I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is a great mystery, has lots of adventure and a suspenseful end.
The novel begins with murders in England. The first is Lydia Garrett's uncle and guardian. Then we find out the Earl of Danbury was murdered on the same night. The paths of Lydia and Anthony Douglas, the new Lord Danbury, cross. Perusing old documents long hidden, they find out the murdered men had been on the same ship, one commanded by the former earl. In 1758, the earl had been asked by the Indian royal family to take the magnificent Peacock Throne away from India and hide it. Danbury is convinced that going after the hidden throne will flush out the murderer.
Added to that major stream of the plot is a British intelligence operative, Marcus Harting. He is working for the former prime minister, William Pitt. It is suspected that there is a French operative working in London and Harting is to find him. Lord Danbury is at the top of his list.
The novel starts with a mystery. Who has murdered the two men, one from a shabby part of London and the other an earl? Then the novel turns to adventure as Danbury sets out to find the throne. Lydia and Harting manage to convince Danbury to take them along on the voyage. Then the novel barrels into suspense as all does not go well in the adventure.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, even though I am not a fan of historical fiction. I really liked Lydia. She is not a wimpy woman. She is a woman of strong character who is very resourceful.
I appreciated that this novel is based on actual historical events. There really was a bejeweled Peacock Throne that disappeared from India in the 1700s. While some suppose it was captured in 1737 by Nadir Shah of Persia, Richardson disagrees. Her research showed that the throne spirited away from India did not match the description of the Peacock Throne in Delhi. That it might have been taken away on an English boat is not a new idea. It had one time been proposed that the throne had been on the Grosvenor, and English ship that crashed into southeastern Africa in 1792. (Caliban's Shore, p. 257)
I highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy a well crafted story woven around a very possible historical event. The characters are well developed and the action is plentiful.
This was the first full novel Richardson wrote but remained unpublished. Now, as an award-winning author, she revisited her first story and introduced it to us. We are left waiting at the end for the sequel. I'll be watching for it.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Lisa Karon Richardson is the author of several novels. She and her family live in Ohio. You can find out more at http://www.lisakaronrichardson.com/.
Lion Fiction (Distributed in the U. S. by Kregel), 352 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.