An Honourable Thief by Douglas Skelton #BookReview #BlogTour


1715. Jonas Flynt, ex-soldier and reluctant member of the Company of Rogues, a shady intelligence group run by ruthless spymaster Nathaniel Charters, is ordered to recover a missing document. Its contents could prove devastating in the wrong hands.

On her deathbed, the late Queen Anne may have promised the nation to her half-brother James, the Old Pretender, rather than the new king, George I. But the will has been lost. It may decide the fate of the nation.

The crown must recover it at all costs.

The trail takes Jonas from the dark and dangerous streets of London to an Edinburgh in chaos. He soon realises there are others on the hunt, and becomes embroiled in a long overdue family reunion, a jail break and a brutal street riot.

When secrets finally come to light, about the crown and about his own past, Jonas will learn that some truths, once discovered, can never be untold…

An atmospheric and utterly compelling blend of crime, history and thriller, to delight fans of S. J. Parris, Andrew Taylor and C. J. Sansom.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for An Honourable Thief today, many thanks to Douglas Skelton, Canelo and Love Books Tours for inviting me and for ending me an advance digital copy of the novel.

An Honourable Thief is fiction but is flavoured with real life events and people, resulting in a historical novel which is rich in atmosphere and which sizzles with danger and intrigue. It's the first in Douglas Skelton's new series and introduces Jonas Flynn; exuding menace, tormented by guilt and memories of the battlefield and with a dark past which has left him open to blackmail, he springs from the page and is a superbly compelling character from the moment he first appears.
It's obvious from the start that Flynn is a complex, enigmatic man – utterly ruthless yet driven by a moral code which sets him apart from many of the people he deals with in the alleys. taverns and shadows of 18th century London. The sights, sounds and smells of life in 1715 permeate the novel throughout and the sense of time and place is exceptional. However, as well as the pitch-perfect historical setting, what's also fascinating about An Honourable Thief is that there are several parallels which can be drawn between then and now.
The book opens with the death of Queen Anne and as the last Stuart monarch she has been succeeded by George, Elector of Hanover who becomes George I. Rumours persist, however, that Anne may have written a letter stating her wish that her Catholic half-brother, James Francis Edward Stuart should become king following her death. Flynn's chequered past means he is now beholden to Colonel Nathaniel Charters and is amongst his network of hand-picked spies known as his Company of Rogues. Charters contends that it his his duty to do what he can to protect England, by fair means or foul and while Flynn purports not to care about the security of the nation, he has his own sense of honour, which coupled with the knowledge that to cross Charters would result in him facing the hangman's noose, ensures he is prepared to do whatever it takes to hunt down this letter. 
Of course, he isn't the only person seeking such a valuable document and just as there are those who are determined to protect the Crown, there are others who would dearly love to be able to strengthen the Jacobite call to arms with a letter naming the King Over the Water as Anne's successor. Flynn follows the trail to Edinburgh and back to the home he walked away from in search of adventure as a young man.
He returns home a changed man and finds a mixed welcome awaiting him. His family and friends believed him dead and not everyone is pleased to see him. As he revisits his memories, he must confront his mistakes and his reunion with his youthful companions is emotional, eventually leading to a tense and moving set-piece which is based on a real-life event and which examines the desire for justice and retribution to devastating effect. The politics of the day, with the Treaty of the Union leaving many Scots feeling cheated are particularly resonant and the chasm between the rich and powerful, and the rest emphasise still further how these historical events continue to influence current issues. 
Flynn is a consummate gambler but as he risks everything in pursuit of the letter, he has a worthy adversary in the beguiling Madame de Fontaine and the chemistry between them is electrifying at times. The storyline twists and turns towards its dramatic conclusion and abounds with revelations and surprises right to the end. The result is a wonderfully suspenseful, exciting thriller that delivers everything it promises and more. An Honourable Thief is a thumping good read and the prospect of more to come from Jonas Flynn is mouth-watering – I can't wait! Very highly recommended.

An Honourable Thief is published by Canelo Adventure, purchasing links can be found here but please support independent bookshops whenever possible.

Follow the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Douglas Skelton has published twelve non fiction books and ten crime thrillers. He has been a bank clerk, tax officer, shelf stacker, meat porter, taxi driver (for two days), wine waiter (for two hours), reporter, investigator and local newspaper editor. He has been longlisted three times for the McIlvanney Prize, most recently in 2022. Douglas contributes to true crime shows on TV and radio and is a regular on the crime writing festival circuit.


  1. It sounds very like the Seeker novels by SG MacLean (which are great if you haven't tried them).

    I will give it a go, thanks for the review


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