The Barrister and the Letter of Marque
by Todd M. Johnson
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 03 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 09 Sep 2021
Bethany House, Bethany House Publishers
In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king's regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter--the sole proof his actions were legal--has mysteriously vanished.
Moved by the lady's distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he'd imagined.
"The Barrister and the Letter of Marque combines the intrigue of John Grisham, the vibrant world of Charles Dickens, and a mystery worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. . . . This richly historical and lively paced story has all the makings of a modern classic."--JOCELYN GREEN, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City
"At once atmospheric and gripping, Johnson's latest is a luminous and refreshing new offering in inspirational historical fiction."--RACHEL MCMILLAN, author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code
"A fascinating glimpse into a Regency London readers seldom see."--ROSEANNA M. WHITE, bestselling author of Edwardian fiction
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 73 members
THE BARRISTER AND THE LETTER OF MARQUE by TODD M JOHNSON is an intriguing historical romance novel which takes us into the legal world in England in the early 1800's. I love the descriptions of London in all her vibrancy, with the underlying elements of corruption and crime. In 1797, at the age of eighteen, William Snopes leaves his privileged life behind and sets off to fulfill his dream of becoming a barrister. He becomes acquainted with Father Thomas Neal who plays an important role in his life and in the lives of William's two assistants, Edmund Shaw and Obadiah Cummings, orphans who William rescued. I like this Christian element running through the book. I also like William's love of music that helps sustain him through the pressures of life, and his determination to help those others would see as undesirables rather than seeking to ingratiate himself with the aristocracy. Lady Madeleine Jameson's cousin, Harold Tuttle, is arrested on his arrival home on his ship Padget and faces the gallows, due to the disappearance of the Letter of Marque he was given before he set out. Madeleine, who borrowed money to help fund the Padget's journey, approaches William to take on Harold's case. That is all I am going to tell you as I do not want to spoil things for you. It is an interesting, inspirational and exciting read, full of intrigue and twists and turns, and one I cannot recommend highly enough. I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
William Snopes is a barrister in Regency London. He reluctantly takes the case of Lady Malissa Jameson,who has made some investments that are being threatened by dishonest players. There is lots of delicious historical information here as well as some genuine "who dunnit aspects". There are lots of twists and turns and hold your breath moments -- action in abundance. I love the characters and I love how this turned out. I'd love to hear more about these folks in a future work. I have voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion
"I don't like attorneys, whatever their specialization or background. I've seen them cheat and grasp and it's been my conclusion that, beneath a very thin veneer, they're in the business of serving themselves more than their clients." Lady Madeleine Jameson seeks out William Snopes, an attorney known for his defense of the poor. Her cousin, Harold Tuttle, has been arrested on the merchant brig she has invested in. His charge? Piracy. The captain swears he has a Letter of Marque, authorizing him to seize cargo from French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. But the letter disappears and Harry is arrested, along with his crew being detained on the ship. The lady's distress invites William to study the case, deciding whether or not he will defend the captain. But as he does, he earns himself some powerful enemies. I have loved Mr. Johnsons novels. They are always full of mystery and an unexpected ending. This story is so different then previous books. The story line has a lot of back and forth and many characters to keep up with. A high profile court case, clean reading. I received a complimentary ebook copy from the publisher, through Net Galley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
This book reads like a John Grisham novel set in the 1800s. In the first few chapters the reader meets the various detailed characters and learns of Lady Jameson’s dilemma. Snopes, the only barrister she can find who has an honest heart, decides to take her case which will put him back in the arena of the wealthy which he left without a backward glance when he was eighteen. While the cards of the defense are laid on the table, the mounting tension comes from the prosecution who will stoop to murder, slander, and wily tactics to win their case. The fate of an innocent man, the reputation of a lady, and a barrister’s future waver in the judicial balance of a system more concerned with propriety and underhanded influences than truth. If you’re in the mood for a riveting courtroom drama that extends beyond the court, The Barrister and the Letter of Marque will have you searching for ways to prove the truth alongside the barrister.
Thanks to Bethany House for advanced reader copy of this enjoyable Regency adventure introducing us to a principled barrister with a fine challenge on his hands. I have read countless Regency books, but this one manages to surprise and bring a smile imagining Beau Brummel involved with Princess Charlotte devising decidedly criminal schemes for profit. Will all be revealed in a court of law? You must read this book to find out. I will look for more books by this author starring the barrister William with the promise of more in store on a personal level with the lady who hired him to resolve a rather large legal mess featured in this book. This was offered by Net Galley email offering several books I might enjoy. Thank You Net Galley!
Enjoyed this story with the ambience of Patrick O'Brien. Piracy, courtroom drama, corrupt players, class warfare and an intriguing mystery. Wonder if we'll be hearing more from William Snopes, the protagonist.
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is set in early 1800s England, and was written by Todd M. Johnson. Summary: Barrister William Snopes is nothing if not a creative lawyer, and does what is needed to protect the weak and poor-anyone needing a voice against the rich and powerful. He has no intention of getting involved in anything related to the upper classes and the life he left behind. But when a strange case passes over his desk involving a lady in distress, he feels compelled to break his own rules and help. Something is not right, and as he delves into the case, he finds there are those that are willing to stop him and his team-at any cost. My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It is set during my favorite time period, is full of action and suspense, and there is a really great mystery. There are so many twists and turns, and I was wondering the whole time how they were going to figure out what was going on. It was a very fun and interesting read. If you like historical fiction, and/or you enjoy mysteries with interesting courtroom dramas, you will probably enjoy this book as much as I did. It’s worth buying in my opinion, and I know I would enjoy reading it again (something I don’t often do, so that’s saying a lot .) I would like to thank Bethany House for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for my review. Thank you!
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is a book full of mystery, suspense, twists, and unforgettable characters with just a hint of romance. I was hooked from the first page and couldn't put it down. I really had no idea how it would end and it was a very satisfying end with I hope more books to follow. This is by a new to me author and I will definitely be reading his backlist. *I was given a copy of this book by Bethany Publishers and this is my honest opinion.
“Just ink and parchment, but with the seal of the English Crown, a source of power for a captain of only thirty-three years to act with the authority of the greatest empire on earth. Such was a Letter of Marque.” The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson is a legal thriller set in London during the Regency era. Barrister William Snopes is an advocate for the downtrodden he usually defends. Lady Madeleine Jameson is trying to save her estate and her cousin, Captain Harold Tuttle. Tuttle is the captain of the Padget, a ship that had a Letter of Marque to take cargo from French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Lady Jamison is heavily in debt and the profits from the Padget’s successful voyage were going to be the answer to solving her family’s money problems. Unfortunately, the Letter of Marque is nowhere to be found, her cousin is in jail, and her creditors are wanting answers. Lady Jameson desperately needs help. Barrister William Snopes reluctantly accepts this complicated case. He has very little time to sort through the facts and prepare for his day in court. As I read this action packed read, I had a wonderful time trying to solve the mystery right along with Barrister Snopes. I was on the edge of my seat right up until the end. The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is a well written and exciting read that I highly recommend. I was thrilled to receive a copy from NetGalley and Bethany House Publisher and the opinions in this review are my own.
Thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to read an advanced eGallery copy of THE BARRISTER AND THE LETTER OF MARQUE. Rich historical details. I found myself googling after many discoveries in the historical novel. Highly recommended for readers who are fans of Regency England and historical fiction. It was interesting for me to read about people who led ordinary lives in England in another century.
What a great new addition to the inspirational historical mystery genre! When I saw this story on NetGalley, I was immediately drawn to the description and decided to give it a try. Some of my favorite historical mystery authors are Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Patricia Wentworth, Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Finch, Anne Perry, and Charles Todd. I can now add Todd M. Johnson to this list. Johnson writes a richly detailed story (without getting into the tawdry details of English Society) that keeps you waiting on tender hooks to see if his barrister William Snopes will manage to get his client true justice. While considered an inspirational historical mystery, I believe anyone who loves the historical mystery genre will enjoy this book. The religious aspects are seamlessly blended into the story and are a subtle but natural part of the lives of the characters. When Lady Jameson arrives on William Snopes doorstep, he is not sure if he wants to represent someone from the upper class whom he normally defends clients against. But, her compelling story about her cousin, Capt. Tuttle who has been wrongly imprisoned for piracy stirs his sense of justice as well as his sympathy for the struggling heiress who is fighting for her home and survival. As he investigates, William finds that this case goes all the way up to the highest echelons of society, involving Beau Brummell and Princess Charlotte. It’s a race against time with incredible odds stacked against him and his loyal colleagues to prove Capt. Tuttle’s innocence. I loved William Snopes! He’s a principled man who gave up his father’s status and wealth to become a barrister and fight for the underprivileged in Regency English society. He uses his amazing whit to bring about justice, sometimes in unconventional ways. His love of music which is referenced throughout the book endeared me to this barrister; also his chivalry and the deep caring he has for clients and colleagues alike. I enjoyed his clever use of the Penny Dreadfuls to flush out the whereabouts of his client and get the story of the Padget into the public sphere. Also, without spoiling too much, his waltz with Lady Jameson was magnificent. The side characters in this story are rich and well developed. I enjoyed the multiple points of view because of the insight it provides. Each of the characters adds to the layers of the mystery and greatly contribute to the fast paced unraveling of the plot and story. William’s interactions with Lady Madeleine Jameson with that hint of romance developing between the two made me want to read more and see what will happen to them in the future. Favorite quote: “In the courtroom, truth is tool and brick: powerful to wield and the only foundation for real justice.” This is one mystery series that I look forward to seeing continue. It’s a fast paced read that had me turning the pages. I’m excited to see what’s in store for each of these characters. I received a complimentary copy of this story from the publisher Bethany House and NetGalley for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.
I finished this book last week and really enjoyed. It was a quick, light read with a page-flipping suspenseful ending. I am a little confused as to why this is considered Christian Fiction since you don't need to have religion to have good values. There is a Priest in the book who shows up here and there and contributes a bit but not much (no disrespect intended). The book is also categorized as historical fiction, and that is spot on. TBLM is a British legal courtroom drama/suspense novel circa late 1700's and can also be categorized as YA/Juvenile Lit. It is reminiscent of Garrow's Law - one of my favorite BBC One television series. William Snopes, like William Garrow (1760-1840), champions the downtrodden have-nots, especially those who are thrown under the bus by the Aristocratic can-never-have-enoughs. The expensive war with the French is over, everyone is trying to replenish their coffers. Lady Jameson enlists the help of Barrister Snopes, his grudging junior Edmund, and Solicitor Obadiah to save her cousin (Captain Tuttle) from the noose, after being charged with piracy. Tuttle claims that he was enlisted to confiscate illegal tea cargo from French ships by authority of a Letter of Marque. The Jameson Estate is mortgaged to the hilt. The final remnants of the family's assets are used as security against monies to be begged or borrowed from ruthless usurers so that Jameson can invest in Tuttle’s voyage of the Padget for a percentage of the return on the cargo to be confiscated. But, just as Tuttle brings home the bacon (er, tea), the ship is seized by Order of the Realm and Tuttle is arrested for Piracy. When he attempts to provide the Letter of Marque to prove his innocence, the letter has vanished. What follows is an exciting tale of deception scaling the very highest reaches of the Kingdom. There is danger, intrigue, and romance. We see that Lady Jameson is strong and resilient to the end. Snopes, on the other hand, is totally besotted and sees himself as her savior, swooping down to release her bonds and rescue Lady Jameson from the train tracks, milliseconds before the train passes over her, thereby thwarting Snideley Whiplash’s evil plans to do away with her and claim the Jameson Estate. (OK – I MADE THAT LAST PART UP, but it could have happened that way if Snidely Whiplash hadn’t been created by a different author two hundred years later on the other side of the Atlantic). My pet peeve is always the epilogue. Rarely do I feel a need for this overused literary device. It seems like more than half the books I read today, tag on an epilogue after ending. This book actually had an excellent (unlabeled) epilogue before the titled epilogue, whereby the most important issues were resolved to Snopes’ satisfaction and according to his resolute moral and ethical compass. Alas, I fear I am the (l)onely person in the world who thinks that epilogues are meant for wowing and not just for tying up loose ends. TBLM is a great book and I would like to thank NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for the ARC, and the opportunity to read and review, It was a fun read and I loved it!
I received this book as an ARC and this is my review. I truly enjoyed this period piece loaded with adventure and mystery. The characters are interesting and the story is filled with twists and surprises. I totally recommend this book for anyone who appreciates a sinister tale with evil and mayhem lurking everywhere.
I'm not usually a fan of Regency fiction, but this one felt like a Steve Berry book, combing history and mystery! It also was a bit like John Grisham, with the courtroom action. At one point in the book, I wasn't even sure if we were going to figure out what was really going on because there are so many twists and turns that keep the reader having to read 'just ONE more chapter,' until the book is over. Fans of historic fiction won't be disappointed as the author has definitely worked hard to make the reader feel like s/he is right in the action...so many historic details are included that the setting becomes its own character.
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is a terrific historical thriller/mystery full of politics, intrigue, corruption, and desperation. The cousin of Lady Jameson is charged with piracy after his Letter of Marque turns up missing, and so much hangs in the balance, including the Jameson Estate. Solicitor Snopes is the only barrister that Lady Jameson believes can win the case against the Crown and its forces. A fascinating and enjoyable read with a little romance thrown in. I definitely recommend it.
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is an excellent cozy mystery, with a tiny bit of romance thrown in. Let me start by sharing what I like about a good mystery. First, the characters need to be rich. Checkmark there. The plot line should not be predictable (the whole point of a mystery is to gradually assemble the pieces, not quite knowing how it all comes together in the end). Checkmark here too. The setting has a huge impact on the mood of the story. In this case it was historic London (early 1800s). Checkmark here as well. Todd M. Johnson does an excellent job with this entertaining read. His legal background comes through but in a way that any lay-person can easily follow and enjoy. I'd recommend this novel to historical fiction readers in the mood for a cozy, well drawn out mystery that maintains your interest right to the end. I received a complementary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are entirely my own.
