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The Chosen Man Paperback – 24 Jun 2015
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A compelling adventure with humour and serious implications, filled with believable and complex characters. A Vatican plot to manipulate the political landscape of Europe . . . A story with lessons for the modern world. -- Ann Swinfen, author of the Christoval Alvarez Series, Flood and This Rough Ocean.
The mark of a good book is the sense of loss you feel when you reach the end. I finished The Chosen Man yesterday and I'm still thinking about the characters today! I hope the author does a sequel. The characters are believable, and the plots wound together faultlessly. I was fascinated to learn more about Tulip Mania and the descriptions of the house and staff at Crimphele in Cornwall were perfect. This book would make a very good film. A first class read. -- Ricky Leach, journalist and reporter for SUR in English, Spain.
Fun and full of energy, black comedy abounds. The slow-burning romance between Ludo the loveable rogue, and Alina, the feisty Spanish girl stranded in a foreign country, adds to the enjoyment. An entertaining read. -- Jean Gill author of Song at Dawn series, winner of the Global ebooks award for best Historical Fiction.
The Chosen Man is an ambitious book which takes 17th century characters - from four different European countries - and successfully weaves their lives into a tapestry of political and religious intrigue and drama. (It) has everything: shipwrecks; kidnap; piracy and romance - all set against the well-researched background of the first economic bubble in history. -- Karen Charlton best-selling author of the Detective Lavender series.
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Harlond is also ambitious in the theme of romance. Never mind a love-triangle, this was a love quartet. Alina's dilemma kept us on our toes right until the last page. Which one of those three distinctive male characters will the independent Alina choose? Her gentle, aristocratic, yet sickly husband? Marco, the attractive, self-made fellow Spaniard who has always loved her? Or Ludo? Ludo the Italian pirate; Ludo the con man. The bad-boy who lives by his wits, manipulates the Dutch and turns the European balance of power on its head, while side-stepping assassination attempts like we would dodge traffic.
A satisfying ending which demands a sequel.
This book is both generous and traditional, in a good way - that is, the author wants to pull you in and entertain you. And succeeds, in this reader's case, triumphantly.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed there will be more
Ludovico da Portovenere – Ludo – is the man chosen by the conspirators to engineer the disaster. He is recruited by a modest priest who only wants to return to England. Ludo is an Italian merchant: resourceful, not averse to some dodgy dealings, charming and expendable. Accompanied by a Spanish lad, Marcos, who wishes to better himself and a beautiful Spanish woman, Alina, of diminished status whom he rescues from slavers.
Whilst depositing the priest to his home, Ludo arranged for Alina to marry a weak chinned son of an English nobleman. Needless to say, money changes hands but Ludo intends, one day, to return for her.
Here the book splits in two: Alina's trials in a strange country are inter-weaved with Ludo's successes in Holland. Add in a perverted steward and a cook who may or may not be a witch and we have some grand characters who all contribute to a tumultuous finale.
I had one or two minor niggles, but nothing that spoiled my enjoyment of this, recommended read. The cover proclaims this to be part of a trilogy, though there are no indications within the pages or the back cover blurb as to any further volumes.
Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds Blogspot
At the heart of the story is a lively duo formed by the appealing reprobate, Ludovico da Portovenere and the ever-glamorous Spanish heroine, Alina, a woman we breathlessly follow from one astonishing adventure to the next. Harlond is one of those authors who has a gift for drawing her readers in with exceptional storytelling and witty dialogue. It’s hard not to care for her characters, especially when Ludo negotiates a deal that latterly separates him from Alina and places her in proximity to a dangerous predator by the name of McNab. But in all of this, Alina must make a choice. A sickly aristocrat, a Spaniard or an Italian pirate? An interesting three-point dilemma.
Rich and exquisite, meticulously researched, and powerfully evocative, The Chosen Man is a sumptuous read that will keep you guessing until the end. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.
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