In 1746 the Battle of Culloden is surely destined for the history books, but more immediately the devastation caused by its aftermath has reverberated through the Jacobites like shockwaves from a massive explosion. With the rebel army defeated, the Duke of Cumberland has ordered his Redcoats to burn the rebels’ homes, destroy their crops and kill their livestock, leaving their women and children with no place to live so they will starve or die from exposure, or both. But Alex MacGregor’s small band of men has not surrendered and never will. Believing Beth was killed at Culloden, Alex swears a blood oath to avenge her death.
Recovering from a gunshot wound and subsequent surgery, Beth is kept in the Tower of London until the Duke has her transferred to Newgate Prison, thinking the privation will cause her to give up Sir Anthony’s identity. When she remains silent and expresses contempt for the Duke he has her put in solitary confinement under torturous conditions. Since Alex hasn’t come for her as he promised, Beth believes he is dead and she wants only to join him in death. And she comes dangerously close to realizing her death wish.
“Pursuit of Princes” is Book five in The Jacobite Chronicles and again had me up reading well into the wee morning hours. The reappearance of the now Captain Richard Cunningham imbues this book with a sense of dread and despair at the malevolence his character exudes and the danger he poses to Beth. Then there is the quieter evil but no less malignant nature of the Duke of Cumberland masquerading as a civilized man. Au contraire! He just covers his tracks better than Richard. Plausible deniability and all that. Five stars.
Do I now plunge into the final book six or take a breather with something a little lighter, hmm?
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