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is a fascinating historical glimpse of the law in the 1800's and of a barrister who seeks justice for those who most need it because of their class in life. The author introduces us to a diverse set of believable characters who all contribute to the plot in surprising turns. We meet commonplace, wealthy, and royal persons who capture our interest as the story line unfolds. Will the accused find justice? Will the guilty be exposed? Read it and find out! I received a copy from NetGalley and the opinions in this review are my own.
This is a new to me author and I wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was a well written book full of action, suspense, courtroom drama and just enough twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. I look forward to reading more books by this author. Thank you Bethany House via NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
Synopsis: 1810s— Visited by Lady Jameson, English barrister William Snopes, who has sworn off political cases, begins investigating criminal charges against Captain Tuttle of the Padget. Accused of piracy, Tuttle claims innocence on the grounds of a letter of marque, a legal order to intercept smugglers. Unfortunately, the letter is nowhere to be found, and neither is Tuttle. Recommendation: Highly Recommended; see Content notes One of my favorite aspects of reviewing is having the opportunity to become acquainted with new (and new to me) authors. After all, public libraries don’t usually have a Christian fiction section, which makes the genre pretty hard to locate. As a result, I actually haven’t read many adult books, since I prefer Christian fiction. With that said, having just finished my first book by Todd M. Johnson, I can definitely see myself enjoying more of his works. Why I Chose It One of the advanced acclaims (Jocelyn Green) wrote that the novel “combines the intrigue of John Grisham, the vibrant world of Charles Dickens, and a mystery worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” While I wouldn’t have expected a novel about a lawyer (barrister) to fall into the genre of detective stories, I was intrigued by this review, and it was one of the reasons I decided to read the book. Having completed the novel, I can honestly and happily say that the novel delivers exactly what Green describes (minus the Grisham part, because I haven’t read him). This was not only a highly enjoyable read, but also one that was refreshingly clean. What I Liked This is one of those happy instances where I have the challenge of isolating my favorite parts of the novel, since it was all so good! Writing Johnson seamlessly integrates details into the narrative, demonstrating his keen observational skills. For example, I noted one description about being shielded from the rain, while running, when stepping under an overhang. Even the fashion trends are well-documented when appropriate, but seamlessly incorporated, lending historical credence. Such observations demonstrate Johnson’s artful sophistication and attention to detail. Structure Johnson incorporates numerous characters and settings. Although I wasn’t sure, at first, if I’d be able to keep track of the varied perspectives, the numerous characters contributed different elements of plot, slowly teasing out the mystery. Plus, changes in setting are clearly noted at the beginning of sections. Sections, as well as chapters, are on the shorter side. This keeps the action fast-paced, while creating built-in stopping points (if you are disciplined enough to stop). Plot There were quite a few delicious plot twists, surprises and unexpected events. I found myself exclaiming (internally) at multiple points in the story. Author’s Background An attorney with thirty years of experience under his belt, Johnson has a background in law— and it shows. I’m sure Johnson’s personal experiences lent to the characterization of Snopes, who executed some clever courtroom tactics. On a similar note, I really enjoyed reading about Snopes’ times in trial, because I didn’t know what he would do next, but he did it brilliantly! Message(s): There were several meaningful lines I bookmarked. Good stuff! Spiritual Elements Although spiritual elements were very light, I did not feel like this book was a stranger to the genre. There were truths, messages and character growth embedded throughout, along with an occasional philosophical/spiritual conversation between Snopes and Father Thomas. Content Concerns Overall, this was one of the cleaner books I’ve read lately, and I don’t consider the below items to be prohibitive to a high recommendation: Several uses of the pejorative term “gypsy,” sometimes in conjunction with the word “tinkerer.” The Lord’s name is used in vain at least once; characters occasionally use “Garn” as an exclamatory. The novel is set during England’s colonization of India, which is reflected in the narrative’s references to tea, as well as deportment of criminals to other countries. Just wanted to note that I endorse neither colonization nor its lingering effects. Overall Impression Highly enjoyable mystery; I would gladly recommend the novel and wouldn’t mind reading more from the author! Note: I received a complimentary copy of the novel from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by @authortoddmjohnson Okay, so I had never heard of this author before, but when I saw it described on NetGalley as John Grisham meets Charles Dickens meets Arthur Conan Doyle, I just HAD to read it!! And even with such a high bar set for expectations, it absolutely did not disappoint! The Grisham-Dickens-Conan Doyle description was spot on! With a Grisham style legal thriller plot, a Dickensian setting and side characters and a very Conan-Doyle-esque mystery and main character, this book was an absolute delight. I was absolutely intrigued and could not put it down! It was also completely unpredictable!! Highly recommended if you like any or all of the above-mentioned authors, or just a good legal thriller or even just historical! Thanks so much to @bethanyhousefiction and @netgalley for the ARC! I was only required to provide an honest review in return, and here it is!
Ninety-nine percent of authors I read are female. Of that Ninety-nine percent I would estimate ninety percent are written in the Regency time period. The moody cover of The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is what initially enticed me to go against my norm and read a novel written from the male perspective. Guess what?! I really enjoyed it! The plot was intriguing and the characters were interesting and diverse. I would love to read more crime solving adventures with Snopes and his team! I also found it a refreshing change to read about a new found friendship moving toward a blossoming romance where the potential romance was not the driving force of the novel, which is so often the case in many Regency books. The intrigue, danger, and intricacies of subterfuge made this a definite page turner! If Todd M Johnson writes any more books in this time period you can count me in! Fans of the PBS program Miss Scarlett and the Duke would enjoy this novel. Thank you Bethany House and Net Galley for the free DRC of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.
An absolutely brilliant and intriguing read, set in the Regency 1800’s. William Snopes is a barrister from a privileged background, who has been disinherited by his father, and goes to London to set up his practice, that will concentrate upon helping the poorest and undesirables get a fair representation in legal disputes and court. He has two assistants, Obadiah Cummings, who refers cases to William to take to court and Edmund Shaw, a junior barrister. He is approached by Lady Madelaine Jameson of Heathcote Estate in Essex, who needs his help for her cousin Harold Tuttle, Sea Captain of the Brig, The Padget, who has been arrested, along with his crew, on suspicion of Piracy. Harold was granted a Letter of Marque, that authorises him to seize the cargo from ships that are operating illegally in the Indian Ocean. Without this letter, these actions can be seen as an act of war. Madelaine and her father have invested in this endeavour heavily, and face losing their estate and all their monies. Harold has disappeared, and so has the letter, and the authorities are reluctant to become involved. William takes on this case, and quickly finds out that the prosecution is full of dirty tricks. They lie, cheat, and will not hesitate to murder, slander, and kidnap to win their case. There is also the added problem that Royalty and the Gentry may be involved, and William finds that Penny Dreadfuls are extremely useful. This novel is full of well rounded characters, I thought that Lady Madelaine was very strong minded and brave in the extreme, a welcome departure from the expectations of the weaker sex in those times. She really risked much to protect her father, estate and clear her cousin of the charges. Loved the musical undertones running through these chapters. The atmosphere of grimy London was well portrayed and lives of the poorer folk dealt with appropriately, the contrast of paying for justice and honestly seeking the same was well conveyed. This reminded me of the television series Taboo, darkly criminal and dealing with the same problems, this time it was the East India Company involvement, it also had an American thread running through. I hope there will be other books concerning the cases of William Snopes and his associates. Snopes is so close to snoops, great choice!! I wouldn’t classify this as Christian Fiction per se, but I can see the altruistic themes here. My thanks to Bethany House publishers for a engrossing and very satisfying read, thanks go to Netgalley for my advance copy. I will review to Goodreads and others later. A five star read.
