Nathan, however, has not come to Faro simply to learn the language; he has a puzzle he is trying to solve, and knowing that Jo has a journalistic background, asks how she would go about uncovering the information he needs.
Nathan's investigation into an old child-abduction case intrigues the journalist in Jo, and she joins him in his search for answers.
The answers may lie in a far more distant past than at first expected, and Jo is advised to read The Alliance, a novel that involves refugees from WWII who arrive in Portugal, officially a neutral country but with fascist ties and plenty of Nazis. A parallel story emerges that will, eventually, explain something about circumstances in the present. (While interesting, some of the sections from the novel within the novel slow down the pacing.)
Someone does not want the distant or more recent past revealed, and Nathan and Jo's investigation turns threatening.
The consequences of the past, suspense, complex characters, and a captivating setting--I'm certainly interested in reading more by this author.
Suspense/Mystery. May 16, 2016. Print length: 384 pages.
Oh, how I love good historical fiction! And Gentleman Captain provides a suspenseful historical tale filled with adventure. Set a few years after Oliver Cromwell's death, Charles II navigates the uneasy peace that lies between the Roundheads who supported Cromwell and the Royalists who support the monarchy. The novel covers something I'd never really thought about--the transition involved in the Restoration. Old wounds are still raw, offenses are not yet forgiven, and politics are definitely divergent; efforts are being made to unite England, but the path is precarious and deciding who to trust is difficult.
Historically, there are some interesting details about the navy and its traditional operation (gentlemen captains with no experience is only one element, lovers of naval history will be more than satisfied with the details of naval operation), but the novel is also an adventure in which Matthew Quenton, a young inexperienced captain (who lost his last ship) is commissioned to accompany another ship captained by a former Roundhead to investigate and foil an attempt at conspiracy in Scotland.
Fortunately for Matthew, he is accompanied by the man who saved his life when his last ship hit the rocks and sank. Matthew and Kit Farrell have a deal: Kit will teach Matthew seamanship and Matthew will teach Kit to read. One of the most enjoyable elements of the novel is Davies' ability to bring to life so many secondary characters, always a feat to be admired.
The beginning was a little slow, but when the ships set sail, a fascinating tale begins. Great plotting, compelling characters, and lots of action kept me engrossed. And yes, I loved the couple of mentions of Samuel Pepys, naval administrator and diarist!
The novel was originally published in 2009, so I'm delighted to learn I can look forward to more of Matthew Quinton's adventures without a long wait.
J.D. Davies is a British historian and writes both fiction and nonfiction.
Historical Fiction/Adventure. 2009, 2016. Print length: 341 pages.
Have you ever written a letter to an author?
I'm considering working up the courage to do so,
but I'm not there yet.James Preller, an author of children's books, visits schools and receives a lot of fan mail, and he makes an effort to reply to the children who write to him in such a generous and humorous way!
I was writing a post about letters and thank you notes on my other blog, and Mr. Preller gave me permission to use one of the letters he received and his reply. You can check it out here. A wonderful way to encourage kids write letters and what an experience if the author actually writes back!