In 1721, the protagonist of the novel, Adam Hanaway, leaves his mother and sister in England to seek success in Lisbon after his father’s unexpected death. His relatives there are cordial but distant. His uncle’s assistant, Gomes, does his best to undermine Adam. Along the way, he becomes enamored with three beautiful women. He also becomes involved in a number of situations where conflict is inevitable, and he consistently displays the behavior that earned him the nickname of the novel’s title. In addition, Adam has to cope with the treachery and deceit that accompanies the dangerous Inquisition in Portugal.
Thoroughly researched, Prince’s novel is a rich tapestry, and it paints a vivid picture of Lisbon at the zenith of its glory. Character development and a twisting plot keep this lengthy novel moving and should be a source of pleasure for readers interested in the time period.