The Barrister and the Letter of Marque

Author: Todd M. Johnson

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: August 3, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An exciting, historical legal thriller!

Disgusted by the actions of his wealthy father, young William Snopes leaves his place of wealth and privilege to become a barrister.  Many years later, he has made it his practice to represent those that cannot usually afford adequate counsel to argue their case.  He’s had offers from wealthier clients, but always turns them down.  However, the day that he meets Lady Madeleine Jameson, his perspective changes just a bit.

As the Jameson estate begins to crumble, along with the health of her father, Madeline Jameson acts as the estate executor and finances a ship captained by her cousin Harold Tuttle, which has been granted the ability to operate under a Letter of Marque assigned by the Prince Regent to capture illegal tea cargo transported by French vessels.  After a successful voyage, when the ship returns to the harbor, it is met with a band of soldiers and constables to arrest Captain Tuttle for piracy.  When the Captain goes to show the Letter of Marque to the soldiers, it has vanished from his cabinet.

Barrister Snopes agrees to take the case after his own investigation and knows that going up against the Crown won’t be easy.  As he tries to collect evidence for the hearing, it seems that someone is one step ahead of him and the mystery continues to deepen with every turn!

I love a good mystery and when the synopsis of this book referenced Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I was instantly intrigued.  However, this is really nothing like a Sherlock Holmes book other than it’s setting.  With Holmes, readers are unraveling the mystery at the same pace with the same about of information present to try and solve the case.  This book, on the other hand, is much more of a legal thriller where the reader is provided with almost all the information ahead of the characters so that they know what has happened and how it all ties together while reading ahead to determine if Snopes and his crew will be able to piece it together before it’s all too late.

It’s takes quite a while to build the setting and the story up to a point where it really takes off.  Johnson did a great job of researching the early legal system in London and how it operated.  It was almost like reading a present-day legal thriller even though it was set in the early 1800s.  I feel as though there are quite a bit of loose ends that will need future installments to tie up.  Especially now that I’m vested into the characters and would like to see more of them. 

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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