Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The Time of Terror Review
The Time of Terror by Seth Hunter
(From the book jacket)
In 1793, British navy commander Nathan Peake patrols the English coast, looking for smugglers. Desperate for some real; action, Peake gets his chance when France declares war on England and descends into the bloody madness of the Terror. Peake is entrusted with a mission to wreak the French economy by smuggling fake banknotes into Paris. His activities take him down Paris streets patrolled by violent mobs and into the sinister catacombs beneath the French capital. And they bring him close to famous characters of the day: the English feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, her American lover Gilbert Imlay who acts as George Washington’s agent in Paris, and British/American writer and revolutionary Thomas Paine. As opposition to the Terror mounts, Peake fights to carry out his mission – and to save the life of the woman he loves.
Seth Hunter makes the time and place come alive. You can almost see Robespierre and the people of the revolution, feel the menace of them and the power that they wielded. There is danger in the streets and violence everywhere. You can feel the terror of the time when you could be killed for not having a tricolor in your hat. It is a very vivid picture of the turmoil of the politics and the capricious nature of the people that Nathan Peake was thrust into. It is a story of the French Revolution and the war with England but it is more the story of Nathan Peake. It follows the course of this one man as he tries to navigate safely though all the perils in his way and still do his duty to his country. It makes it a very personal story while still giving a detailed and interesting account of the history that is all around him. It is an exciting tale with naval battles, trips through the catacombs and sewers, near hangings, beheadings, and intrigue. The tension builds as you wait to see how the story will unfold for our hero. And all of it told with a touch of dry wit that I thought was a wonderful counterpoint to the horror. It is a wonderful historical novel with a likable hero and lots of action and suspense. You’ll want to know what happens to Nathan next.