Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Chosen Man by J.G. Harlond

Shortlisted for Book of the Month

AMAZONUK £1.85 £1.88
AMAZONUS $2.43 $18.50

Nautical / Fictional Saga / Thriller
17th century
Rome / Amsterdam / Europe

In the mid-17th Century, Holland suffered from a financial 'bubble' whereby tulip bulbs were sold for prices that would have bought a small house before the bubble burst and they became worthless. This is fact and is the backdrop for J G Harlond's entertaining novel in which she attributes the phenomenon to a plot devised by the Spanish who were at war with the Dutch. The Vatican is also involved.

Ludovico da Portovenere – Ludo – is the man chosen by the conspirators to engineer the disaster. He is recruited by a  modest  priest who only wants to return to England.  Ludo is an Italian merchant: resourceful, not averse to some dodgy dealings, charming and expendable.  Accompanied by a Spanish lad, Marcos, who wishes to better himself and a beautiful Spanish woman, Alina, of diminished status whom he rescues from slavers. Whilst depositing the priest to his home, Ludo arranged for Alina to marry a weak-chinned son of an English nobleman. Needless to say, money changes hands but Ludo intends, one day, to return for her.

Here the book splits in two: Alina's trials in a strange country are inter-weaved with Ludo's successes in Holland. Add in a perverted steward and a cook who may or may not be a witch and we have some grand characters who all contribute to a tumultuous finale.

I had one or two minor nit-pick niggles, but nothing that spoiled my enjoyment of this, recommended read. The cover proclaims this to be part of a trilogy, though there are no indications within the pages of the back cover blurb as to any further volumes.

© Richard Tearle
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  1. This novel is indeed the first in a trilogy. Book two, 'A Turning Wind' will be out soon, and book 3 is work-in-progress. Each story is set against the backdrop of real events in Europe and the Portuguese colony of Goa. The stories follow the wicked Ludo as he learns more about his true identity, and Alina, daughter of an impoverished Spanish grandee, in her ambition to be part of the royal court.

    1. I'll be looking forward to book two!

    2. Thank you for replying, Ms Harlond. My copy didn't have any details of future volumes, so I thought I'd mention it so that those who read it and were prompted to buy the book would know that there was more to follow. As you can see, I loved the book and I would add the adjective 'deliciously' before your description of Ludo!!


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