The Queen's Captain by Peter Watt
The Queen's Captain is the final in the Colonial series of books by Peter Watt. It's historical adventure at its best, with compelling characters and a page-turning plotline.
The book opens in October 1863, and the central character Ian Steele, who has taken the identity of Captain Samuel Forbes for the better part of a decade, effectively swapping places with the real Captain. The real Samuel is now in America, fighting against the Confederates in Tennessee, while Ian is fighting the Pashtun in India's northwest frontier. The coming year will change their lives forever.
The love of Ian's life, Ella, is in London, unhappily married to Count Nikolai Kasatkin. A victim of domestic abuse, things escalate further when Nikolai sends away Ella and Ian's son away to the colonies. After a failed attempt on Nikolai's life, he flees the country, while Ella plans to find her son.
As a New Year dawns, Ian is posted to New Zealand, and he comes face to face with his nemesis. Meanwhile, Ella is on her way to Australia in search of their son.
I've only hinted at the plotline of this multi-layered novel. There are fierce battles, skullduggery, a kidnapping, a police murder investigation, and characters yearning for lost love. It really has it all, and the action goes from Britain to India; to America and New Zealand and Australia.
Peter Watt has clearly done his research, but it doesn't get in the way of a captivating read with a large cast of well-drawn characters.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan