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Honor's Kingdom (Abel Jones Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – July 29, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews
Book 4 of 6 in the Abel Jones Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The delightful Maj. Abel Jones (previously met in Parry's series in Faded Coat of Blue, Shadows of Glory and Call Each River Jordan), agent for Abraham Lincoln, appears in London during the summer of 1862 to combat Britannia's flirtation with the Confederacy and prevent construction of ironclad warships for the rebel navy in this humorous historical novel spiced with suspense. His murdered predecessor has been found, thoroughly nibbled, in a basket of eels. Seeking the perpetrator of this crime, Jones roams from odiferous slums to the halls of Parliament (itself plagued by the stench of the Thames), encountering such personages as the cobra-like Disraeli and the na‹ve Henry Adams. Cameos by Trollope, Whistler and Karl Marx enliven the narrative, and Parry has almost too much fun, as when a copper instructs a subordinate, "Go get Wilkie, Collins." The glee the author takes in the narrative voice of his staunchly Methodist hero is infectious, and he brings the era to vivid life. Readers learn more of Jones's history, including his stint in the British army, as thuggee assassins and a dreadful nemesis he had thought dead appear to hound his steps. This is another rollicking entry, capturing "the spirit of our age, the turbulent sixties, with their progress, hope, immodesty and danger. But let that bide, for there is more to tell." Indeed, the next installment is announced on the last page.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

The Union had to face more than the Confederacy during the Civil War. Certain factions in Great Britain were eager to help the South in their endeavors by providing warships to destroy commercial Union vessels. In Parry's fourth Civil War novel (after Faded Coat of Blue and Shadows of Glory), Union major Abel Jones is sent to London to investigate the disappearance of a fellow agent, found dead and half-eaten by eels in a barrel. As Jones becomes enmeshed in the intrigues of British government and witnesses the raw existence of London's poor, he finds himself following leads that take him from Disraeli's parlor to the shipyards of Glasgow. When a child is brutally murdered and menacing ghosts from the past emerge, Jones must confront more than shipyard conspiracies. Although the plot can at times be confusing, the story is intriguing, and Parry fans will enjoy traveling with Abel Jones through the book's dangers to solve the mystery. Highly recommended.
- Loree Davis, Broward Cty. Libs., Fort Lauderdale, FL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Abel Jones Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006051079X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060510794
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,187,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Life is mystifying. One person can read a novel and adore it, while another "can't get through" the same book. Well, I had to write this review--my first on amazon--because I saw that a reviewer not only didn't much like this book, but suspected that Owen Parry's audience is mostly male. As a matter of fact, I'm both very much a woman and a devoted fan of this series. I don't think one's reaction is so much a matter of gender as much as of personal literary tastes. If Parry faces any stumbling block, it just may be that his writing is too good--the more you love fine, serious writing (masquerading as a mystery series, and a very good one, at that), the better you will like Parry's writing. But if you prefer novels that are as mindless as prime-time television, look elsewhere. Parry is a master of beautiful prose, a true genius at creating vivid, living, memorable characters, devilishly-good at plots, and, as best I can tell, a first-rate historian (note to my fellow female reviewer: Marx was well-known in informed circles by the 1860s and a good number of Communists, as well as thousands of Socialists, fought in the Civil War on the Union side). Anyway, the important thing is that this is a delightful book that I read in two sittings. All of the novels in this series are great reads--and Parry, to his credit, has made each of them unique and he avoids cheap formulas. Yes, these books are terrific mysteries and--just maybe--the finest historical novels being written today. But the ultimate matter is that they are simply wonderful books. This is genuine literature pretending to be popular fiction. And I intend to read every novel Owen Parry publishes...
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Format: Hardcover
I should have spent the last day studying for the bar exam.
Unfortunately, Parry's sharp wit, along with his unsurpassed development of plot, setting and characterization dragged me away from my scholastic duties. Now I know why Abel Jones stands so quick to damn the novel as an enticing distraction from virtue (though the Welshman softens this postion somewhat in the course of this story).
I found this story to be the best mystery of Parry's books, too. Though Parry's previous books were similarly entertaining, I found "Faded Coat of Blue" and "Call Each River" predictable of outcome (though having an early notion of the route made the trip no less enjoyable). As with "Shadows of Glory", I found "Honor's Kingdom" confounding until the final pages.
And the villain who assumes center-stage in this novel stands up to any of the fictional rogues concocted by the Marquise de Sade as a convincing, repulsive embodiment of villainy. Though I suspect Parry's sympathies would not lie with that French "nobleman", his ability to portray such a wicked character with such sympathy ("Sympathy for the Devil", perhaps?) testifies to his skill as an author and to his integrity as an observer of the human condition.
Well worth the read, and then some.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have never eaten an eel pie, but I've heard of 'em and thought perhaps some day I might enjoy the experience. Not now! Not after reading the first chapter of Abel Jones's latest adventure. That ... Parry has such a command of English prose he used it to make me ill! I haven't read anythng quite as graphic as Chapter 1 of "Honor's Kingdom" since Swift's "The Lady's Dressing Room." But once into this book, as all of Parry's novels, I couldn't put it aside.
So what's Abel Jones doing in England? I thought this mystery was pretty straight forward: the redoubtable Major is there to thwart the Confederates' English confederates from building warships for Richmond's fledgling navy. The CSS ALABAMA springs immediately to mind. But the ALABAMA was launched and she wreaked havoc with Yankee shipping. So Jones' mission we know from the beginning of this book is a failure. OK, so he'll solve some grisly murders? Well, read the book. Owen Parry's plots aren't THAT transparent.
Now that the "Washington Post" has blown Parry's cover it's obvious this talented literary gentleman has been leaving clues to his real identity buried in the pages of his books. Turn to p. 75 in this edition. There it is and it's hilarious. The real Owen Parry evidently has a self-deprecating sense of humor that combined with his devastating talent as a writer must make him in real life a very endearing person. He also knows English lit. In "Honor's Kingdom" you'll meet Thackery, learn something about Dickens (to whom Parry's writing has been favorably compared), get to know young Henry Adams, and get a liberal dose of William Shakespeare. Parry has something in common with the Bard too: His bad guys get some of the best lines. Oh, and if Karl Marx has any living descendants they may well sue Mr. Parry.
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By A Customer on August 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Abel Jones is back and his adventures are more compelling than ever, which is saying something, as readers of the earlier books in this extraordinary Civil War series will recognize. In "Honor's Kingdom" Parry has given us another captivating mystery and an astonishingly well-written historical novel, set primarily in the streets of London and Glasgow. And what do events in Britain have to do with the American Civil War? A great deal, actually, as Parry so beautifully illustrates. In the course of solving another murder, Jones meets Henry Adams (both father and son), Karl Marx and Benjamin Disraeli, among other real-life characters, and of course he encounters a lively cast of characters that are the product of Parry's ever fabulous imagination. Parry captures the sights and sounds of the era in exacting and fascinating detail--yet those details never get in the way of this riviting story. From the opening scene (a dead body is discovered in a basket of eels) to the unexpected climax of this page-turner "Honor's Kingdom" is a treat for anyone who values beautiful writing and intelligent storytelling. For my money, no other author, living or dead, has so well or so delightfully captured the Civil War era as Owen Parry. Long may he write.
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