British writer Hunter's rousing American debut, the first of a trilogy, features Royal Navy officer Nathan Peake, a 23-year-old mariner whose misadventures had convinced him early on that he was born to hang. In 1793, Nathan is plucked from the deck of his warship and sent to Paris on a secret mission, disguised as an American sea captain smuggling tobacco into France. He is unwittingly involved in a British plot to ruin the French economy by flooding France with counterfeit banknotes and to provide gold to bribe French revolutionaries. Unfortunately, the viciousness of the Paris mob, the duplicity of revolutionaries like Robespierre, and the specter of the guillotine threaten Nathan, his conspirators, and the condemned widow he loves. Our hero survives sea battles, assassin attacks, and torture, but his schemes often tragically fail. Hunter (a pseudonym) presents a complex plot, written with wit, suspense, intrigue, and action. Along with a flawed but likable character, he reveals the bloody history of the French Revolution, and establishes solid ground for the upcoming sequels, already published in the U.K.(Apr.)
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