The Devil’s Prize

Written by Jane Jackson
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

The Devil’s Prize takes the reader into the realms of Cornish wrecking and smuggling towards the end of the 18th century. Times are hard and the people of Porthinnis earn their living by whatever means they can, be that salting down a shoal of pilchards in the pilchard cellars, retrieving anything they find on the beach either simply washed up or recovered from a ship wrecked in a storm, or by smuggling brandy, lace and tobacco from France, in this case Roscoff. Woven into the story are the loves and lives of Jenefer Trevanion and her crippled sister, Betsy, Tamara Gillis and, of course, Devlin Varcoe, the hero and ‘devil’ of the tale.

The story moves at a good pace, the characters are believable, and life in and around the village quite colourfully told. Love, jealousy, treachery, and betrayal are all there. The theme is hardly original, but it is a good yarn, and I found it an enjoyable read.