Boston, 1802, Lawyer Macleod is a man full of hate, a dangerous man. When a newly arrived young lawyer is mad enough to insult him, the consequences spin out of control and Macleod is caught up in a web of danger and intrigue.
With England at war with France, some powerful Americans feel that theUSA’s best chance of remaining independent is to throw in their lot withFrance– even if it means accepting a French king – for a while.
To counter their plot, Macleod is sent toNew Orleans, where he meets Marie, wife of Etienne de Valois, aristocrat and fop, and through her learns a terrible secret.
Together, unable to trust anyone, they race to uncover the traitors at the heart of the American Government.
James Green uses fictional characters to illuminate the real events that lead to the birth of the American Intelligence Services and culminated in the extraordinary Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the size of the USA – at the cost of 3 cents an acre.
Packed with action and fascinating historical detail, Another Small Kingdom will appeal both to those interested in the history of the USA and to aficionados of intelligent spy thrillers
Europe is at war, tearing itself apart. But across the Atlantic there is peace. America is flourishing, nowhere more so than Boston. An engine of manufacture, a centre of commerce and a major international port it trades with the world. And as trade flows so also does the news. What happens in Europe today Boston will know in as little as eight short weeks, such is the speed of modern communications.
The people of Boston follow with interest the self destruction taking place in Europe. Some, proud of their own new Republic, favour France. Others, shocked by the excesses of the French Revolution and fearful of Napoleon’s ambition, favour their late enemy, the British.
At the better sort o fBoston dinner table a Bostonian of British sympathies might remark that if the French had such a wonderful army how come had it been kicked off Hispaniola, France’s jewel of the Caribbean, by a ragged-arsed slave army?
However, a Bostonian of French sympathies might more seriously observe that with the Treaty of Luneville last year, Napoleon had at last got the Austrians out of the way and now that England stood alone he could finish off the war for good.
All of which might lead a lady of sentiment to ask what was it all for, all that death and destruction? Being a good Protestant herself she was sure the problem was that most of the French and too many of the British were still Papists at heart and therefore incapable of change.
The mention of change would naturally lead a lady of no sympathies at all to demand, ‘When, gentlemen, might it all end and the latest fashion plates be got from London and Paris? Then one wouldn’t have to go about in last year’s rags. Assuredly, gentlemen, positively antiquated rags’.
So it would be that as the meal ended the conversation would finally turn to the only issue of the day which everyone round the table, of whatever sympathies, considered of vital consequence - Fashion.
All, men and women both, would agree that, as far as knowing the latest fashion was concerned, war was a terrible thing, terrible indeed.
Boston, 1802. Lawyer Macleod is a man full of hate, a dangerous man who finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue. But that is the least of it, and just the starting point of Another Small Kingdom, which is the first of five books about the history and development of the American Secret Services.
The characters are excellently drawn and the writing wonderful, but I have to admit that I didn’t have a clue what was going on half the time – fitting, perhaps, for a novel about government, rulers, fights over territories between countries, spies, agents and the man who would be king. Very clever plots and counterplots kept me on my toes, and it was an enjoyable read. I will certainly look forward to the next in the series, as this novel evoked a sense of time and place beautifully, and of the little man being in the wrong place at the wrong time and pulled against his will into a much bigger picture. Marvellous.
'...well written and thought provoking.'
I found this insight into the early days of the United States very fascinating. Not only the fierce independence of the new country but the internal rivalries and the background to the future Civil War with the interests of the South and the slave owners taking their part. Britain and France also played their own Machiavellian games with an Old World contempt for the newcomers. The background against which the story develops contributes greatly to the enjoyment.
Green has an eye for detail where we follow the events which pick up Jean Marie Macleod and force him to move from Boston to New Orleans and on to Europe. I really liked the character of Macleod and Marie de Valois who later journeyed with him. A host of other characters played a part in the complicated events and they too were very intriguing.
There are various strands within this book and as the story develops we gradually understand who is doing what, but it is not until the end that I really felt I knew what was happening. In fact, I think I might need to re-read the book with hindsight just to appreciate the subtleties of the plot. ‘Another Small Kingdom’ is a great story and one I found exciting and extremely interesting. A book that educates you and makes you think is always one to reach out for if you enjoy your thrillers well written and thought provoking. I thoroughly recommend this one.
A complex and fascinating plot that sticks fairly closely to fact and perhaps presages things to come, as the organisation that is eventually to become the CIA is not without its internal problems and even in its infancy exhibits a disturbing tendency towards 'collateral damage' as bodies pile up. Green triumphs with his ability to blend facts with his story to make rivetting reading. One or two of his characters may be a bit stereotyped – the bumbling British aristocrat spy, the nasty Italian nobleman who would cut his mother's throat for money – but most are cleverly drawn and quite believable, even when their motives are at their most hidden. The dialogue sparkles, accurately reflecting the book's period setting, with even quite minor characters being allowed to develop their own reality. The growing relationship between McLeod and Marie is handled both sympathetically and with a touch of humour. This outstanding historical debut and based on this, the remainder of the story should be well worth following.
It’s 1802 and veteran of the American War of Independence, Macleod, finds himself embroiled in an extraordinary plot that could see the end of American independence, as traitors at the heart of the new nation consider a French puppet king a viable option against England. Sent to New Orleans, he meets Marie, wife of a French aristocrat through whom he learns a terrible secret that sees them both thrown into increasing danger and a race against time.
First in a series of novels that plan to chart the development of the American Secret Services, this looks at its origins, using fictional characters, which didn’t quite work for me. I enjoyed the historical settings and the fact that this is a period of American history rarely covered in fiction, but I found I really didn’t like the character Macleod and I found some of the other characters less than convincing and this coloured much of the book for me. That said there are plots and schemes to keep any thriller lover happy and I know other readers have enjoyed it.
New Books Magazine
James Green is well known as the author of the Jimmy Costello crime series, the first book of which, Bad Catholics, was short-listed for the 2009 Crime Writers Association Dagger Awards.
A prolific writer, James, who is now working on the second of the five-book series which begins with Another Small Kingdom, is married and lives in Nottinghamshire.