In October 1812, the English Secret Service sends Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood on a mission to France. Napoleon has traveled to Russia, leaving France leaderless. Hawkwood is ordered to join a British spy in Paris, where he is to discover the method of accomplishing his mission. The plan, if successful, could lead to a negotiated peace treaty between France and England. If Hawkwood is caught, he will most likely be killed as a spy.
Upon arriving in France, Hawkwood uses his ability of speaking French while using the assumed name of Paul Dumas. Using code words, he is able to hook up with his contact in France: Captain Colquhoun Grant of the British army. Hawkwood soon learns that the plan is to meet with French resistance people who will overturn the present French government. He is able to set up a meeting with General Malet through his wife. General Malet, along with his accomplices, is incarcerated in a Parisian asylum. It is up to Hawkwood to assist them in escaping and to help organize the revolution.
This novel is the fourth in the series about Matthew Hawkwood, a former soldier serving in the Napoleonic Wars, now a policeman in London. Because of his rare talents of spying, his ability to speak French, and his skill in working in difficult assignments, Hawkwood is the ideal protagonist. I have read each novel in this series, and this book does not disappoint. His characters are well drawn out, the dialog is crisp, and the predicaments that Hawkwood encounters make for exciting reading. I highly recommend this book to enthusiasts of William Dietrich’s latest adventure novels.