Cologne, 1654. Charles Stuart lives in impoverished exile, forever plotting to regain the English crown. A mysterious letter arrives claiming knowledge of the location of a long-lost fortune in gold, and Charles sends Richard Tremaine back to his native Cornwall to obtain it at all costs. Richard’s ship is wrecked in a storm off the coast and he’s the only one to survive, rescued by the current inhabitants of his ancestral home. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that things at the old home front aren’t exactly according to Hoyle, first and foremost being his long-lost sister “Susannah” – a girl he was never laid eyes on before. Richard is soon enmeshed in plots and counter-plots, a secret society bent on all kinds of evil doings, secret agents and more of that kind of stuff.
Perhaps it is my fault, as I went into this expecting a straight historical novel with all the intrigues and treachery inherent in Cromwell’s England. Unfortunately, this book would be better categorized as a historical thriller – and one more suited to the male reader at that – think 17C James Bond action with a hero that appeals to all the girls. Think hero and bad guys with nine lives and then some no matter how many knife wounds they get. Think hero who can recover beautifully from a badly sprained ankle in a matter of hours. Think hero who whilst watching a woman have the clothing torn from her by a deranged madman he manages to observe her “creamy back and full, rounded breasts” (no, I am not kidding). Worst of all, is the sex out of nowhere at the most ludicrous times (was sex so important we had to do it before we escaped?) and I suspect most female readers would react to the sex scenes as I did:
“..Richard fought against the chains, craving to be closer to her, deeper into her, taste her, feel her, be her.”
“A flame was working its way up between her legs, caressing her, licking her very core into a hot swollen burst. She gasped and tasted moist leaf and lichen in the air and pressed deeper into the bed of leaves.”
Eeewww. In the end, if you are looking for an OTT action-packed (sort of) historical thriller this might do, but if you are looking for some insight into England’s Civil Wars and Cromwell’s rule you will not find it here. 2.5/5 stars.