A Sea of Troubles
It is 1794, and Britannia is doing its best to rule the waves to the detriment of Revolutionary France. John Pearce, son of a guillotined radical thinker, gang-pressed (twice!) as a hand, and then made a Lieutenant through an act of valour and royal intervention, is not your typical naval hero. Something of a pariah to his fellow-officers, and a grudging secret-errand-boy to the powerful minister Henry Dundas, Pearce also has a busy agenda of his own, what with rescuing old friends, foiling the vengeful smugglers he once inadvertently crossed, and keeping his very married lady-love safe from both her estranged husband and scandal. But can he manage it all, with his numerous foes out to get him, and yet another secret mission to perform? This is the ninth instalment in a series and, while the reader is left in no confusion as to who wants what, and why, there is a definite feeling of transition to the whole story, as Pearce deals with the aftermaths of a previous mission and prepares for the next – and not much happens. That A Sea of Troubles still manages to be a rather gripping and fast-paced read says much for Donachie’s storytelling and strong characters.