The Crown Agent
by Stephen O'Rourke
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 4 Mar 2021 | Archive Date 22 Sep 2021
A ship adrift, all hands dead. A lighthouse keeper murdered in the night. The Crown needs man to find the truth. Doctor Mungo Lyon, his reputation tarnished by the Burke & Hare scandal, and forbidden to practise as a surgeon, is the wrong man.
That's exactly why the Crown chose him.
A Note From the Publisher
Shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year 2020
‘This is a colourful and fascinating story - the first of what I hope will be many adventures penned by the talented Mr O’Rourke.’ -Alexander McCall Smith
‘Fast-paced and not a word wasted, this is a classic adventure that calls to mind Stevenson and Buchan.’ -S.G. MacLean
‘An assured debut that unashamedly harks back to classic thrillers... reads like a knowing blend of James Buchan’s The 39 Steps and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.’ -The Irish Times
‘The story is fast paced and gripping... An adrenaline-filled adventure.’ -Scottish Field
‘A new author with an eye for the rare and unusual and with the skills and intelligence to create many more thrilling novels.’ -Shots Mag
‘A classic, colourful and fascinating adventure story... brilliantly told with plenty of derring-do.’ -Crime Review
‘This highly entertaining debut sits well in a long tradition of Scottish adventure novels and is a perfect winter evening read for fans of intrigue, daring do and jeopardy.’ -November Editor's Pick, NB Magazine
‘The perfect dark and moody tale to keep you going this autumn... Immensely entertaining and as gripping as you’d hope from a crime novel, I look forward to more Mungo Lyon adventures.’ -CommonSpace
‘A beautifully crafted novel... written with a great eye to detail and its pace, storyline and ending all reward the reader. There is definite mileage in Mungo Lyon returning for future missions, though "The Crown Agent" stands as an excellent novel in its own right.’ -Undiscovered Scotland
Blog tour - email Ceris on firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to be involved!
Following excellent reviews and numerous festival, bookshop and online appearances for the publication of the hardback edition.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
The Crown Agent is a thrilling novel, wonderfully laced through events occurring in 1829 Scotland, and somewhat further afield. The writing is assured, the action fast-paced, the mystery thrilling and in need of solving, and our hero, Dr. Mungo Lyon, a fascinating and tenacious hero. I was enthralled by the attention to detail, the seamless weaving of a tale well told. And the addition of a certain character only led to the enjoyment. (No spoilers here). A fantastic novel, helped, no doubt, by the fact I actually know my way around this part of Scotland and could picture many of the places, but with the aid of the well-drawn maps at the beginning, I'm sure anyone will enjoy it. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy. 5 stars from me:)
Disgraced Edinburgh surgeon Dr Lyons is hired to solve a mystery of a murdered lighthouse keeper, a ghost ship on the rocks with some missing cargo,and missing men. From the moment he leaves his sister with a mysterious clue and heads to Greenock he is in danger from a mysterious group of men. The men in charge of customs who hdbis to work with don't want him there and his assistance appears to be in the form of a known murderer. In this thriling tale if deceit, smuggling, murder, kidnap and slavery you are kept guessing,. Who is friend, who is foe, and who will survive in this fantastic mystery set in Scotland's docks innthe 1800s
Debut novel brings elements of surprise to not only smuggling but the case of Burke and Hare body snatchers in Edinburgh in Victorian Scotland. Liked the central character Dr Mungo Lyon and particularly the relationship with his younger sister Margaret, an invalid but excellent at deciphering codes and languages. When Mungo falls because of his involvement with Knox taking the stolen bodies his work as a leading doctor is under threat. He is then called in by people of note including the Attorney General to investigate the strange murder of a lighthouse keeper and a ghost ship with dead passengers with links to odd tattoo signs and coded messages. It is a bit Poldark on the Scottish Isles although romance is not at the fore and perhaps female characters could have been developed more fully. The mysterious links to codes, secret agents move a regular case of smuggling illegal drink into a new realm of danger which is explored well within the plot. I loved the descriptions of the islands and the sea around the west coast of Scotland which I have visited. This is probably going to start a series and could provide some entertaining follow ups.
A young disgraced surgeon, Mungo Lyon, is the main protagonist of Stephen O'Rourke fiendishly clever novel "The crown agent." Working undercover for the government, Lyon must infiltrate a corrupt network of organized crime in order to solve a murder. Unbeknownst to him this simple murder investigation will send him down a tumultuous path from Scotland to Jamaica and back, a path fraught with lots of obstacles and difficulties. Mungo's adventures (and yes they include romance) will keep you enthralled thanks to a very twisty plot and perfectly drawn characters. This wonderful novel is sometimes reminiscent of Stevenson and Conrad and I honestly hope that Mr O'Rourke will turn this very accomplished work of fiction into the first installment of a successful new series. To be enjoyed without moderation! Many thanks to Netgalley and Sandstone for the opportunity to read this wonderful novel prior to its release date
Stephen O'Rourke's first novel, a historical action adventure of daring and danger, was shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of 2020. Set in 1829, it begins with the gruesome murder of a lighthouse keeper, Sandy, on Cumbrae Island. Dr Mungo Lyon is a Edinburgh surgeon, tainted and banned from practicing because of his links with Dr Robert Knox, a man guilty of accepting dead bodies from the notorious Burke and Hare. William Burke has been hanged, whilst his partner, Hare, walks free after providing testimony that convicted Burke under the Scottish justice system. Lyon's circumstances leave him free to accept an assignment to work undercover for the crown, commissioned by the Lord Advocate and Sir John Foster, the Collector of Customs at Leith. The ship Julietta was found adrift with 8 dead crew members, all having suffered from yellow fever at Greenock port on the River Clyde in Glasgow. The Julietta has been smuggling some form of cargo from the Caribbean to Scotland, but what it was is not clear as the ship had been unloaded, but by whom or where is not known. After the murder of Sandy, the lighthouse keeper, his assistant, Tom, has run away, raising suspicions of his guilt and there is a missing Customs Officer, Crawford McGunn. Mungo is dispatched to Glasgow to investigate, but he finds himself facing numerous attempts by nefarious shadowy individuals to kill him that he manages to avoid, finding a surprising liking for his new role that he had not expected. A journal gives him a better idea of how many travelled on the ship and its sailing journey to Glasgow and with encrypted papers that he is unable to decipher, he sends them to his sister, Margaret in Edinburgh, certain she will be able to break the code. Lyon finds himself uncovering treason, powerful traitors, and travelling to a Jamaica under British rule where slavery is still rife, and involved in events that culminate in a thrilling finale. This is the first in a series from O'Rourke, it is fast paced, full of suspense and tension, with a wide range of colourful characters, including a able William Hare now working for the crown undercover, providing valuable aid and support to Mungo Lyon. This has a feel of the old classic historical adventure stories that so many readers love, with plenty of period details, such as the class distinctions, the poverty, the growth of the Scottish Whisky industry, and the workings of the ports and customs. Lyon makes an attractive central figure, whose medical background as a surgeon is to stand him in good stead, and whilst having lingering doubts over the need to kill, discovers he is otherwise well equipped for his new profession. Many thanks to Sandstone Press for an ARC.