False Lights by K J Whittaker
|False Lights by K J Whittaker|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: The stormy Cornish coastline is the setting for this alternate history, which sends compelling characters into an epic, exciting and emotional plot.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: September 2017|
|Publisher: Head of Zeus|
|External links: Author's website|
What if your worst mistake changed the course of history? Napoleon has crushed the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo, and his ex-wife Josephine presides over French-occupied England. Cornwall erupts into open rebellion, and young heiress Hester escapes with Crow, Wellington's former intelligence officer, a half-French aristocrat haunted by his part in the catastrophic defeat. Together, they become embroiled in a web of treachery and espionage as plans are laid to free Wellington from secret captivity in the Scilly Isles and lead an uprising against the French occupation. In a country rife with traitors, Hester and Crow know it is impossible to play such a game as this for long...
Alternate histories are a fantastic concept for excellent fiction, and there are some fantastic reads out there - from Robert Harris's Fatherland through to The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick. The constant popularity means that new ones are always being written - but the constant flow means that for every hit there are a fair few duds - books that concentrate so hard on the concept that they leave plot and character by the wayside. As a result, it can be a gamble when picking up a book in that genre, but it's a gamble that pays off well in False Lights.
Instead of focusing on WWII - the period so beloved by alternate history writers, K J Whittaker has chosen to go far further back in time to the Napoleonic wars. England is occupied by the French - but Cornwall, a county that has long prided itself on being an indepent and seperate region of the country, stands their ground. The characters are thrown into rebellion and war - and it makes for thrilling reading.
Rugged scenery combined with even more rugged leading men and feisty leading ladies does make this a book that one can easily compare to Poldark - but Whittaker provides depth and nuance to her characters - meaning that the intensity of the plot is only amplified by quite how much she makes you care about the characters it revolves around.
A satisfying conclusion allows some plot threads to linger - and I for one would be extremely keen to see them picked up in a sequel. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy, and for further reading I recommend The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements - another book that combines historical detail with vivid characters to form in a plot that's as emotional as it is exciting.
You can read more book reviews or buy False Lights by K J Whittaker at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy False Lights by K J Whittaker at Amazon.com.
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