Review copy was received from Publicity team. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Man of War by TJ London
Narrator: Tara Langella, Patrick Zeller, Marnye Young, Nicholas Boulton, Kathryn Vinclaire, John Hartley, Jason Clarke, Dryw McArthur, James Cheatham
Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga #0.5
Published by Self-Published on July 5, 2022
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 22 hours, 52 minutes
Source: Publicity team
Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Apple
The man who wants everything gets nothing...
War is brewing between England and France. Impressed into the Royal Navy, Lieutenant Merrick, against all odds, advanced through the ranks to become an officer--but he is not a gentleman. A man with a tainted past from a traitorous family, cast down by King George--a stain no man can remove.
Merrick's thrust into the role of captain, when the HMS Boudica is attacked by pirates off the coast of Nova Scotia. On a captured enemy vessel he discovers a King's ransom in treasure and a woman chained in the hold from passenger ship that mysteriously disappeared at sea.
Beautiful, defiant, and hell bent on revenge, India makes a deal with Merrick to uncover the pirates' scheme, promising him everything he desires: fortune, glory, and the chance to bring honor back to the McKesson name.
Now, they race against time to uncover a plot that links those in the highest ranks of the British aristocracy, to a failed rebellion that is once again trying to topple the monarchy and place an old pretender on the throne. But all that glitters is not gold as passions stir and an impossible love blooms, threatening to undermine all Merrick and India have done to protect their King and a country on the brink of war.
I was surprised to learn there would be an audio version of the new addition to the Rebels & Redcoats Saga. Man of War is a prequel to the series. I truly wish I had read the blurb before reading, so I would know the setting was about 20 years before The Tory which happens right around 1776. I kept trying to figure out how this story fit in and especially characters with the same names to ones I have read in The Tory and The Traitor.
I don’t read a lot of historical fiction because then I always want to know what really happened. I do seem to enjoy settings during the Revolutionary or Civil War though. Of course, there are exceptions to this generalization. The typical white male property owners having the power and doing some truly horrible things is very true here. I was in great suspense throughout worrying about characters I cared about being hurt, most likely brutally hurt.
The plot underlying the romance is the supporters of a previous King, using theft and debauchery to raise money to defeat the current King and try to reinstate the previous one. So when the current King, sends his favorite consort’s daughter, to America to marry with a large dowry, the ship and dowry are confiscated. She is raped and tortured to try to get her to sign papers saying they are already married so they can kill her and take the money.
The thieves run into an English navel warship which captures them and saves her. She gives her name as India. The captain of the ship is killed, with the new captain being Merrick. The King took all the titles, land and money from his family when Merrick was a teen because his older brother, James, was one of those plotting to go back to the former King. Merrick and his other brother, Stephen, turned in James, but the whole family was punished. Merrick was forced into service in the navy.
India and Merrick have both been treated savagely but Merrick has had time to grow and adjust to his circumstances, worked hard and risen within the naval hierarchy. India’s changes have just happened. Merrick recognizes her strength and they had a kindred spirit in survival. They work together to figure out who and why she was hurt.
Merrick keeps trying to protect India, and she wants to be involved in the discovery of the villains. It IS very dangerous and India really takes some terrible chances. Even once the villains are known, evidence must be found and the villains captured. In spite of the villains mostly getting what they deserve, some of them escape and some of the “good guys” die, and both Merrick and India suffer fallout from the whole mess. I was grateful to see their happiness in the end.
The large cast did a great job with the narration. Many of the narrators were new to me, but some are in the series going forward. I appreciated the distinct voices for many characters which made it easy to understand what was happening. We primarily have Dane and Caroline’s point of view. The voices seem appropriate for the different regions and accents. I was able to listen at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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