From author Crutchley (Innovation Trends in Plastics Decoration and Surface Treatment, 2014) comes a novel concerning missing gold and the tumultuous world events in the time of Napoleon.
In the late 1700s, the colony of Saint-Domingue (modern-day Haiti) is in a state of upheaval. With the Revolution and resulting terrors sweeping France, places such as Le Cap (“the Paris of the Caribbean”) are starting to see violence. Having come to Saint-Domingue “to find fortune in a colony as far away as possible from the chaos in our motherland,” the narrator finds instead a hotbed of activity. After joining the army in Saint-Domingue, he sees his share of riots and revolts. It’s during one such operation to quell the chaos, when the army’s “sheer numbers totally surprised and shocked the…looters,” that the narrator finds his wife has been murdered and his son gone missing. In addition, a large amount of gold “sent to finance the restoration” is believed to have disappeared. So begins an investigation known as Black Carriage. What happened to the gold, and could it be related to the death of his wife? It’s an investigation that takes the reader to places as far-flung as Switzerland and Brazil. Part historical fiction, part investigative mystery, the book incorporates an enticing swath of the former. Readers familiar with the era will recognize Prince Pedro, Gen. Brune, Toussaint Louverture, and, of course, Napoleon; those unacquainted with such names will learn a great deal. Readers interested in the mystery will have to wade through dense periods of military maneuvering (such as with the French campaign through Europe) in order to find answers, but the journey is kept lively with well-written scenes of firing cannons and swinging swords (“I swung my sabre at a rebel crewman who jumped overboard to avoid me, and in the same sweep cut down one of his colleagues to my left just as he was raising his spike”).
Rich with world history and a burning central question, the story provides an array of real-life characters and fascinating locations.