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Barrister and the Letter of Marque Paperback – 3 August 2021

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 ratings

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From the Back Cover

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he's a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the
Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king's regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter--the sole proof his actions were legal--has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady's distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he'd imagined.

"Johnson debuts with a tense story of powerful interests teaming up to thwart a legal challenge in Georgian-era England. . . . Johnson steeps his story in legal maneuvering, layers of intrigue, midnight chases, and even a hint of romance. While faith elements are subtle, this enthralling novel will appeal to fans of both legal thrillers and historical inspirationals."
--Publishers Weekly

"Todd M. Johnson draws on his background as a trial lawyer to introduce us to the legal world of Regency Britain. . . . Nineteenth-century London and environs come to life--from gambling halls, wharfside pubs, and the dank, gruesome interior of Newgate Prison, to the printed pages of "penny dreadfuls" and the high drama of courtroom action within the Old Bailey. A historical mystery with smart writing, developed characters, and unexpected plot twists makes for an entertaining read."--Historical Novel Society

"The Barrister and the Letter of Marque combines the intrigue of John Grisham, the vibrant world of Charles Dickens, and a mystery worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. . . . This richly historical and lively paced story has all the makings of a modern classic."--JOCELYN GREEN, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City

"At once atmospheric and gripping, Johnson's latest is a luminous and refreshing new offering in inspirational historical fiction."--RACHEL MCMILLAN, author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code

"A fascinating glimpse into a Regency London readers seldom see."--ROSEANNA M. WHITE, bestselling author of Edwardian fiction

About the Author

Todd M. Johnson ( has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong. He lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and daughter.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bethany House Publishers (3 August 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0764212362
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0764212369
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.97 x 2.64 x 21.59 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33 ratings

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Top reviews from Australia

Reviewed in Australia on 24 August 2021
Reviewed in Australia on 4 August 2021

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Jane's Sister
3.0 out of 5 stars Something's the matter here.
Reviewed in the United States on 17 August 2021
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7 people found this helpful
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable story
Reviewed in the United States on 28 September 2021
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable story
Reviewed in the United States on 28 September 2021
The setting for the story is 1818 in London. William Snopes is the son of Lord Snopes but gave up his wealthy upbringing twenty years ago. He is estranged from his father and supports himself as a barrister. He has avoided taking cases involving the aristocracy his entire career until he meets Lady Madeine Jameson. He agrees to hear her out but secretly has already decided he will not take her case because she is of the aristocracy. After hearing her case and consulting his subordinates, he decides to decline her case but wants to do so in person. He arrives at her estate and it is not at all what he expected. He sees the condition of the estate and knows Lady Jameson has told him the truth and is in dire straits. He changes his mind and agrees to take her case, never realizing exactly the powers that he is up against.
Lady Madeleine Jameson is desperate for Mr. Snopes to take her case. She has invested all her money, as well as quite a bit borrowed from a smuggler and a crooked lawyer, in the purchase of a ship. The ship is captained by her cousin. The ship has sailed with a Letter of Marque signed by King George, which allows the ship to seize foreign goods from other ships that are carrying smuggles goods. The captain seizes such a ship, arrives back in London after a year at sea only to be arrested for piracy immediately upon docking. As the captain arrives in his cabin to produce his Letter of Marque, which assures the legality of his actions, the letter is nowhere to be found. The ship and cargo are held by the crown, so the cargo can’t be sold. Piracy is a crime that carries the sentence of transportation to a prison colony or hanging. Lady Jameson will lose her worn down estate and could herself be arrested as she is part owner of the ship. What unravels as William and his aides investigate is challenge after challenge seeking answers and justice and a deadly plot involving those at the highest level of power.
I enjoyed the plot of the story very much, though it was a bit slow in some parts. This is one of my favorite time periods to read about, so I also enjoyed that aspect. The aspect of class differences as far as how justice was meted out and how life was lived were accurate I thought. There was no personal relationship with God in the story, so I’m not really sure why this is marketed as a Christian book and published by a Christian publisher. There were also some historical errors but that didn’t detract from the entertainment value for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting writing and plot development
Reviewed in the United States on 5 February 2022
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a christian book fan
4.0 out of 5 stars Historic suspense
Reviewed in the United States on 15 January 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars History, mystery and the triumph of justice.... TJ's Best?
Reviewed in the United States on 2 September 2021
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