Pretender at the Gate (Markinch #2) by S. J. Garland
An exciting tale of intrigue, loyalty and betrayal set against the Old Pretender, James Francis Stuart's initial invasion near Edinburgh in 1708.
Captain Esmond Clyde-Dalton is the excise officer at the village of Markinch. In reality he works for England's master spy, Colonel Manners . Fresh from the new world, Esmond's choice of tomahawks as hidden weapons hints at a darker past. His relationship with Manners hints at even more tangled depths.
Philomena Clunes and her father Magnus Clunes have been arrested as jacobite sympathizers. Esmond is in love with Phil and follows her to Edinburgh to see to her safety and her innocence. En route to Edinburgh Castle dungeons Phil is seized by masked rebels and spirited away.
The back alleys below Edinburgh Castle come vividly to life as Esmond and his new allies search for Phil--always just one step behind.
An engrossing read, seething with the emotion felt on both the English and Jacobite sides as forces in Edinburgh prepares for the Pretender's invasion. The invasion's supporters includes French mercenaries and a number of unknown Protestant Scottish clan lords
Esmond is desperate to rescue Phil and to find a treasonous List of supporting Protestant Lords.
A harrowing chase from Edinburgh in wintery conditions and across the Firth of Forth as the Pretender is approaching feeds the tension of the situation. Unexpected twists and turns feed the ever growing mystery and frantic search by Esmond to find Phil and clear her name, and to free himself from Manner's tyranny by finding the List. A riveting read! So much so, that I just had to buy the 1st book in the series to get the back story on Captain Esmond Clyde-Dalton, a character I sympathize with immensely.
A NetGalley ARC