Death's Bright Angel (Matthew Quinton’s Journals 6) by J D Davies
|Death's Bright Angel (Matthew Quinton’s Journals 6) by J D Davies|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: The 6th novel featuring 17th century sea captain and now spy Sir Matthew Quinton. It's also a rare thing: a great one for both the fans of the series and those just dipping their toe in the water of a great high adventure series on both sea and land.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: August 2016|
|Publisher: Old Street Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Captain Sir Matthew Quinton of King Charles II's navy sets out for another day at work. He and his men are charged with helping to subdue the Dutch town of Westerschelling. It's only afterwards that the true consequences hit him, along with some other consequences that are and will be open to conjecture. For the year is 1666 and London is about to face a disaster that will be discussed and theorised over for centuries… Fire!
Welsh born/English adopted J D Davies is a guy who knows about his subject. He's an academic and historian with a doctorate in Reformation naval history. Therefore the details of things like the equipment, traditions and tactics in his Matt Quinton series are spot on; as are the pacing, adventure and thrills. (An ability that's a little more unusual in academic circles.) In short this is as exciting as it is informative for naval history fans as a for those who don't know one end of a ship's cannon from another but just want a ripping read.
I must admit that this is my first encounter with the good Captain but I didn't feel out of touch at any point. JD (if I may be so familiar) adds little nuggets of well-placed recap, stimulating our interest in past adventures rather than spoiling them.
So, speaking as a newcomer, Sir Matthew Quinton himself is a fascinating creation. He's next in line to become Earl of Ravensden, a situation exacerbated by his older brother's failing health. This time out Matt finds out that he doesn't have to wait for his brother's death for the worry to begin; he inherits something that will bring Matt's own death that little bit closer.
Quinton's friendship with Charles II has also brought him pain along with the pleasure. It was while he was in exile with the then future King that Matt met his Dutch wife. He had reconciled himself to living his life out in Dutch family happiness, and then the Restoration arrived. With that came war with the Netherlands, leaving Matt in a difficult position. Even the happiest marriages have their bumps but if you add the complication of international politics and firing on your wife's countrymen…
Since we're currently commemorating the 450th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, it’s a good time for the author to make the fire into a plot centrepiece. Here his academic training and historical insight come further to the fore as we see the effects of beliefs regarding that fateful year. (1666 contains the Biblical number of the Beast.) There's also a surprise for those of us who were taught that the inadvertently notorious baker of Pudding Lane was the only guy in the frame as fire starter.
From the prologue to the author's wonderful notes at the back, this is an excellent read. It's definitely encouraged me to back-track through Captain Quinton's past as well as look forward to his future. Oh yes, there's plenty of life in the old sea dog yet! (Ouch!)
(A big thank you to the folks at Old Street Publishing for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: We also recommend Fire by CC Humphreys for another fictionalised tale of more excitement and conspiracy surrounding the Great Fire of London.
You can read more book reviews or buy Death's Bright Angel (Matthew Quinton’s Journals 6) by J D Davies at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Death's Bright Angel (Matthew Quinton’s Journals 6) by J D Davies at Amazon.com.
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