, as a reader, have certain expectations of what you're going to get. By the fourth book in that series those expectations are pretty much set in stone. So what happens when the latest book takes things in a new direction is that it gives the reader a feeling of being let down. No matter how good of a story the writer provides there will always be a sense of disappointment over what has been altered. So what has changed in this new instalment? The first three books were fast paced action/adventure stories set in or around London that follow the former soldier turned Bow Street runner with occasional assistance from recurring subsidiary characters. This one, while there are some elements of this early on soon degenerates into a slow building political intrigue that doesn't centre around the titular character of the series and being based upon actual events (with most of the featured characters being real-life people) so if you already know the outcome of the event then the majority of the suspense has already been removed.All that being said, this is not a bad story. Just not the one I quite expected. If it had been written with a different lead character then I would probably mark it a bit higher. The historical research by the author is once again very good and he does give examples for further reading for those that may be interested to learn more of the period and events portrayed.