A gentleman soldier returns from the Peninsula War, silent and remote. In search of self healing he travels the western sea roads north from Bristol to the Scottish Isles.
In time we learn that John Lacroix was an officer in charge of a motley bunch of infantrymen making their way to Corunna, and that something terrible happened on that journey.
Unbeknownst to Lacroix he is being tracked by an ill suited pair – Calley, a British footsoldier, and Medina, a Spanish officer, who have been tasked with bringing him to justice – or, in Calley’s interpretation, returning with Lacroix’s head in a sack. We never really learn who is behind their orders.
Historical novel, romance, thriller – it’s a real mixture that offers a fascinating perspective on the Peninsula Wars, 18th century trade and travel, Scottish emigration and Hebridean life.
Håkan Söderström becomes separated from his brother Linus in the hustle and bustle of Portsmouth on their journey to New York to start a new life in the New World.
After mistakenly boarding a ship for San Francisco by way of Cape Horn, he finds himself in the West that is starting, slowly, to become sparsely populated with shanty towns and wagon trains, emigrants, prospectors and miners – and those who prey on them.
We follow in Håkan’s footsteps, and occasional travels on horseback, as he traverses the deserts the plains and the prairies, determined to get to New York to find his brother.
We see how few key encounters and experiences impact his life, and take our leave of The Hawk as he takes his of an ice bound ship en route to Alaska.
After solving the mystery of the Fishbourne Palace project overrun/overspend and keeping King Togidubnus onside, Falco and family decide to spend a few days in Londinium on their return home to Rome, visiting Helena’s uncle and aunt.
Unfortunately their arrival coincides with the apparent murder of King Togidubnus’ friend, Verovolcus, whose banishment to Gaul Falco engineered at the end of A Body in the Bath House.
Londinium, it seems, is starting to experience the less attractive side effects of Roman life – extortion rackets run by the big boys from Rome.
As Falco and Petro run parallel investigations, the will-they, won’t-they romance between Petro and Maia continues. We meet two ladies who loom large in Falco’s life – Chloris, Falco’s ex aka the notorious rope dancer, and a British orphan called Flavia Albia.