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Of Honest Fame [Kindle Edition]

M.M. Bennetts
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Gambler, gaoler, soldier, sailor, smuggler, spyman, traitor, thief
A battle of wits against the brutal forces of Napoleon’s tyranny over Europe

On a summer night in 1812, a boy sets fire to a house in Paris before escaping over the rooftops. Carrying vital intelligence about Napoleon’s Russian campaign, he heads for England. But landing in Kent, he is beaten almost to death.

The Foreign Secretary, Lord Castlereagh, is desperate for the boy’s information. He is even more desperate, however, to track down the boy’s assailant – a sadistic French agent who knows far too much about Castlereagh’s intelligence network.

Captain George Shuster is a veteran of the Peninsula, an aide-de-camp to Wellington, now recalled from the continent and struggling to adjust to civilian life. Thomas Jesuadon is a dissolute, living on the fringes of society, but with an unrivalled knowledge of the seamy underside of the capital. Setting out to trace the boy’s attacker, they journey from the slums of London to the Scottish coast, following a trail of havoc, betrayal, official incompetence and murder. It takes an unlikely encounter with a frightened young woman to give them the breakthrough that will turn the hunter into the hunted.

Meanwhile, the boy travels the breadth of Europe in the wake of the Grande Armée, witnessing at first hand the ruination they leave behind and the awful price of Napoleon’s ambition.

This companion to M.M. Bennetts’s brilliant debut, May 1812, is a gripping account of deception, daring and determination, of intelligence and guile pitted against brutality. Bennetts brings to vivid life the harrowing devastation wrought on the civilian populations of Europe by Napoleon’s men, and the grit, courage and tenacity of those who stood against them.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

M.M. Bennetts, who is married and lives in England, is a long-standing book critic for The Christian Science Monitor. Educated at Boston University and St Andrews, Bennetts is a specialist in the economic, social and military history of Napoleonic Europe. The author is a keen cross-country and dressage rider, as well as an accomplished pianist, regularly performing music of the era as both a soloist and accompanist. More than ten years in the researching, May 1812 was a labour of love arising from Bennetts' deep admiration for the men of that period and their stand against the tyranny of Napoleon in the first total war. It is one of the first works of historical fiction to draw on the eyewitness accounts of the assassination of British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1834 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Diiarts (October 8, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004CLYO0U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,268 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning, stunning book. May 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I read of honest fame in paperback form a little while back, and before I started it I didn't believe that I would enjoy it. Why? Inherent prejudice against the 'historical' tag, I'm afraid. I just didn't think of historical fiction as being my kind of thing.

I was wrong. Good Lord was I wrong! I've read many of the 'greatest books ever written'; from Crime and Punishment, through Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and everything in between, so I feel that I know a good book from an average one.

This book deserves to be every bit as widely read as those 'classics'; it is quite simply one of the greatest achievements by a modern writer that I have ever had the privilege to read. Buy it now.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my favorite book of all time. February 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love this book. LOVE. I've never read anything better in classic literature or beyond. Why? It has everything I've ever loved in fiction all rolled into one book: brilliant characterization, action-packed story, mouthwatering prose, and authentic and well-researched locations. And wow, what an ending! Knocked me flat for days afterward. Can't recommend this book highly enough.

If you want to see what good literature looks like, take a peek at this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid and unforgettable view of Napoleanic Europe October 25, 2011
I cannot say whether I liked this better than May 1812 or not. Few books get five stars with me. Those that I do give typically go to classics, but they are the ones I will never, ever forget. Both of Bennetts' books fall into this category, and yet they are difficult to compare. Perhaps 1812 examines the domestic side of war, while Of Honest Fame looks at the tragedies witnessed by a young spy. There is a great deal going on, and yet the plot is woven together so well, and each thread is told so distinctly, that one never gets lost. And then, when the tapestry at last reveals what the true story is about HOLY WOW! This is a truly remarkable work. The research is flawless and extensive, and yet it is never heavy handed. Rather, the facts are infused into the story and into the characters with a kind of humanity that oozes from every page. I really love this book. Both Of Honest Fame and May 1812 are books I'll read over and over again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most Impressive book March 20, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It takes no time at all to be gripped by this book. It is quite beautifully written, and the prose really draws the reader into the excitement and atmosphere of this historical period. There is huge quality here, with a mesmerising plot and utterly absorbing characters.
From the little I know I am impressed by the historical accuracy, and that adds to the rich and absorbing sense of time and place. Within a few minutes of beginning this book, you are walking those streets and breathing that air, awaiting the next fraught, unexpected and exciting surprises.
But there is no need to be a history buff or even a lover of historical fiction, for this book stands alone as excellent entertainment. It is most certainly a five star experience, and I recommend it strongly.
The ending is quite brilliant - very clever writing indeed - and certainly leaves me wanting to read M.m. Bennetts' next book at the earliest opportunity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Should Get Honest FAME! April 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I had devoured MM Bennetts earlier work May 1812 and loved it... But this one--this! This is amazing. It grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go. Never have I read a more historically accurate book that is as riveting a story as this one.

MM is truly one of the greatest, if not THE greatest historian on earth today, and quite frankly, her world of the Napoleonic wars is so raw, so intense, so real you feel as if you've been hurtled back time and place to fight with these brave heroes.

