A decisive Imperial victory; a casket abandoned after battle. A hunt for vital letters begins as Bohemia simmers in a cauldron of religious conflict.
With the brutal Thirty Years’ War broiling into the summer of 1619, Lieutenant Jack Channing takes on a cavalier’s commission and pursues the malevolent Sébastian Grieux, who reclaims the parchments for the Bohemian rebels. While negotiating the attentions of Anežka, the Princess Šťasná-Štěchová and alluring chatelaine of Velešín Castle, and the distractions of Marianna, the countess that he adores, Jack searches for the casket and his nemesis, determined to recover the documents and preserve a reputation.
This sequel to The Cavalier Club is a swashbuckling yarn of love, honour and adventure. The Cavalier’s Commission captures the early events of Europe’s devastating conflict with genuine and immersive storytelling, woven from a rigorous study of historical material.
Jack thrust twice at Grieux’s throat, forcing him to parry and back away. Shuffling forward with short, measured steps, Jack lashed out with a leash of incisive sweeps which were awkwardly deflected. Grieux retreated from the advancing officer, rivulets of sweat glistening across his brow. Jack followed him, leaving his rapier tip low - his preferred starting position - and waited for the Frenchman’s next move. Their eyes remained inexorably locked.
Within two heartbeats, Grieux attacked again, craving a short fight. He stabbed at Jack’s face – with more optimism than threat. Easily evaded, Jack lunged again, piercing the gambeson above the right shoulder and leaving a neat gash, but only a wound to Grieux’s pride. Infuriated, Grieux charged, poking and prodding repeatedly; frantically probing for a weakness. The Frenchman foined wildly, erratic thrusts that proved more hopeful than deadly. Jack retreated, maintaining a measured distance between them, initially detruding with his rapier then turning the lunges aside with his gloved hand. He countered, jabbing in quick succession, and as Grieux hacked the envoy’s blade away, Jack shot out with his fist, rattling the mercenary’s jaw. On the offensive now, the Polish officer slashed repeatedly at the shorter man’s chest, slicing through the quilted jerkin and lacerating the skin. This drew a ripple from the crowd. Blood oozed freely from the wound, blotting his upper shirt and drawing a feral curse amidst his heavy panting. Jack recognised fear in Grieux’s eyes for the first time, as the Frenchman spat blood from his split lips. Hubris and swagger were yielding to indecision and concern.
Author: Stanley Goidyn
Publication Date: 19/04/2018