Cornwall, 1817. Napoleon has crushed the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo, and his ex-wife, Josephine, presides over French-occupied England. Cornwall erupts into open rebellion, and young heiress Hester escapes with Crow, Wellington's former intelligence officer. Together they become embroiled in a web of treachery and espionage as plans are laid to free Wellington from captivity and lead an uprising against the French occupation.
Make no mistake: K.J. Whittaker is a promising writer with sparkle and imagination. And as a big consumer of alternate history, I always prefer stories that focus on people over the "Point of Departure," letting the alternate historical pathway play out in the background. Whittaker does that, but unfortunately takes it too far for my taste, making this essentially a standard historical romance novel. That would be forgivable but for Spurgin-Hussey's flat, mumbling narration. I honestly gave her five hours of my time, but even with the volume turned up to the max, I often found myself rewinding to figure out what happened. Even in moments of crisis (e.g., the murder of a significant character), Spurgin-Hussey sounds like she is reading from a laundry list. I'm returning this one.