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A Lawless Place
The Contraband Shore – Book II
BY David Donachie

Allison and Busby
22 November 2018 (Out 19 January 2019 in US) / ISBN 9780749021702

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


Kent 1787: Captain Edward Brazier has been soundly defeated by the villainous Henry Tulkington. Betsey has been forcibly wed to the weak but lecherous Harry Spafford and imprisoned in her own home. Edward’s own reputation is under scrutiny by the Prime Minister William Pitt for his possible part in the mysterious death of his former admiral on his last mission. Pitt wants him to investigate the smuggling that is rife in Deal, but Edward is not sure which side he is even on. All he wants is to clear his name and marry Betsey.

As with the first book, the author conjures up the narrow streets of Deal with its smuggling and air of simmering discontent. The pace slows down in this second book, but the tension builds up nicely to the denouement, which sets the scene for the third and final part of the series. Although this book will appeal to readers of Donachie’s nautical fiction and, indeed, anybody who wants to read about life in the late 18th century, this series could best be described as romance with mystery. If you like Poldark it is sure to appeal, and a romance written largely from a male viewpoint is both unusual and interesting. Edward makes for a likeable protagonist, while Henry is a villain through and through. This is very much a tale of heroes and villains, with nobody much in the middle, but even this suits this tale of love and adventure. It could stand some editing – the series could have been two books instead of three – but it is still an entertaining read, and I look forward to seeing how it ends.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Contrandband Shore I
Lawless Place II

Blood Will Out III

Reviewed 2019