A debut historical novel follows an Englishman in Sierra Leone who eventually becomes the target of a Nazi’s vendetta.
Kirby opens his story in 1922 Sierra Leone, where Jack Austin is happily ensconced in the small community of Shenge, running a diamond mine. The scene then shifts to Cambridge, England, where Jack’s cousin Sara is wooed by her fiance, Charles Wilson. Wilson is interested in Sara solely because of her father’s title as the esteemed Lord Claremont. Wilson believes that a marriage to Sara will allow him to inherit the coveted title, but the scheming suitor is unaware that Jack, the true heir to the title, is still alive. A complicated series of events left Jack presumed dead before the start of the novel. But Jack returns from Sierra Leone after his uncle’s death and discovers Wilson’s nefarious plan. Worse yet, Jack realizes that Wilson is in league with Kurt Oster, a German who is manipulating him to gain access for the Nazi regime to information exchanged in the House of Lords. After a clever plan to dethrone Wilson results in the imposter’s downfall and the reinstatement of Jack as the true Lord Claremont, a nasty rivalry begins between Jack and Oster. Each time that Jack achieves success against Oster, it inflames the Nazi more, leaving the protagonist the repeated victim of the German’s plotting. As the absorbing tale unfolds, Jack’s life takes many unexpected turns, including a complicated romance with Sara, travels to and from Africa, and surprising interactions with natives of Sierra Leone. Through Jack’s alpha male adventures, Kirby has created an action-packed thriller ripe with deceit and intrigue that should keep readers turning pages. The fast-paced narrative and surprising twists are augmented by historical tidbits about the life of miners in Sierra Leone. The story is densely packed, requiring readers to pay close attention, lest they miss significant details. At times, the climactic plot may require suspending disbelief, but even so, readers should be drawn into the ongoing drama that plagues one man in this unpredictable tale.
Part thriller, part romance, this story should appeal to fans of reckless heroes and narrow escapes.