The Barrister and the Letter of Mark by Todd M. Johnson review I am someone who normally reads a good historical fiction book, and usually take a few days to read one I particularly like. Well I was drawn to this book by the title, as I am also a urgency fiction fan, and love stories set in England, Ireland and Scotland, so when I saw this book on Net Galley I knew I had to try it, and I was not disappointed! I couldn't put it down! There have been fee books that made my heart pound because I was so unsure of what would happen next, and couldn't wait to keep reading! This book was amazing! It is more of a mystery with a hint of romance, and I really enjoyed it a lot!!! The book takes place in 1797, in England, and begins with showing a 'Letter of Marqu" summons so we can understand what that entails. A Letter of Marque was issued by the English crown to stop piracy between the English, Irish, and Scottish seas, and in this story gave Captain Tuttle, captain of the Padget ship,and his crew, permission to pursue any ship they believed guilty of pirac. Captain Tuttle finds himself in such a situation, an so with hos Letter of Marque, he boards the vessel he suspects of piracy, and finds it full of pirated tea taken from the East India Tea Company, and he confiscated it on behalf of the crow, and heads back home to England only to find himself arrested for piracy and facing the gallows, and the Letter of Marque nowhere to be found. So he is immediately arrested and taken to New gate Prison which in 1797 was nothing like our prisons today, awaiting his fate at the hands of the very Crown he served, or thought he did. With Captain Tuttle's fate hanging in the balance, his cousin Lady Madeline Jameson, who had a vested interest in the cargo of the Padget as well, because she was the financiers of the Padget, decides to help her cousin by finding him a lawyer who she can trust. She loves her cousin, and believes he is innocent of the piracy charge, plus she has to find out what happened because the cargo that was confiscated should have belonged to her and her investors, and her estate will fail if she does not get the money for the cargo as planned. So she searches long and hard for just the right lawyer to help her cousin, and it has to be just the right one, because in order to help her cousin, they must go up against the Crown of England to find the answers becaus they are the only ones who can issue a Letter of Marque, but doing that could be very very dangerous! Lady Jameson finds such a lawyer in Barrister Snopes. He is a defense barrister, who comes from the upper classes, but walked away from society to follow his conscience, and help others who truly need it. He has quite a reputation around for being one of the best, but this isn't a case that is straight forward! Lady Jameson approaches Barrister Snopes, and after putting him through the tests, realizes he is the perfect one to represent her cousin and the piracy charge. If guilty he would at worse be hanged, or face exile. Lady Jameson would lose everything, including her estate where her father, whose health is declining, because she sunk all her remaining capital on buying the Padget. So she begs Mr. Snopes to take their case, but he must weigh all the risks, as this could threaten his life, and that of his two junior lawyers Edmond and Obadiah as wel, whom he rescued as orphans and trained up in the legal profession. Finally Mr. Snopes decides to take the case, and as I said earlier, I couldn't put it down! You will have to read it to find out how the trial progresses, but you will not be sorry! This book was so exciting, and I would highly recommend it! I haven't been excited by a book like this in a long time! I would give it 5 star rating out of 5. I learned so much about the legal process during this time, but it was in a way that a layman could understand! I hope you will read this book!!! Great job Mr. Johnson!
Due to the actions of his father, William Stokes leaves his home to venture to London to become a barrister. Twenty one years later, in 1818, he is approached by Lady Madeleine Jameson of Heathcote Estate in Essex. A cousin to Captain Harold Tuttle, accused of piracy because of the missing Letter of Marque. She wishes Stokes to defend her cousin in the court case. A well-plotted entertaining Regency historical mystery, well-written, with its cast of interesting and likeable characters, main and secondary. A good start to what might be a new series An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Intrigue in high places! 1818 London docks. A ship under guard, the captain Harold Tuttle disappeared, and rumours of piracy abound. Lady Madeline Jameson has invested family money in one last throw for solvency when her cousin obtains a Letter of Marque from the Regent. The Padgett returns triumphant to England with a valuable cargo of smuggled tea wrested from a French ship. In direct contravention of the law as it pertains to the East India Company and the tea trade. William Snopes is a barrister, the son of a Lord, who turned away from his heritage due to the despicable behaviour of his father. When Madeline visits to plead her case he little understands that the trail of breadcrumbs he has to follow will lead from the dangerous underbelly of society to the even more treacherous heights of society. Both Madeline and William are fascinating characters. Madeline in her passionate defence of the people and land she’s responsible for, William for his determination to rise to the challenge of defending cases in order to make a difference. Some illuminating forays into justice and the laws of the time, plus the mystery of the situation, made this an provocative read. A Bethany House ARC via NetGalley
Crusaders come in all shapes and forms and some don’t even realize they are such a person until they face down injustice at the expense of reputation, career, and even life to see a wrong is righted. The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson, a historical mystery that balances Regency backdrop with legal thriller, contains a crusader that captivated me from page one. A Regency period barrister, William Snopes, who champions the commoner in his clever and cunning way finds himself faced with a conundrum. Does he take a case that goes against his principle of never representing someone from the upper classes and particularly a case that has far reaching ramifications for all involved or tell the desperate woman, Lady Madeleine, he cannot? To help make up his mind, he has his well-trained, staunch junior barrister, Edmund, his solicitor, and other reliable sources help him determine if the lady is telling the truth about her cousin, his ship, his crew, and goods being seized by the Crown for piracy because the Letter of Marque he was carrying has disappeared. No reports in the newspapers, no stirring in the legal community, and certainly no hint of the other mysterious backers of the ship have surfaced, but slowly he discovers that Madeleine is telling the truth and someone in great power doesn’t want any of it to come out even as they are prepared for a captain and crew and maybe Madeleine and her father to take the fall. Madeleine has staked everything on this shipping venture and owes loans to some dangerous people even an American smuggler who, along with the greedy family lawyer, want their money. Her father’s mind is gone, the family estate is in shambles, and every friend, it seems, has turned their back on her. In desperation, she turns to a ‘blood-sucking’ lawyer to help her cousin survive the hangman’s noose and for her and her father not to be left destitute. Slowly, she realizes William is unlike any barrister she has heard of and he might be the only one who can fight in spite of all the disappearing evidence and witnesses while taking pressure from the judge, the prosecutor, unknown adversaries, and society itself for pursuing the case. The threats grow more dangerous. Many lives are at stake and the corruption behind the situation comes from powerful sources who can’t afford for the truth to get out. I’ve always been fond of underdog characters and historical mysteries that include courtroom drama. This one got pretty dire for those on the side of good and there was a formidable group of villains ranged against them. The camaraderie among William and his investigation team was a great additional element. The Barrister and the Letter of Marque starts slow as it introduces the characters, the world, and the mystery, but then it gains steady momentum until near the end when the pace is feverish and the suspense is ratcheted up pretty tight. This was not a mystery where the perpetrators and their motives were hidden so much as it was how to thwart the villains’ conniving, well-laid plans and powerful resources. Though, that said, there are surprise twists including a big one in the end to liven up the tale. The author did a sensational job developing the character of William who is at the center of it all. Madeline and the others including some of the villains, as well, are deftly drawn and with depth so character, motives, and emotions give layers to the story. I enjoyed getting to know and spending time with these characters and would happily see them return in a series. The historical background and setting of post Napoleonic War Regency England was brought to rich, colorful life. The author made London and, particularly the dockside and East End, a sensual experience so that dark dank alleys, smoky aromatic Wharfside pubs, trading ships, and even Madeleine’s crumbling, impoverished estate easy to imagine. It was obvious the author did his homework on the era and also infused the story with his own legal expertise so that William, descriptions of his work, and the courtroom drama all rang true. To wrap it up, I was well-enamored with The Barrister and the Letter of Marque. It hit all the right notes leaving me satiated but yearning for more mysteries and courtroom battles for William and his friends to solve. Though not gritty, the book isn’t exactly light and cozy either so it would appeal to anyone from historical cozy to mild historical thriller fans.
