The King's Scarlet

The King's Scarlet The King's Scarlet by John M. Danielski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Compromise his mission and duty as a Royal Marine, or sacrifice his honor and duty as a gentleman? That is the dilemma Captain Thomas Pennywhistle faces in July 1812 when he encounters a band of French soldiers about to attack a Spanish girl. Protecting an innocent from torture and death may be militarily wrong, but morally right, so he intervenes with the aid of his two companions.

The dispatches and secret message he carries are vital to the Duke of Wellington, but his duplicitous guide has already led him far astray behind enemy lines. Having Juanita join his band, if only temporarily, delays him further, but she can lead him to a mountain village where Spanish guerillas will assist him in locating the British Army, which is constantly on the move maneuvering against the French. On the way, a Spanish soldier wanders into their encampment. Sergeant Juan Morales is the lone survivor of an ambush by French Hussars, but Pennywhistle questions why this elite cavalry would attack a minor garrison in an obscure place. The more he considers this, the more he suspects that perhaps the French are hunting him and that either his guide was really a collaborator or one of the staff officers back in Lisbon is a traitor.

Set in the days leading up to the Battle of Salamanca during the Peninsular War, The King’s Scarlet is a rousing, nail-biting adventure. Reminiscent of swashbuckling tales of yore, this book combines tense action and daring escapes with a touch of romance and a dash of forgiveness. Although there are some misspellings and missing words, the escalating series of perils pins readers to the edge of their seats until the turn of the last page. This second installment in the Pennywhistle series will garner new fans and old ones will enjoy renewing their acquaintance with this stalwart hero.

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