23/06/2003

The Adventurers (by Jane Aiken Hodge)

I do enjoy the historical novels by Jane Aiken Hodge. Unfortunately most of them are now out of print, but occasionally I manage to find one at a charity or second-hand shop. Her writing is excellent, and her characters very well-drawn. Jane Aiken Hodge's novels tend to be harder-hitting than those of (say) Georgette Heyer, sometimes more thrillers than romances. But the endings are usually happy and believable, and they're not usually gory in any way.

'The Adventurers', however, begins rather violently. The story opens with Sonia seeing her home destroyed and her family massacred by some of Napoleon's army. She manages to escape and rides away, only to meet a man called Charles Vincent. He is an adventurer, who finds that they share a considerable skill in playing cards.

Sonia, with her old governess, and Charles decide to travel together, hoping to get to the UK. It gradually becomes clear to the reader that Charles is also involved in political intrigue.

There was rather too much war-talk for my taste, but plenty of other excitement and subplots to balance this. The climax is very exciting and I was pleased that everything was resolved satisfactorily in the end.

Not my favourite by Jane Aiken Hodge, but still a good read. Recommended if you find it inexpensively second-hand.

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