"The Barrister and the Letter of Marque" was a good book. If you are not familiar with the British legal system, the story provides a good description of the different roles of solicitor and barrister. The story revolves a ship captain (Harold Tuttle) being arrested and accused of piracy upon the return of his ship to London. During their lengthy voyage, they had detained a French trading ship and taken its cargo of tea. Captain Tuttle was operating under a Letter of Marque, which is a royal warrant allowing its possessor to capture foreign ships engaged in smuggling and confiscate their cargo. When Tuttle is arrested, the Letter of Marque is missing. A Letter of Marque is usually issued during times of war, but Britain and France are at peace, which makes Tuttle’s claim more suspicious. Captain Tuttle’s cousin, Madeleine Jameson, helped fund the voyage, borrowing heavily in order to do so. The family estate is in dire financial straits and she really needs the cargo of tea released and sold to pay her debtors. She approaches William Snopes, a barrister who normally defends (alleged) criminals and is known for his unconventional but effective methods. He is reluctant to take on her case, as he does not represent the upper class based on past experiences, and because it will require going up against the Crown, a difficult and unpopular position. However, as favorable witnesses start disappearing and other opposition mounts, William becomes more invested in the case, sensing a conspiracy. The inclusion of Beau Brummell, the original dandy, was an interesting choice, but it worked well with the plot. The overall conspiracy was well crafted. The author does a good job of keeping up the suspense. I received a copy of the e-book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he's a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door. In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king's regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter--the sole proof his actions were legal--has mysteriously vanished. Moved by the lady's distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he'd imagined. "The Barrister and the Letter of Marque combines the intrigue of John Grisham, the vibrant world of Charles Dickens, and a mystery worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. . . . This richly historical and lively paced story has all the makings of a modern classic."--JOCELYN GREEN, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City "At once atmospheric and gripping, Johnson's latest is a luminous and refreshing new offering in inspirational historical fiction."--RACHEL MCMILLAN, author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code "A fascinating glimpse into a Regency London readers seldom see."--ROSEANNA M. WHITE, bestselling author of Edwardian fiction
This was such a surprising book, in only the best way. Frankly, I wouldn’t have chosen it. Not choosing to read it would have been my mistake. Thanks to NetGalley, I received an advance copy and I am so glad I did. Loved it. William Snopes, at the age of 18, challenges his father on a moral issue and is subsequently disowned. Setting off on a path to become a barrister, he establishes himself as one who shies away from well-heeled clients and controversial cases taking on those that others may find distasteful. Until, that is, he meets Lady Madeleine Jameson. Her cousin, Captain Tuttle, has been accused of piracy and faces the death penalty. In addition, Lady Jameson and her family face financial ruin if her cousin is convicted. Mr. Snopes will face the Crown to defend Captain Tuttle and search for the truth to the mystery. The story moves through the docks of the Thames, the underbelly of early 1800’s London, and the upper crust looking to enhance their fortunes at others’ expense. The story is well-written with engaging character, quick moving, and, ultimately, unputdownable. I envision this as an entry in Masterpiece Theater. Thanks again to NetGalley for opening me to a really fun read.
Historical fiction fans will enjoy the twists and turns in The Barrister and the Letter Of Marque. There’s political intrigue both between and within countries and social classes. Lies are everywhere and told for countless reasons. The shortcoming is how firmly the characters are split between the good guys and the bad guys. When faced with adversity, the heroes faced the growing challenges with increasing grace. They defied death like comic book superheroes and quickly forgave each other for lies and deceptions. Meanwhile, the bad guys were weak and depraved, losing humanity as the story progressed. The characterizations led to a rapid move from ignorance to exacting knowledge of who did what, why they acted as they did, and what would be the appropriate way to mete out justice to the wrongdoers. Even with the stock characterizations, the story is well-paced and interesting. Thank you, NetGalley and Bethany House, for providing me an advance review copy of the book.
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.
A good mix of historical romance and mystery, I thoroughly enjoyed it and rooted for the characters. Fleshed out characters, well researched historical characters and an intriguing plot. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is the first book I’ve read by Todd Johnson. This story takes place in Regency London. It has a Dickensian feel with an intriguing mystery. This type of story is one I don’t normally read, but I really enjoyed it. I loved trying to figure out the mystery behind the Letter of Marque and the Padget and just how William was going to solve this case and free his client. While I felt like it took a little too long to set up the story, once it got rolling, I was totally invested. I could see this becoming a series of books with William Snopes solving impossible cases. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. I would consider this more of a clean read even though it is published by Bethany House.
With mystery and suspense, and lots of twists and turns, The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson takes us right into the world of Charles Dickens. William Snopes is a London Barrister who is a strong advocate for the poorer classes against the more powerful upper class. Lady Madeleine Jameson invests in a merchant ship in an effort to save her father’s estate. That ship was granted a Letter of Marque - most unusual - which would allow them to seize cargo from French ships operating illegally in the Indian Ocean. However, when the ship returned to London, the cargo is seized and the captain is arrested for piracy. The Letter of Marque has mysteriously vanished! Snopes takes the case, but learns that their are forces at work against Lady Jameson, and him as well, that are far more sinister than either had imagined. This one starts very slowly as the characters and background are introduced. Then the pace picks up rather dramatically. This is my first time to read any of Johnson’s work. This book is well written, with authentic characters and well-researched historical details. Fans of historical fiction are sure to enjoy this one. Many thanks to Net Galley and Bethany House for my copy of this book. The opinions are my own.
