Fox: Cromwell’s Spy

Written by Nick McCarty
Review by Nan Hawthorne

John Fox is an expert scout, taking the practice into a sort of espionage where he can gain information in towns as well as read signs of the enemy in the field. But Fox has seen too much killing and decides to go back to England and marry his Quaker sweetheart, the mother of his daughter. An in-law sends him on a wild goose chase on the Continent in order to sick a witch-finder on his wife, and when Fox returns he finds her dead and his daughter missing. With the help of a spunky Irish woman he sets out to find his daughter and the men responsible for his personal tragedy. The period of history just at the start of the English Civil War is well drawn, as are the complicated characters and their complicated relationships. Don’t expect resolution on all fronts, however. With its title, the novel gives itself away as the first volume in a planned series. The fact is that Cromwell is not even mentioned until 65 percent of the way into the book, nor is Fox Cromwell’s spy by the end of it. An odd choice on the author’s part, but hopefully the sequel will correct this.