Just occasionally a historical novel with a roguish hero cad can make it into our archives, and Archie Dexter has... See more HR novels on the HR Page
Reviewed by Francine:
In the rough vein of G. MacDonald Frazer’s “Harry Flashman”, and Bernard Cornwell’s “Sharpe” — likewise N.J. Slater’s “Archie Dexter” has an eye for the ladies and is a bit of a cad in matters of the heart. As one of Admiral Lord Nelson’s staff officers, Archie’s former boyhood days whiled away in Alexandria serve purpose in locating old acquaintances. Therefore his mission seems less daunting, though not without hazards and pitfalls of trusting the wrong people. Thus, amidst thrilling deadly encounters, occasional lighted-hearted and licentious moments, Archie’s mission involves a great deal of spying, watching his back, and fathoming how to get out of a perilous situation. After a fair bit of bartering, an old friend comes to the rescue and Archie momentarily encounters seventh heaven until once again duty calls. In true heroic fashion, Archie becomes a king-pin attached to sheer luck and assists in Nelson’s success during the Battle of the Nile (Egypt).
Job done and dusted (so to speak), well not quite, because Archie and the reader are shipped back and forth across the Mediterranean basin on various missions of great importance, until finally he’s shipped home to England. Once there he becomes attached to the Aliens Office (forerunner to MI5 and MI6), and whilst home security is of prime importance, foreign agents of a military disposition are sought and placed under surveillance. After all, mysterious deaths are occurring within London and Archie is soon assigned to the case. With his personal delectations catered for en route from Egypt via Spanish bordellos, and with all the delights and mysterious characters within the grandeur of Georgian ballrooms, nothing is quite what it seems. Can Archie really survive to live another day with foreign murdering spies on the loose, and will he once again break hearts on his travels? Therein doth lay another story, methinks. Thus, An Agent to the King is an enjoyable and thrill-laden adventure novel.