Are you a fan of historical mysteries? If so, what is one of your favorites? A ship has returned to the London harbor full of valuable tea and ready to disembark. Suddenly, they are boarded and seized by redcoats who take away the captain. They insist the ship is a pirate ship, while the captain insists that the Prince Regent gave him a letter of marque that allows him to seize cargo from the French. Why would the Prince do this when there is a fragile peace with France? Where has the captain been taken and why? William Snopes is a barrister in London in 1818. He has forsaken his rich and powerful father to take up a career where he is able to be a voice for the overlooked. Lady Madeleine Jameson is not his sort of client, but when she explains her cousin’s arrest and her seized ship, Snopes realizes that something does not add up. He takes that case. Will he be able solve the mystery before they all lose their lives? I LOVED this novel. The writing was excellent, and the plot was very engaging. The characters were wonderfully drawn and intriguing. I would really like this to be a series as I want to know what is next in store for William Snopes and crew. Author Todd M. Johnson has over thirty years of experience as a trial attorney, and it wonderfully shines in this novel. It felt like a perfect combination of the adventure of The Scarlett Pimpernel, the trials of a John Grisham novel, and the world of Jane Austen. Favorite Quotes: “My lord, a man’s life is at stake, and you’re arguing formalities!” “This was a singular woman. He would wait two lifetimes for her as long as he was certain there was a chance.” Overall, Barrister and the Letter of the Marque is an excellent historical mystery novel and is not to be missed for fans of great mysteries or regency era novels. Book Source: Review Copy from Bethany House. Thank-you!
Gripping from the very beginning, this novel takes interesting twists and turns that held my attention during the entire novel. This is my first book by this author, but I found that I greatly enjoyed his writing and his ability to create a complex plot with lots of components that tied together well. I liked that there were multiple voices (or point of views) in the novel, which allowed for a more complete overall picture of this very fascinating story. I thought the plot developed well and took the reader on quite a journey. The book shines with its focus on mystery. There are only hints of romance in the story. There are a few historical errors, but I could tell the author researched how courtrooms and law worked during Regency London. I liked this book a lot and will definitely read more by this author! I received a complimentary copy of this book from an Austen Prose tour with Laurel Ann Nattress. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Estranged from his upper class father, barrister William Snopes stays clear of cases involving the rich and powerful. But when a desperate Lady Madeleine Jameson begs him to defend her cousin, Captain Harold Tuttle, Snopes is intrigued by both the petitioner and the case. Granted a letter of marque, presumably by the king himself, Captain Tuttle set out on the noble quest of lawful piracy, seizing a hold full of tea and bringing it home to sell. But when he arrived at the dock, the letter of marque mysteriously disappeared, leaving Captain Tuttle holding the bag while his now illegal cargo is seized. Lady Madeleine, whose failing family has made one last gamble on this voyage, will lose everything if the cargo is confiscated. As William Snopes and his colleagues investigate the case, they are thwarted at every turn, leading Snopes to believe that someone very high up in the government has an interest in keeping the truth from coming to light. The seedy underbelly of London is adept at covering crime with further crime, and to Snopes chagrin, he discovers that the beautiful Lady Madeleine has secrets of her own to keep from him. As the trial begins, Snopes is woefully underprepared with evidence to make his case, and it will take a masterful argument (and a string of good fortune) to bring him victory over the forces arrayed against him. This historical mystery is both a fascinating character study and a finely-crafted page turner. Todd M. Johnson provides sympathetic characters, gritty intrigue, and high adventure all in one legal drama. As a longtime Regency Era devotee, I was amused to discover the real villains of the story (no spoilers here, though). I particularly enjoyed the way the narrative unfolded, and I hope that Johnson’s first venture into historical mysteries becomes a habit, perhaps even a habit that continues to involve barrister William Snopes. Recommended. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque follows the case of Captain Harold Tuttle who is arrest on piracy when his ship, the Padget returns to London. Barrister William Snopes works with a lively cast of characters include Lady Jameson, who brings the case to his attention. The novel was very fast-paced and kept me interested in the story throughout. I enjoyed getting to know more about Snopes as well as Edmund, Obidiah, and Lady Jameson.
Not only was this my first Christian fiction book by a male author, it was also my first time reading a legal drama. It was utterly fascinating! This is not your average Regency novel! I found myself being disappointed everytime I had to pause reading because I needed to eat or sleep etc. I really enjoyed learning about the different aspects of the legal system and the varying layers of society and how it often affected how justice was carried out. I really liked Williams Snopes and thoroughly enjoyed his intelligence and his verbal sparring in court. I'm a big romance buff but I was so hooked by the story that I didn't even notice or mind the lack of romance in the storyline. There was a teeny tiny bit of romance at the end which made me happy. The mystery, suspense, crime and drama of this book will draw you in from the begining and hold your attention to the very last page! I sincerely hope that this book becomes a series and this isn't the last we'll hear of William Snopes and his team!
I really enjoyed this book. It's part mystery and part courtroom drama set in 1818 England. It was fascinating seeing Barrister William Snopes in action. His methods were unconventional and strangely effective. I liked the camaraderie and the mentoring relationship between William, Obadiah and Edmund. I would enjoy reading about Obadiah and especially Edmund more in a future book. There are layers to uncover there. The mystery was solid and complex. There were a few surprises that caught me off guard. There really isn't a romance to speak of which is fine. It was all quite interesting and hard to put down. I'd recommend it. Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Johnson’s first historical novel sets a suspenseful tale of legal, courtly, and commercial intrigue in Regency England. Though barrister William Snopes is most passionate about using his knowledge of the law on behalf of the underprivileged, he takes on a case presented to him by Lady Madeleine Jameson, who has invested what is left of her family estate in a merchant brig called the Padget. The ship’s captain, Jameson’s cousin Harold Tuttle, has used the powers granted under a royal letter of marque to seize the cargo of French trading ships sailing in the Indian Sea. But when the Padget returns to England, Tuttle is arrested for piracy, the goods he has amassed are seized, and the letter of marque that proves his operation was legal is nowhere to be found. Author Johnson, long a trial attorney himself, does an excellent job evoking Regency legal practice and balancing the novel’s more technical aspects with drama. Published by Bethany House, the novel's inspirational aspects are convincing but subtle, making it enjoyable for both general and faith-centered readers alike.
Wonderful read that was well written and atmospheric. Grand characters, intricately plotted, and memorable. Easy recommendation to family and friends.
Mystery, intrigue, and pirates? The Barrister and the Letter of Marque drew me like a kid to a candy shop. Throw in that it had tones of Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, two of my favorite classical authors, and I was hooked. It had less romance than I usually prefer, but the mystery more than made up for that. Lady Jameson has a problem, her cousin, captain of the Padget a worse one. Without someone to champion the injustices being done, the captain would lose his life and Lady Jameson would lose her home and likely her ailing father as well. But Barrister William Snopes refuses to work with the upper class, until he sees for himself how desperate a situation Lady Jameson and her family are in. And wow is it an unjust situation! It got my ire up so that I felt like begging William to get going on the case. The story revolved mostly around William and his partners as they untangled the web that threaten to destroy Lady Jameson and her family, something William made a career fighting against. I definitely recommend reading this story, especially if you’re a fan of Doyle and Dickens. — I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.
