Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sunday Snippet: The Chosen Man by J. G. Harlond #HistoricalFiction #SundaySnippet #TheCoffeePotBookClub @JaneGHarlond @cathiedunn

The Chosen Man

by J. G. Harlond


Publication Date: July 29th, 2015
Publisher: Penmore Press
Pages: 372
Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical European Fiction

A secret commission, an untrustworthy secret agent.

He can create havoc, and profit by it – but can he escape the consequences?

an exciting tale of romance, intrigue, tragedy and murder’ Readers’ Favorite 5*

Rome 1635. As Flanders braces for another long year of war, a Spanish count presents the Vatican with a means of disrupting the Dutch rebels’ booming economy. His plan is brilliant. They just need the right man to implement it. Enter Ludovico da Portovenere, charismatic spice and silk merchant. Intrigued by the commission —and hungry for profit—Ludo sails for Amsterdam.

His voyage is interrupted by a storm that brings him a quick-witted young admirer to use as a spy. Then a pirate raid that brings him a girl, Alina, who won’t go home.

Set in a world of international politics and domestic intrigue, The Chosen Man spins an engrossing tale about the Dutch financial scandal known as tulip mania—and how decisions made in high places can have terrible repercussions on innocent lives.

Book 1 in The Chosen Man Trilogy by award-winning historical crime writer J.G. Harlond

Off the coast of Spain, April 1635

The Genoese merchant followed the priest’s gaze. “Tail feather of an Indian cock pheasant,” he said. “You wanted to ask about my hat?”

“No.” John was flustered, out of breath from the fearful excitement of the storm. “No. I . . .”

Endeavouring to conceal his discomfort and willing his hands not to tremble, he poured sweet wine from a lidded jug and said, “As the captain mentioned, my name is John Hawthorne, sailing to Plymouth.”

“And I am Ludovico, travelling on this stage of my voyage to Sanlucar de Barrameda in Spain. But you know that.”

Not wanting to admit the claim, John sipped his wine from his cup.

The Italian drank from his then said, “You must call me Ludo, the world calls me Ludo.”

“The world?”

“Well, everyone I know from the Levant to Amsterdam. I haven’t crossed to the New World yet, but I will. Then there’ll be Americans calling me Ludo.”

“It seems a very familiar appellation—Ludo.”

The Italian looked the English priest in the eye. “That, sir, tells me all I need to know about you.”

John’s cheeks flamed scarlet, “Shall you be sailing north to Flanders or England after Sanlucar?”

Ludo cocked his head. “Holland, not Flanders. I might disembark at Sanlucar, sail up to Seville and sell my wares there. It depends.”

“You have a cargo aboard?”

“A few barrels of this and that, some spices. These days I mostly broker sales for others; silk for Florence—that has been left in Livorno; uncut gemstones for various jewellers; some aromatics from India and Cathay. However,” he paused for dramatic effect, “on this voyage—as I think you know—I travel with a very special commodity.”


Ludo shook his head.


“No, Mr Hawthorne, more precious than rubies. Tulips.” 

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J. G. Harlond

Secret agents, skulduggery, crime and romance . . .

Award-winning member of the British Historical Novel Society, J.G. Harlond (Jane) writes page-turning historical crime stories that weave fictional characters into real events. Jane's books have achieved recognition as Discovered Diamonds (x5), Readers' Favourite 5* (x4), Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon, Author Shout (x2) and Chill With a Book awards.

After travelling widely (she has visited or lived in most of the locations in her novels), Jane is now settled in southern Spain. 

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