I’m thrilled to announce a new series called The King’s Rogues with the wonderful Dragonblade Publishing.
The King’s Rogues is set around Cornwall 1804-1805.
The hero of the series is Adam Christopher Hardacre a former press-ganged sailor and now an officer. He is asked to put together a group of men in secret service to the crown to thwart French spies rumoured to be in league with smugglers in order to secure intelligence for a planned invasion.
He draws from his own shady past and that of his former comrades-in-arms to defend England.
These men are The King’s Rogues.
And yes – if you think the hero’s name is familiar, Adam Hardacre is the father of Kit Hardacre, hero of the Heart of the Corsairs series…
Live And Let Spy
Book 1 (September 2018)
Adam Christopher Hardacre + Olivia Collins
Adam, is a man with a wild past. He had been pressed into the navy at the age of 16 at the behest of Squire Denton after the man learns of his daughter Constance’s affair with the young carpenter (and occasional smuggler).
Nearly twenty years in the navy has been the making of Adam. He has learned discipline, been educated and has shown himself brave. He has risen to the rank of midshipman but suffers a bitter disappointment when he learns he has been passed over for promotion by someone with better family connections.
Adam plans to resign his Petty Officer status when he is approached by Lord Stoughton to become one of his spies. There is a mole within the Admiralty. Lord Stroughton tells Christopher that being an outsider makes him the only man he can trust to find out who has been leaking secret intelligence to the French.
Olivia Collins, has been governess to Squire Denton’s daughter from his second marriage for 12 years. Squire Denton is recently deceased. The widow is relocating permanently to London, taking the now 16 year old girl for her season. Olivia’s final act of service is to stay in the house and assist the local family solicitor Fitzgerald to go through and tidy all Squire Denton’s papers.
While looking for her own record of employment, Olivia come across a beautifully carved box that holds a diary belonging to Constance Denton and correspondence between the disgraced daughter in London and her father.
Olivia learns about the ill-fated love affair with the young carpenter Adam Hardacre and Denton’s admission that he arranged for Adam to be pressed into service. The final letter in the stash reveals that Constance died after giving birth to a boy child.
Touched by the story and motivated by justice, Olivia decides to reunite the hand-made box and the diary with Hardacre, only to be caught up in world of intrigue where nothing is to be trusted – least of all, her heart.
Nathaniel (Nate) Payne + Susannah Linwood
Nathaniel has returned to Cornwall after escaping a French prison, bringing with him boatload of brandy and useful intelligence about troop movements.
He takes the brandy to the usual rendezvous, an inn called The Headless Woman, only to discover Susannah is the new owner and she does not approve of smugglers and threatens to call the revenuers.
Susannah is a private woman hiding a secret past. She is obviously a lady, not the type of woman to run an inn. Susannah’s forthright maid Peggy is her only companion and protective of her mistress. Nathaniel is intrigued as well as attracted.
Susannah takes in a lodger, a man called Hardacre who claims to be a bird watcher and painter, but he is not who he appears to be.
Caroline, Nathaniel’s on-again-off again married lover, is jealous of his interest in Susannah and sets out to find her secret, certain it is a great scandal.
Susannah begins to warm to Nathaniel and is becoming attracted to him but as soon as she is prepared to act on those feelings a mysterious man appears who claims to know all about Susannah’s scandalous past and threatens blackmail.
But betrayal is closer to home than either of them imagine.
Spy Another Day
David Manston + Alexandra Gedding
David has left his smuggling days far behind. He is happy with his smallholding by the sea and his burgeoning romance with Alexandra, daughter of impoverished gentry.
Alexandra is not averse to going out to help her brother smuggle in goods to help the townsfolk and has been known to be quite handy with a rapier. However, Alexandra’s twin brother Phillip has fallen into a seriously bad crowd which has graduated to wrecking.
She talks to David, unsure what to do. If she seeks the authorities, the townsfolk will see it as a betrayal.
David tries to find out more about these wreckers from his old confederates including Nathaniel Payne, whom he hasn’t seen in years. Alexandra has decided the best way to keep an eye on her twin is by involving herself more in his plans.
Nathaniel agrees to help and introduces Hardacre as a fellow smuggler to David and Alexandra. Among the four of them they hatch a plan to try to save Phillip from himself and to stop the wreckers for good.
From The Duke With Love
Philip Gedding + Abrieann Dillon
In the aftermath of Spy Another Day, The King’s Rogues learn of Napoleon’s involvement in arming and training Irish soldiers. Fears of an invasion being launched from Ireland are proving to be more than rumours.
Hardacre is ordered to take his men to Ireland and abduct Sophie Blanchard the real life balloonist, whom they’ve learned is taking a clandestine trip to Ireland to reconnoiter launching points for airborne troops for the possible revival of France’s Aerostatic Corps.
The capture would be a propaganda coup for the English as well as provide invaluable intelligence. Hardacre picks Philip as his partner as he is the most familiar with Ireland and is well known there as a smuggler.
The heroine is Abrieann, a young Irish woman whose father is one of the captain’s assigned to detachment facilitating Blanchard’s visit. Abrieann is appointed Blanchard’s maid for the duration of the visit.
Hardacre and Philip get jobs as labourers to build gondolas to carry troops across the Irish Sea under Blanchard’s supervision. Philip and Abrieann meet and the attraction is immediate. Hardacre encourages the romance as a way to get closer to Blanchard, but Philip’s feelings are becoming more real.
Hardacre know this and it is causing tensions between the two men. Philip enters the Dillon manor looking for additional papers when he is caught and Abrieann is torn. Will she betray her country or betray the man she loves?