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Rapscallion: A Regency Crime Thriller (Regency Crime Thrillers) Hardcover – May 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Regency Crime Thrillers
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus (May 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605984272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605984278
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,541,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Regency period (1812–20) is often associated with romance novels, but there’s little time for romance in this thriller, as Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood takes on a deadly assignment: disguised as a French prisoner of war aboard the hulk Rapscallion, he is charged with discovering how inmates are escaping. Hawkwood’s previous adventures established his reputation as a risk-taking, ruthless investigator with amazing stamina; he needs all of those qualities to survive the grim, often gruesome conditions on the prison ship—a microcosm of underworld hell—anchored off Sheerness in Kent. When Hawkwood and his friend and ally, Lasseur, finally escape the ship, they are captured by the local criminal kingpin and forced to join his smuggling operation. At no point in the story is the reader confident of Hawkwood’s success, neither in arresting the criminals nor in staying alive! Conflicting loyalties, relentless action, plot twists, and an atmospheric sense of impending catastrophe place this adventure-suspense novel in league with C. S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower Saga and Julian Stockwin’s Kydd Sea Adventures. --Jen Baker

Review

“A darkly attractive hero, terrific period atmosphere andaction that moves so fast.” (The TImes (London))

“A richly enjoyable and impressively researched novel – also very gripping. James McGee is clearly a rising star in the historical galaxy and I look forward to Hawkwood’s return.” (Andrew Taylor, author of The American Boy)

“Rambunctious entertainment.” (The Observer (London))

“This adventure yarn races along with twists and turns that grip from page to page. It’s a cracker; unrelentingly entertaining. And it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long while.” (Coventry Telegraph)

More About the Author

James McGee grew up in Gibraltar, Germany, and Northern Ireland. He has worked in banking, sales, newspapers, the airline industry and bookselling. He has travelled extensively in Europe, the United States, Australia and the Far East, but nowadays resides in Somerset.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett VINE VOICE on September 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Rapscallion is James McGee's third Hawkwood novel. Hawkwood is a bow street runner, but very much in the vein of Sharpe, and those who enjoy Bernard Cornwall's writing will probably enjoy this too.
This is darker then the previous two and involves Hawkwood going undercover to help the Navy find two of its missing men who were investigating a prisoner smuggling ring. This involves Hawkwood going onto one of the infamous prison ships, Rapscallion, to follow the links in the chain while trying to stay alive.
Slightly less action in this one, but a little more history - but the history (prison ships, treatment of French prisoners etc) was not something I knew much about and it was interesting to read of an unpleasant aspect of our (British) history.
As stated,the plot has a slower pace then previous as the scene is set, but then it snowballs up as we find there is more to the scenario then just basic smuggling and can Hawkwood intervene in time to stop a plan that could impact the war with the French?
Good stuff again from Mr NcGee - roll on the next one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
RAPSCALLION (Hist/Pol. Proc-Matthew Hawkwood-Georgian) - VG+
McGee, James - 3rd in series
Harper Collins, 2008, UK Hardcover - ISBN: 9780007212729

First Sentence: Sark stopped, sank to his knees and listened, but the only sounds he could hear were the pounding of his own heartbeat and the rasping wheeze at the back of his throat as he fought desperately to draw air into his burning lungs.

The Navy sent two officers out to investigate reports of a smuggling operation and the increase in the number of enemy prisoners who have escaped detention from their prison ships. The first investigator was found having drowned and the second hasn't been heard from.

The Home Secretary now requests the Bow Street, and Bow Street has assigned Matthew Hawkwood to go undercover aboard one of the ships. Conditions aboard ship are more vile that could be imagined and Hawkwood is soon fighting for his very life.

With each new McGee book, I am fascinated to see on what historical subject he will base his plot. The first book, "Ratcatcher," had to do with political plots and the security of the Royal Family. The second "Resurrectionist," was much darker and dealt with grave robbers. This third book focuses on the treatment of foreign prisoners of war and smuggling.

His period descriptions and historical detail make his books evocative and educational. This is high action and suspense at its best. Think Saturday matinee pirate movies. It is definitely plot, rather than character drive, but that doesn't make the characters any less interesting. It does mean you don't know whom to trust.

McGee's writing is incredibly visual, which is both good and a bit hard to deal with at time, and it is always incredibly exciting. There is a bit of "ride to the rescue" at one point, but McGee even makes that work.

This is the consummate edge-of-the-seat, great weekend read and, I think, McGee's best book so far.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John L. on July 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
McGee writes well and is generally a pleasure to read. The kind of book you tend to slow down a little while reading as you approach the end, to make it last.

McGee only made a couple of technical mistakes that bothered me, the biggest being centered around biology as concerns the death of humans and the birth of mammals in general. As with many writers describing the use of firearms, they would profit greatly if they would have somebody teach them how they function (flintlocks in this case). Happily the technical errors do not reduce enjoyment of the story. Get the book, you will be happy you did.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Chippindale on July 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
James McGee is the pseudonym of Glen Moy, who was born into an army family in 1950. He was educated in Gibraltar, Germany and Belfast, giving him a love of travel, which is evident in his meticulous, vivid portraits of diverse people and places. His varied career has included banking, bookselling, thirteen years in the airline business, and book reviewing.

This is the third novel (the other two being Ratcatcher and Ressurectionist) featuring Matthew Hawkwood, a Bow Street Runner, and a bit of a loose cannon as far as taking orders from his superior is concerned. An ex-army officer and one of the best shots in his regiment. Matthew is more used to giving orders than taking them and he is not above bringing his own form of rough justice to the slums and drinking dens of Regency London..

I must admit to enjoying this book slightly less than the previous two. I am not sure whether it is the fact that Hawkwood is taken away from his old stamping ground of the slums of London and the dross that live there, along with his old sergeant Jago, who has helped Matthew on more than one occasion in the past. Jago the self styled king f the beggars became almost as much a part of the storyline as Matthew Hawkwood himself.

This book is still well worth a read and it is not necessary to have read the other two books, although they may give some relevant background information on the lead character Matthew Hawkwood. The storyline places Hawkwood in the more rural setting of the Thames estuary and involves among other things smuggling and the prison ships known as the hulks. These are the rat infested, rotten, flea ridden stinking hulls of former men-of-war converted to hold French prisoners from the Napoleonic wars. To be sent to the hulks is tantamount to a death sentence.
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