"Who are these people? Why are they doing this? What do they want?"
What a brilliant historical thriller; begging the rather predictable question of "who done it", while simultaneously focusing on the unpredictability of "who" will come to the aid of the innocent, ensuring that readers will remain steadfastly engaged until the very end. Some rather unlikely heroes come forward with the truth, legitimizing the barrister's confident statement that, "the case will . . . be won or lost in the courtroom."
The barrister being referred to is of course the notoriously clever William Snopes, whose cunning, unorthodox methodology has begrudgingly earned the man a great deal of respect. This case however, is different from any other, for William must decide whether or not Lady Jameson and her uncle, Captain Harold Tuttle, are worth facing down the Crown, for the Letter of Marque has simply disappeared. . . assuming it had ever existed.
In spite of the rather methodical beginning, as most legal plots tend to require, this story gained momentum rather quickly as each and every character darted in and out of the shadows of possibilities, climbed in and out and around every obstacle and relentlessly pushed towards the inevitable certainty that the light of truth would prevail . . . and in this case, not a moment too soon.
"If lies are so unnatural, then remind me what truth is in this world, Mr. Snopes, and how it can be hidden so. I've forgotten.
Father Thomas will tell you from his profession that it is God's most fundamental trait. The essence of who He is. In the courtroom, truth is tool and brick: powerful to wield and the only foundation for real justice."
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, and also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he's a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.
In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king's regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter--the sole proof his actions were legal--has mysteriously vanished.
Moved by the lady's distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he'd imagined.