Slow start, great progression, amazing ending This is a new to me author. I love historical mysteries, so when I heard about this, I was instantly intrigued. I first picked up this book about two weeks ago and tried to read it. I only got about the first two chapters read, and then had to lay it down. Finally, yesterday, I picked it up and began reading it again. I actually had to re-read parts just to remember what was going on. But...let me tell you, in spite of the seemingly slow start of this book, once you're in it, you do NOT want to stop. I kept reading. And reading....and finally realized I'd have to just keep on until I would finish. (I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep with this story hanging over in my brain...lol) I enjoyed the characters, William, Edmund, and Obadiah. I liked seeing their methods of pursuing and solving this mystery. The whole plot line is really intriguing. A ship captain has a letter from the king giving him rights to take over other ships and bring home their spoils...only when he gets to the dock, his letter is mysteriously missing...??!! I had lots of ideas of what might have happened. I will not give any spoilers, because the book is absolutely amazing. I will say that my mind was going down some of the right tracks. But the journey of getting to the resolution was captivating and really fun to read. I would love to see more books in this series. I will definitely be finding more mysteries from this author! Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
This is the first book I've read by this author and I really enjoyed it! The pacing was good and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat! The characters were likeable and it was really nice to see the story unfold from their different perspectives.
The beginning of the novel jumps around a little, giving the reader a bunch to process, but once I got my bearings and became used to the way people talked to each other. It was smooth sailing as things come together after William Snopes life, fast forwards to 1819, London and his legal profession is established. Mr. Snopes decides to take Lady Malissa Jameson’s case against his better judgement, but something kept him wanting to know more about the situation and this woman. I loved learning about English Society and was intrigued by the unfolding story that kept me turning the pages to see what happens next as William Snopes digs deeper for clues that will help get his client true justice I liked how the author masterfully thickens the plot as Sir William Snopes does all he can to save Lady Jameson and her cousin from hanging. I loved the twists, turns and the surprises the author has for readers, including a complex, fascinating mystery that included a splash of romance. The author’s legal experience shines through the story and the characters. I enjoyed this compelling, fast-paced story that keeps you guessing until the end. It was a fun, inspirational historical mystery I couldn’t put down. This works as a fun getaway and/or one that would work well for your next book club pick. Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! The Book Club Network blog www.bookfun.org
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque was intriguing and complex historical fiction that revolved around barrister William Snopes defending the case of piracy and the mystery of Letter of Marque. The story was about greed, exploitation, deceit, corruption, determination, courage, social differences, ethics, loyalty, and friendship. Writing was vivid, gripping, and steady paced. Story was written in multiple third person narrative mainly from William, Edmond, and Madeleine’s perspective. Setting of post Napoleonic War Regency England was atmospheric. Plot was much more complicated than I expected. It started slow with William’s background, his style as barrister and reputation for defending poor against powerful people that caught attention of Lady Madeleine Jameson who desperately needed his help. Madeleine invested all she had and also took a loan to buy merchant brig, the Padget, in hope of saving her estate through it as her cousin got rare privilege by King Regent’s Letter of Marque giving him permission to take over pirate ship and its cargo. But when her cousin returned with French trader’s illegally acquired tea, he was arrested in case of piracy and now she couldn’t find him in any prison. All his crew was imprisoned below deck, the brig was taken by King’s soldiers and constables, and sole proof of his innocence, Letter of Marque has disappeared. Intrigued by story of Letter of marque, moved by Madeleine’s distress for the safety of her cousin, and name of solicitor who used him in the past, made William inquired about the case and later when he could verify Madeleine’s words, he was sure things were set up against Madeleine and her cousin. It was interesting to see how William was going to get the proof of his client’s innocence, how he could unravel the villain’s well laid plan of his client’s demise, and to what length villain would go to get what they started. William was fantastic throughout the book. He was smart, clever, humble, conscientious person and best barrister. I liked him for standing up against his father all those years ago, carving his own path in world and earning his name as barrister. It was great the way he took Edmund and Obadiah under his wing and trained them to be his junior barrister and his solicitor, respectively. The way he gathered information and fought the case with no evidence and only based on his assumptions and keeping the final hearing at bay until he actually could prove something was commendable. Both Edmund and Obadiah were best friends since childhood and were great supporting characters. I liked how loyal they were to William. Obadiah was calm, kind and observant while Edmund was tenacious and hot headed. I liked how this case changed Edmund’s view. Madeleine was most interesting character. Her determination and will was impressive. It was surprising how much risk she took to save her estate and those she loved. She was brave and courageous. I liked the way she stood up against society who let her down, boycott her, and made her family’s struggle social gossip. I admired her for not taking step back when she was threatened and not even when William and his team couldn’t find any evidence. What she did to save everything and the way she ultimately helped was amazing. There were so many characters in this story. They all were realistic and well portrayed. Even villains were interesting to read. There was hint of romance and light spiritual and philosophical elements that was written through William’s verbal sparring with Father Thomas which was interesting to read. I don’t know much about early 1800s or regency era, in some reviews I saw a comment about inaccuracy with historical facts with mention of penny dreadful and other things that happened much later than the time period of this story but still I enjoyed reading about law system, dressing, higher class gossips, streets of London, people suffering from taxes and tariffs, and social differences. Best part of the book was court room drama, William and his team’s investigation, and villains’ plan. It wasn’t exactly a mystery of who were the villains and why they were doing this to Jameson family as things weren’t kept secret. It was more about how William was going to fight the case and get the evidence and it was impossible to tell with all disappearing evidences. It was like Villains were always two steps ahead of him. All twists and turns were well written. Last 30% of the book was full of surprises. Climax was nail bitingly tense. I really thought they can’t just win the case but things changed so fast with many more surprising revelations. End was so different from what I expected and yet satisfactory. Epilogue was good. Overall, The Barrister and the Letter of Marque was intriguing, gripping, and well written legal historical fiction with complex plot and interesting characters. I highly recommend this if you like, courtroom drama early 1800s regency era Unpredictability Well written main character complex plot
Todd M. Johnson has written a fun piece of historical fiction. Based in the early 19th century, Lady Madeleine Jameson has gone into great debt to purchase and support the first voyage of the brig Padget after its service in the earlier war with France. Captain Harold Tuttle had received a Letter of Marque, allowing him, his crew, and the ship to capture smugglers and claim their cargo as its own. But when the ship returns to London full of tea captured from pirateers in the Indian Ocean, the Letter has disappeared and the Captain and his crew are arrested for piracy. At that point, Lady Jameson contacts Edmond Shaw, barrister, to defend Captain Tuttle, her cousin, at trial. It becomes immediately clear that something is amiss. Rather than allowing the defendant months to prepare for trial, he is given days. At the same time Captain Tuttle has disappeared - not to be found in any of the city’s jails. Potential witnesses have also fled town. It would be a difficult case. The result is an exciting story that takes the reader throughout the streets of London and into the English countryside. The author mixes the best and worst of smugglers, politicians, and lawyers, to create an attention holding story for this reader. The plot involves some well known historical figures (i.e. the dandy Beau Brummell), though with some non-historical settings and events. We become familiar with the infamous Newgate Prison, the Old Bailey courthouse, etc. I can only hope that the author has enough imagination to continue the story into future volumes; alas, it does not appear likely. The plot, characters, and setting, easily make for a five-star book. ______________ This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.
