The Blighted Cliffs by Edwin Thomas
Book One of the Reluctant Adventures of Lieutenant Martin Jerrold

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Not many men emerge from Trafalgar with not an ounce of credit to their names, but through an overreliance on rum and his habitual bad luck, Lieutenant Martin Jerrold manages it. In February 1806, he comes to Dover with one final chance to redeem his reputation. Before he has been there a day, however, he finds himself standing over a body that is too far from the cliffs to have fallen accidentally. To his horror, Jerrold is suspected of murder. His captain despises him, and the magistrate, Sir Lawrence Cunningham, wants to hang him. Only the fact that no one can identify the corpse prolongs his freedom. When word reaches Jerrold's long-suffering uncle at the Admiralty, the choice is stark: he must clear his name or be cut off without a guinea.

Somewhere in Dover's twisted streets, someone must know something. But Jerrold soon discovers that nothing is as it seems in a town where smuggling is a way of life, and everyone from the fishermen to the colonel of dragoons drinks only the finest French brandy. And all the while, Jerrold is under suspicion, gaining sympathy only in the less-than-respectable arms of Isobel, the girl who seems--without any great effort on his part--to be becoming his mistress.
Distrusted by his superiors, set upon by intriguingly well-informed smugglers, and attacked by the French at sea, Jerrold has two weeks to save his skin--or perish in the attempt.

About Edwin Thomas

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Edwin Thomas was born in 1977 and grew up in West Germany, Belgium, and America before returning to England to study history at Lincoln College, Oxford. His conclusion to the short story "Death by the Invisible Hand" was published in the Economist in 1997, and the first chapter of The Blighted Cliffs was runner-up in the 2001 Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger award for new fiction.
Published October 1, 2004 by Thomas Dunne Books. 304 pages
Genres: History, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Blighted Cliffs

Publishers Weekly

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Following his humiliation at missing the battle of Trafalgar trapped below deck while sleeping off a hangover, boozy, carousing Lt. Martin Jerrold is banished to Dover by his embarrassed uncle at the Admiralty to serve aboard the cutter Orestes , chasing smugglers of French contraband.

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Historical Novel Society

The combination of mystery, nautical adventure, and smugglers’ tale does make for a congested plot line, but Jerrold’s cynical point of view and the author’s historical knowledge offer a refreshing insight into English society during this era.

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