Release Date: 02/02/12
1796: Nathan Peake, captain of the frigate Unicorn is sent with a small squadron into the Adriatic to help bring Venice into an Italian alliance against the French. He establishes a British naval presence, harrying the French corsairs that swarm out of Ancona in Italy. While Nathan confronts the politics of 'intrigue, poison and the stiletto' in Venice, his mission is further complicated by the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte's aide de camp, Junot. Recognising Nathan as the 'American' who saved Bonaparte's life in Paris, Junot invites him to army headquarters where he unwillingly joins the French in a victorious battle against the Austrians. Meanwhile, in Venice, French troops move into the city and a new revolutionary government takes power. Nathan learns that Bonaparte is negotiating a peace deal with the Austrians - Britain's only remaining ally. Worse, the Spanish are about to ally with the French. Nathan returns to the Unicorn and rejoins Nelson for the decisive Battle of St Vincent against the entire Spanish fleet.
I love a cracking historical novel set during a well-known time period, firstly because with hindsight the reader knows what’s going to happen but mainly because, for those with the knowledge, it’s fascinating to see how the author is going to manipulate events to allow the best outcome for his story as well as generating a seat of the ride journey for the reader.
What Seth Hunter does well is keep up a breakneck pace that works well for this type of storytelling but he also manages not to get too heavy with the historical background which could have really dragged the piece down, back that up with a compulsory principle hero who feels that he could jump from the page fully and the reader is going to get a satisfactory piece. All in a wonderful piece of writing for this the fourth book in the series and one that I feel is allowing Peake to come into his own. Cracking.