Blog Tour: The Contraband Killings by Lucienne Boyce

Book Extract: The Contraband Killings by Lucienne Boyce

I am pleased to be welcoming Lucienne Boyce to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for The Contraband Killings: A Dan Foster Mystery.

Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is sent to collect smuggler Watcyn Jones from Beaumaris Gaol on Anglesey, and bring him back to London for trial at the Old Bailey. As if having to travel to the wilds of North Wales isn’t bad enough, Dan is saddled with an inexperienced constable as his interpreter and assistant. At least it’s a routine assignment and shouldn’t take more than a few days.

But when the prison escort is ambushed and Watcyn Jones escapes, a straightforward transfer turns into a desperate manhunt. And as Jones’s enemies start to die, the chase becomes more urgent than ever. Dan’s search for the killer brings him up against a ruthless smuggling gang – and his chances of getting off the island alive begin to look far from promising.


Lucienne has shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 


*****beginning of extract*****


Between 1793 and 1815 Britain was at war with revolutionary France. Faced with the very real threat of invasion as the French amassed ships and troops at key Channel ports, the government called on men to join local militias such as the Loyal Anglesea Volunteers. But the government’s enemies were not only pressing on them from the outside: there was also the enemy within, in the form of radical societies set up to campaign for political reform. Many of these groups supported the French and some were even prepared to take up arms with the revolutionary forces when they landed on British shores.

Anyone who voiced radical opinions was an object of suspicion, especially if they were spotted near military or naval installations. So when Dan Foster and his assistant, constable Goronwy Evans, hear Sampson Kirby a young English tourist, spouting anti-monarchical sentiments, and he is later seen apparently signalling to ships out at sea, they begin to wonder what he’s up to. One night they follow Kirby to the Parys Mountain copper mine, which supplies the Navy with copper sheaths to protect its ships’ hulls from the destructive attacks of marine worms and barnacles.

They followed Kirby to the outskirts of the town, where he paused and adjusted his load before setting off into the dusk. Ahead of them rose the outline of Parys Mountain. The barren landscape on either side of the dusty, rutted track was indistinct, no more than vague shapes in the darkness. No lights shone in the buildings at the top of the mountain, and the open cast was a vast, silent pit of darkness. Sulphurous smoke still belched from the kilns, but no men hammered and no rock tumbled. The wind hissed over the lifeless ground, the ropes on the windlasses creaked, and water gurgled.

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