If you want to really feel what it's like to live, love and battle for what you believe in, read it. This book has it all: romance, action, intrigue... and an intense--keep you up at night--ride worth getting on. I cannot wait for the next in this series from such an amazing author!

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Of Honest Fame November 21, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
What a book. I love historical fiction. I like almost everything, but historical will always hold a special place with me. I also really enjoy it when research has been done. I love the accuracy.

This book had me from the beginning. Had I not had to get up and do other things that day, I'd have done nothing but finish this book in one sitting. The characters are developed so well for the time period. You love them, you may dislike some too. The ending is not as expected either. Another quality I absolutely love in a book.

This book left me screaming for a sequel. The last line. Priceless. {Not going to share it...go pick up your own book'} Pick this one up for a great winter read.

RATING: ''''

Pages: 423

Review copy of this book provided by the author/publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous story, characters, and writing April 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For the moment, London is relatively sheltered from Napoleon's war of conquest, but that hardly means the city is sitting idle. Castlereagh's loyal group of spies are traipsing all over the continent gathering information on Napoleon, trying to figure out how to take him down. When Tirrell starts making his way home with important documents only to be nearly beaten to death when he gets there they begin to suspect the threat to their country may lie closer than they thought.

Of Honest Fame is a historical fiction novel, but you don't have to be a history guru to enjoy this book. History and geography are probably my two worst subjects. I have steered away from historical fiction in the past for that very reason. Plus, I feared historical novels would dry and polite and formal. And let's face it, no matter how high school text books paint an event, there's always more to the story than what you read.

I think that is what intrigued me so much in Of Honest Fame. This was not the academic glossing over I remember from world history. I appreciated how real everything felt. The characters were unique and human, with faults and strengths and interesting personalities. As much as I revere Jane Austen for creativity, I have never been completely captured by her characters because they are just too prim and proper. Bennetts is able to capture in this book the nuances of London life in 1812 in a way that makes is seem very familiar and real. Yes, there elaborate parties and different boots for different times of the day, and of course manners and social conniving play a part, but rather than this being the focus, it seems to be more of a façade everyone wears while real life is happening in the background.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a great read! The story and characters were well developed...
This was a great read! The story and characters were well developed and extremely interesting. The writing was superb and the subject matter fascinating. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Benny 806
4.0 out of 5 stars Advice: Read "May 1812" first
Since this book refers to lives and circumstances mentioned in the other book, it helps to read that one first. Otherwise the references are a bit skimpy. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Leapin' Literary Lurkers
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs a sequel
What a book. I love historical fiction. I like almost everything, but historical will always hold a special place with me. I also really enjoy it when research has been done. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Nyxx Raven
5.0 out of 5 stars An action-packed tour de force!
I was impressed by the author's previous work, May 1812 and I'm so glad I decided to read this one too. I couldn't put it down and had to read it in one sitting. Read more
Published on August 16, 2012 by Chocopie DX
4.0 out of 5 stars Now this is more like it
Very close to 5 stars, but I only award 5 stars to the "best books I've ever read; books I will read over and over again" and while this is close, it's not quite there. Read more
Published on July 26, 2012 by R. Barrows
1.0 out of 5 stars I didn't buy this book
I did NOT buy this book.............don't even remember looking at it. bought Katherine Boo's book, The Beautiful Forevers,
but NOT this one!
Published on May 2, 2012 by Virginia T. McLaurin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reading
Thanks to Amazon reviewers, I gave this book a try and at such a bargain price could not believe how very much I enjoyed this one. Read more
Published on January 5, 2012 by K. Conklin
5.0 out of 5 stars A literary triumph!
I don't even know how to begin... this book is an utter triumph. I loved the author's previous book, May 1812, but this one just blew me away. Read more
Published on November 21, 2011 by S. Harrison
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More About the Author

History, poetry, music and horses fairly sums it up.

Educated at Boston University and the University of St. Andrews, M.M. Bennetts is a specialist in early 19th century British history and the Napoleonic wars as well as a keen cross country and dressage rider. Before turning to writing novels full-time, Bennetts was a French translator and a longstanding book critic for the Pulitzer-prize winning newspaper, 'The Christian Science Monitor'.

Both Bennetts' historical novels, 'May 1812' (a Harper-Collins Authonomy Gold Medalist) and 'Of Honest Fame' are based on over twenty years' research and a bibliography of over an hundred and fifty works. Though that's just the reading.

Playing and practicing the music of the age--Beethoven, Field, Schubert--is one of the perks, as has been learning to clean and shoot a flintlock used at Waterloo, (they are so beautiful the guns of 200 years ago!) visiting the battlefields, studying the furniture and homes, eating the food the English soldiers were served in Spain 200 years ago, listening to the family stories of the descendants of Spanish guerrillas who fought alongside Wellington and his men in Spain...they each made me promise I would tell their story. I gave them my word.

So a third novel, 'Or Fear of Peace', set amidst the turmoil of the final drive against Napoleon in Europe, is now underway and scheduled for publication next year.

In the meantime--to keep out of trouble (ha ha)--Bennetts has contributed to and edited 'Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors' a compilation of the best of the English Historical Fiction Authors' historical essays from the first year of their existence.

The author lives in England.

Do follow me on Twitter @mmbennetts or have a look-in at my Facebook page, May 1812. Love to see you there!

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