1635 – As war in Flanders sets in for yet another long year, a Spanish count presents the Vatican with a means of disrupting the Dutch rebels’ booming economy. The idea seems frivolous, but it could do real damage. To be successful however, they need to choose the right man for the job.
Enter Ludovico da Portovenere, a charismatic spice and silk merchant, on his way from Constantinople to Amsterdam. His voyage is interrupted; first by a timid English priest with a message from Rome, then by a storm, and then by a pirate raid. Each event has a significant effect on Ludo’s plans, and even greater effects on the people involved in his life and business.
Intrigued and amused, Ludo accepts the Vatican commission: it has the potential for vast profit. The storm brings him Marcos, a quick-witted young admirer he uses as a spy. The pirate raid brings him a girl, Alina, who won’t go home. She is an encumbrance so Ludo sells her to an English nobleman in Plymouth and sails on, never dreaming she’ll be the means of saving his life.
While Ludo sets about his mischief-making in Holland, Alina establishes herself in her new home, unwittingly making vicious enemies and putting her life in jeopardy. She dreams Ludo will rescue her from the house that has become her prison. But when he does arrive it is not at all how she imagined.
International politics and domestic intrigues, The Chosen Man relates a fictional version of what may have happened to accelerate the Dutch scandal known as ‘tulip mania’ and shows how decisions made in high places can have terrible repercussions on innocent lives.
Background to The Chosen Man Trilogy
Book One in what became The Chosen Man Trilogy began during research for something quite different at a Tudor fortress in Cornwall, England. Three of the characters made their appearance that day: the wily Ludo da Portovenere sailed up the River Tamar in the prow of a corsair vessel; the evil McNab walked out of the walls of the old Great Hall; and the nasty mother-in-law poked her head out of a portrait. Book Two takes Ludo from Portuguese Goa in India to the court of Charles Stuart in London, then on a secret mission with Marcos and Alina to the court of Felipe IV of Spain in Madrid. Book Three sees Ludo crossing oceans and travelling through Europe with Alina again, this time on a mission for Queen Henrietta Maria exiled in France – to sell the English Crown Jewels. Each story is based on little known real events.
“Very well written historical fiction of the finest kind..”
“Superbly written – with a captivating plot.”
“An intrigue-filled historical novel with a sense of humor.”
“J G Harlond is a real find. The Chosen Man is a debut novel with everything going for it: a cracking story centred on an intriguing and charismatic hero…historical research that’s thorough but lightly worn…a thrilling and pleasingly un-tricksy narrative…and a writing style that pleases without setting out to impress.”
About J.G. Harlond
Secret agents, skulduggery, crime and romance that cross continents . . .
J.G. Harlond (Jane) writes page-turning historical crime fiction. Each story is set against a background of real events, combining intrigue, romance, and downright wickedness. Many of her stories examine aspects of power, showing how decisions made in high places can affect the lives of ordinary people. For many years Jane worked in International Education, she then gave up a safe, successful and enjoyable career to become a full-time author. After travelling widely, she is now settled in rural Andalucía, southern Spain.