A great mystery! I was a bit confused at the beginning with the introduction of so many characters, but I quickly was drawn into the story. The writing is very well done, and the story kept me engaged throughout. New pieces of evidence were brought forth at just the right time to keep me guessing and on the edge of my seat. William was an easy character to like with his determination to do what was right, despite the possible repercussions. Madeleine’s tenacity was admirable. The light hint of romance was nice too. I look forward to reading more books by this author. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC. All thoughts are my own.
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is a novel that centers around a barrister, William Snopes, as he tries to prove the innocence of Captain Harold Tuttle. The charge is piracy and his only defense is that of a Letter of Marque the Captain claims he possessed when he boarded a French vessel and confiscated their cargo of tea. Unfortunately, the letter had mysteriously vanished without a trace and any hope of freeing Captain Tuttle vanishing with it. Captain Tuttle’s cousin Lady Jameson, is also on a pursuit to prove his innocence to prevent the death of a very beloved cousin as well as her own families downfall that is tied to the cargo of the Padget. This story has a lot of twists and turns as the hands behind this scheme are trying desperately to prevent their identities being known. I loved the parts of the book that had Barrister Snope in the courtroom cross examining witnesses and using his quick witted mind to uncover some very intriguing evidence. If you like mysteries and courtroom discussions this book is definitely for you.
William Snopes abandoned his privileged life to become a barrister. Over his 20 year career, he has declined political cases or those involving the upper classes, preferring to offer legal representation to those who have been denied it through lack of status or funds. His stance changes when Lady Madeleine Jameson asks him to defend her cousin, Captain Harold Tuttle, against a charge of piracy, which carries a death sentence should he be found guilty, and save her family from financial ruin. A Letter of Marque issued by the Crown which would prove Tuttle's innocence has mysteriously disappeared. He is intrigued by the story she tells and also by the lady herself, but is reluctant to accept the case until he knows more. Snopes' preliminary enquiries meet with little success as he is unable to ascertain the whereabouts of Captain Tuttle or the identity of the other two investors in the Padget venture. Snopes devises his own plan to flush out those involved. Unfortunately, the repercussions place himself, his team and Lady Madeleine in danger. When Snopes eventually gains access to Tuttle, the trial is scheduled to commence within a matter of days. Snopes and his team struggle to make a case for their client's defence in such a short time, but they are a tenacious lot and uncover an elaborate plot which suggests that the people behind it have wealth and power at their disposal. But who are they? William Snopes is a very likeable character. He is honest, kind and passionate about what he does for a living. His other passion is music, which often winds through his thoughts. Despite his honesty, he is willing to bend the rules to achieve his aims and is often accused of courtroom trickery by his peers. His methods certainly make the courtroom scenes entertaining. Although he outmanoeuvres the Prosecution a number of times during the trial, he does suffer a series of set backs that threaten to derail his defence. An unsympathetic judge and witnesses that disappear or prove hostile make his task that much harder. With time running out before the trial winds up, Lady Madeleine makes one last desperate bid to find a crucial witness. Help comes from an unexpected quarter and reveals to William that she has not been entirely truthful in her dealings with him. I loved all aspects of this novel. Todd M. Johnson's experience as a trial lawyer made those courtroom scenes come alive and his depiction of post Napoleonic War England suggests a familiarity with the era which also enlivened this brilliant courtroom tale. There is the basis for an excellent series here. Whether or not Johnson follows that path, I hope he writes more historical mysteries in this vein.
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson Pub Date 03 Aug 2021 Bethany House, Bethany House Publishers Christian | Historical Fiction | Mystery & Thrillers I am reviewing a copy of The Barrister and the Letter of Marque through Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley: William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, as a barrister and London and he's a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. But that all changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door. In a last minute effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king's regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. But when the Padget returns to London her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter the sole proof his actions were legal has mysteriously vanished. Snopes takes the case., Moved by the lady's distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he digs into the mystery he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he'd imagined. I give The Barrister and the Letter of the Marquee five out of five stars! Happy Reading!
Although I, personally, have enjoyed Todd M. Johnson's contemporary fiction better than his new historical tale--The Barrister and the Letter of Marque--the author certainly didn't disappoint in this amazing novel. His obvious deep research, historical details, and vivid descriptions transport the reader to a time and place unfamiliar to most of us, I suspect. The page-turning plot delves into the legal system of 1818 London, piracy on the high seas, and intrigue in the upper echelons of British society. Johnson is a master of creating impossible situations, raising the stakes to painful proportions, and enticing readers to care deeply about his fascinating characters.
Wonderful legal thriller that follows a new barrister to the bench in this beautifully atmospheric setting of post-napoleonic War England. The economic hardships suffered during the war were strongly felt during this time of empty royal coffers and struggling estates. With charges of piracy, and hints of espionage that reach from the London underworld to the highest levels of society, the author has the perfect ingredients to concoct a masterfully penned historical legal thriller. The joy in reading this novel is like peeling the many layers of an onion as the plot is slowly and expertly revealed with each turn of the page. The authors detailed historical research, knowledge of the law and talent with the pen has crafted a memorable story. I hope to meet barrister William Snopes again. I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher and Netgalley. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
4.5 stars Wow! This twisty legal suspense set in the Regency era had me riveted to the page, never quite knowing what would happen next. It took a few chapters for me to get fully enthralled by the story, but there was enough that intrigued me to keep me reading. And boy… once William Snopes begins investigating the case (even before he completely agrees to take it) you won’t be able to put this book down until you’ve read the last word. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it’s so masterfully and intelligently drawn that you need to experience it for yourself, but I will say this: Very little is as it first appears, and no certain outcome is guaranteed. There are things we know that we know… and then there are things we think that we know… and then there are things that we don’t know at all. The same can be said about poor William & the rest of his legal team but, thanks to the various perspectives we are privy to during the narrative, often the things we think we know are things he doesn’t know yet. This adds to the overall mood of suspense that the story wears well and left me completely unsure how the case would turn out. Just about the time I thought I finally knew, something else would happen to upend all my assurances. Gah! This novel is so twisty and turny and atmospheric – it’s fabulous! Bottom Line: The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson is a riveting story that would do the great British mystery masters proud. The Regency setting contributes greatly to the suspenseful tone of the novel, as do the moments when we experience the story through a character other than our main hero, Barrister William Snopes. Johnson skillfully allows the tenets of the case to unfold with few hints as to how it will all play out, and in so doing he creates a handful of key players that we become deeply invested in. A dash of romance fed my love-story-loving heart, and I for one hope we get to spend more time in this world with these characters. Brilliantly done! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)