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The Emperor's Assassin: Memoirs of a Bow Street Runnerby T.F. Banks
Synopses & Reviews
A gust of wind combed up the grassy knoll and fluttered the women's shawls and dresses. A quick hand preserved Arabella's hat, and she stepped behind the small windbreak afforded by Arthur Darley and his friend. She took Lord Arthur's arm as she settled into his lee.
They had not been up on Plymouth Hoe a quarter of an hour before a charter member of Darley's vast acquaintance found them. This gentleman, a captain in His Majesty's navy, bent his head toward her, the wrinkles about his eyes suggesting a smile.
Permit me to observe, madam, that your dress is luffing. I think you've sailed too close to the wind.
Arabella smiled in spite of herself. The cheek of the man Would he have said the same to Arthur's wife? It was a lucky thing the man possessed considerable charm. Arabella had wounded bigger men without need of pistol or second.
She remembered her rather unfamiliar duties, suddenly, and set her gaze scurrying amongst the crowd. And there she found Lucy, in a lather of unselfconscious delight, chasing an escaped lapdog. Before Arabella could decide if this was an acceptable activity for a young lady (for she knew little of that particular species), a movement and murmur spread down the hoe like the gasp of an audience as, on the stage, a character is murdered.
Well, there, said Captain Colgan, lifting a hand to point, as did so many others that afternoon. Maitland arrives at last.
The Billy Ruffian called a young man to some of his friends nearby, and Arabella could feel the excitement of the crowd.
Still holding her hat, she ventured out of Arthur's lee and into the full force of the wind. A ship of the line rounded the eastern headland, little ant men aloft taking in sail. It was not an uncommon sight here in Plymouth Sound.
Well, there is a bit of living history, Arthur said. Where is Lucy? She cannot miss this.
But what is it, pray? Arabella asked sweetly.
H.M.S. Bellerophon, Captain Colgan explained. And aboard her the deposed Emperor of the French--or as the Admiralty has ordered he be addressed, General Napoleon Bonaparte.
But was he not luxuriating happily in Tor Bay?
I don't know how happily, but yes. The captain took off his hat a moment and combed a hand through his thinning hair--an unconscious gesture. The hat returned to its perch. It is not widely known, he said quietly, but they thought he'd slipped off the Bellerophon a few days ago. Did you hear, Darley?
Just a rumour. Was he not asleep, after all?
Yes. Asleep in his cabin. But Maitland did not quite believe the general's followers, and rather than send someone into the great man's cabin, he had one of the topmen shinny out to the end of the spanker boom to peer in through the stern gallery. Astonishing It got the Admiralty thinking that Tor Bay was rather an open anchorage and that Bonaparte still had numbers of supporters at large, even in the French navy. They might try to rescue him from seaward.
Some part of the crowd had begun to make their way hurriedly toward the paths leading down to the quayside.
Or he might slip ashore, Darley said, and avail himself of English law.&q
In 1815 London, Bow Street Runner Henry Morton's investigation into the murder of a Frenchwoman, the mistress of a count, leads him to a world of French expatriates, Bonapartists, fanatical Royalists, a dangerous petty crook, and the former emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Original.
For twenty years, England and France have been at war. Now the war has come home…
On a sunny July day in 1815, Plymouth Sound is crowded with boats vying for a view of England’s great battleship HMS Bellerophon. For aboard the vessel is the stout little Frenchman who threw the world into chaos. In London, some people clamor for Napoleon’s execution, others for his exile, and still others for a civil trial on English soil. For one humble London detective, the debate has turned deadly. Bow Street Runner Henry Morton has a murder to solve--and Napoleon himself is at the heart of the matter.
The victim is a Frenchwoman, the mistress of a count. Soon Morton is racing through a demimonde of French expatriates, Bonapartists, fanatical Royalists, and one very dangerous, drunken petty crook. From an exotic London brothel to a scene of carnage on a Dartmoor farm, the detective enters a covert war over Napoleon’s fate. And amid the betrayal, deception, and murder, Morton will face a waterloo of his own.
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