SOLDIER OF FORTUNE, Edward Marston
SOLDIER OF FORTUNE is the first book featuring Captain Daniel Rawson, although the author has written at least 40 other crime novels, in a range of different groups set in four distinct periods of history.
This book opens with Daniel - the child - greeting his father on temporary leave from battle. Nathan is fighting to depose the King and put the Duke of Monmouth on the throne. The forces of the Duke lose and Nathan is put to death. Daniel and his Dutch mother flee England - to the safety of his mother's native land. Years later, as a young and dashing soldier, Daniel returns to fighting - this time for the Duke of Marlborough and the Confederate forces in the battle of Blenheim.
Daniel is a career soldier and spy - dashing, loyal and unfailingly courageous, he is also extremely attractive to women. He uses that attraction to discover information from the wife of a famous General in his role as Confederate spy. Returning to the battlefield, he is pursued - by Miss Abigail Piper, a beautiful and very wilful young lady he met briefly before leaving for the fight; and somewhat more disconcertingly, by two hired assassins. The General has no intention of allowing himself to be cuckolded without taking his own revenge. Daniel must keep Miss Abigail safe, stay alive himself, fight the battle for the Duke, rid the world of the assassins and dodge the bullet of commitment to just one woman.
Needless to say as you've probably guessed from the description Daniel is a bit of a swashbuckling, all round hero type - leaping from tall buildings, riding horses and fighting pitched sword battles to defend himself, King, Country, the lady, the principle and whatever else needs to be swashed into submission.
To be brutally honest there is absolutely nothing in this plot that can't be seen coming from a very long way away, and these sort of books are not my normal reading fare - but it really did roll along at a good pace, and the swashing was buckled with a certain style. Daniel wasn't so over the top a hero that you didn't want to track him down and thump him with his own sword, Miss Abigail was brave and downright annoying all at the same time, and the lurking assassins nicely threatening - in a predictable sort of a way.
You really could see SOLDIER OF FORTUNE appealing to readers who like a bit of romance, high intrigue and maybe a touch of the Errol Flynn's about their escapist reading.
The dashing Captain Daniel Rawson - spy, linguist, duellist, ladies' man and career soldier - can charm a woman as well as he can parry a sword. And whether it is extracting information from the wife of a French general or leading his soldiers in a Forlorn Hope, Rawson proves himself invaluable to John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, and the Confederate forces as they had towards the ferocious battle of Blenheim.