Matthew Hawkwood of the Bow Street Runners, the British crown's special police unit, finds himself stuck in America, trying to wend his way home to London while the Yankees are at war with Britain.
Seconded to the Alien Office to trouble Napoleon, Hawkwood is forced to escape France on a ship sailing to the fledgling United States. It’s 1812. Hawkwood lands in Boston, intending to make his way home through Canada via Albany when he’s compelled to stop a robbery. The victim, Quade, is an American officer from whom Hawkwood learns valuable intelligence about the Lake Champlain campaign. Then Hawkwood sees an acquaintance, Maj. Lawrence, in a prisoner transport. Ever combative Hawkwood frees Lawrence, undertaking a solo nighttime raid at the Greenbush army camp. McGee also weaves in a storyline about Hawkwood’s childhood. His father, crown loyalist Ellis Hooper, died at the 1777 Battle of Oriskany, and the orphaned Hawkwood was sent to live in New York with the Archers, British loyalists who were then killed by militia forces. Young Hawkwood was rescued by Lt. Wyatt, British 4th Ranger Company, and his ally, Mohawk chief Tewanias As the parallel Hawkwood adventures intertwine—"In his mind’s eye he saw a twelve-year-old boy lost in a forest wilderness, surrounded by shadows"—McGee blends in historical references to Sir John Johnson, Zebulon Pike, and the Lake Champlain paddle steamer Vermont. There’s also insight into the troubled history between the Six Nations and white settlers, although some might find his ever stoic characterization of the Mohawks near cliché—"The other warriors maintained their silence, their faces inscrutable in the fading light." With Lawrence and a touch of British stiff-upper-lip repartee to perk interest, Hawkwood’s a hero to root for, especially with the addition of an intriguing back story.
Captivating action, page upon page, from a Regency-era Bond or Bourne.