Author: Mark M. McMillin

Publisher: Hephaestus Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-983817925

Proverbs 16:5 states “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. In Mark M. McMillin’s trilogy, Napoleon’s Gold, this third in the series novel expounds on greed and pride during the French Revolution and during Napoleon Bonaparte’s reign.

This four hundred and one page paperback volume has a single gold coin imbedded in mud on the front cover. Like the two previous books in the series, the story is geared to those interested in the late eighteenth century at sea, concentrating on soldiers, smugglers and privateers during and after the French Revolution. With profanity and quite a lot of violence, this book would be “R” rated at the movies due to the land and sea war skirmishes, detailed massacres and savage ravages of humanity. Besides the intentional misspellings following the language of the day, there are several typographical and punctuation errors that slow down the reading process. This series includes an informative chapter on fact verses fiction and a nautical glossary.

Like its predecessors, this tome is again based on the true life adventures of Captain Luke Ryan, but takes liberal liberty emitting a self-focus on the wealth, greed and power that grows within the famed Irish seaman. Having been a soldier in the British Navy, a successful smuggler in the Atlantic, and a privateer for America during its revolution, this particular book portrays the fictional Ryan mainly as a narcissist.

The story again starts in an American pub in the early 1800s but reveals that the old man telling the story is Ryan’s past partner in sea crime, who has taken on a dead man’s identity for protection. He continues the story of arrested Ryan who been charged with mayhem, murder, mutiny and felony piracy by France and is sentenced to hang. After going into great detail on the jury’s decision relating to Ryan’s true birthplace, only a small paragraph explains Queen Marie Antoinette had him released. Ryan then returns to storm the sea with some of his original crew, becoming smugglers again on his newly acquired ship, Athena.

Financed by Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, Ryan and his shipmates smuggle contraband from a multitude of countries, zigzagging back and forth in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, profiting at every opportunity. When France’s Napoleon starts his rise of power, Ryan has to acquiesce to the leader’s every whim and is duped into searching for hidden treasure that Napoleon confiscated but was sunk during transport.

Covering well over twenty years, the book continues to detail Ryan’s deep loves, mostly through his letter writing. During one of France’s civilian massacres, Ryan’s own young daughter conceived from a woman in the second book is murdered and he falls in love with one of Bonaparte’s lady friends. However, his heart is still fixated toward Shannon, the first book’s heroine.

With all the land and sea military attacks mentioned covering several countries, the plethora of smuggling runs reiterated and the privateering re-established again, the story gets overwhelming, confusing and repetitive as Ryan and his crew’s hatred explodes quickly toward France as they fight for more fame and fortune. Compared to the first and second book, this could be perceived as anticlimactic unless one realizes the story truly is fictional when considering that greed, pride and power overtook a real person like Captain Luke Ryan.

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