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Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Books for Adults - Fiction

Cover Art: The Mountain of Gold
The Mountain of Gold
By J. D. Davies
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January 2012
Hardcover ISBN 978-0-547-58099-9, $25.00
E-book ISBN 978-0-547-58102-6, $25.00

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Captain Matthew Quinton would just as soon hang his prisoner, Omar Ibrahim of Oran, for the pirate and traitor that he is. But the Barbary corsair, who himself was taken from his home in Baltimore, Ireland by Barbary corsairs and joined them rather than become a slave, dangles information about a mountain of gold that Quinton can’t ignore. Against his better judgment, he orders his ship back to England where King Charles II arranges for Quinton, with the help of Ibrahim, to lead an expedition to Gambia to find this treasure. Matthew is certain the tale is nothing but a hoax, but he dares not go against His Majesty’s orders.
 
While waiting for his new ship, Matthew must deal with a more personal problem. He is next in line to inherit the earldom of Ravensden from his brother, Charles, who’s slated to wed a mysterious woman who has been wed twice before. Matthew’s wife and uncle are certain Lady de Vaux intends to murder Charles, and begin an inquiry into her past in hopes of turning up evidence that she killed her previous husbands. Matthew is also against the marriage, but since it has the king’s blessing, there is little he can do to prevent it.
 
Before Matthew departs for Gambia, he learns that some members of the government are determined to make certain the treasure remains buried. An attempt is made on his life, then an unexplained fire threatens to destroy his ship. Nor are Matthew and Omar the only ones seeking the gold. Soon after they arrive in Africa, an emissary of Louis XIV of France attempts to kidnap and torture Omar into revealing the gold’s location while thwarting Matthew and his men from achieving their objective. To further complicate matters there’s Omar himself, for how can one really trust a pirate and traitor?
 
Although this is the second in the Matthew Quinton series, The Mountain of Gold works just as well as a stand-alone tale. Davies spins a complex web of intrigue and adventure in which readers soon find themselves aboard a ship of the Royal Navy, or staying in a home that is greatly in need of repair, or trekking across the desert under a broiling sun. The first paragraph grabs your attention and once ensnared, you won’t resurface until the story ends. By then it will be too late – the author will have captured your interest to such a degree that you can’t wait for the continuation of Matthew Quinton’s adventures. What is particularly refreshing, at least from my viewpoint, is that Davies opted to set his story in the Cavalier period, rather than the more popular Age of Nelson. He deftly brings to life this bygone era while vividly recreating the experience of sailors in the Royal Navy and the dangers and wonders these intrepid explorers and fighters encountered.
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Review Copyrighted ©2011 Cindy Vallar


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