Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Bantam (Transworld UK)
Release Date: 1 June 2004
ISBN: 0593050657
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre:  Historical Crime [1806, Various locations in the UK]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  

The Chains of Albion
By Edwin Thomas

    Hapless naval Lieutenant Martin Jerrold is back for another misadventure. Following his exploits in Dover in the first book of the series The Blighted Cliffs (also reviewed on this site), he has found himself in clover as captain of the Prometheus. This is no man of war, sailing the seven seas but a prison ship, moored in the Medway. Jerrold is somewhat soft as a prison governor so it is not surprising that he soon loses one of his charges. What is more surprising is that the missing Frenchman seems to be wanted by the highest in the land, and not only Jerrold but, the whole nation will be brought to their knees if he is not apprehended. Thus, begins a chase that will take Jerrold and his friend the “postman” Nevell across the country to the wilds of Dartmoor and beyond.

     The first novel in the series showed some promise, but was somewhat lacking in action. This second book comes back with a bang and fairly rattles along, springing surprises on the way as well as several comic moments. The other reviewers quoted are still proudly likening the series to Patrick O’Brien, a comparison that leaves me utterly baffled. If you like sea stories you won’t necessarily enjoy this largely land-bound tale, and if you don’t care for them you might well find this first-person racy narrative just your cup of tea. After all, Jerrold hates the navy too! For me the most praiseworthy feature of this series is having a comparatively ordinary man as a protagonist. Surely most of us can identify with Jerrold, dropped in at the deep end and trying to get by and earn a living without being killed. His sidekick is perhaps a more interesting person, but arch-spy Nevell makes an ideal foil to Jerrold’s believable bumbling as he effortlessly glides through the story being cryptic and knowing about everything. I wanted more period color too in the second book and it is here, complete with some surprising facts about the royalty of the time and prisoners of war. This is truly a series to watch; more adventure than whodunit, it ought to please a large number of fans across the genres.