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A. E. W. Mason

Book Overview: 

This well-written novel is a fictional account of a true historical rescue mission. In 1719, at the age of 17, when she was on her way across Europe to marry James Stuart, the Catholic pretender to the British throne, Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska was kidnapped and held prisoner by Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, with the approval of his ally, the Protestant king of England. The king feared that the marriage would produce heirs who might raise a rebellion against the Crown, though Stuart’s own rebellion had failed four years earlier. But Irish soldier of fortune and Stuart's ablest spy, hatches a daring plot to rescue the princess. Filled with spies, romance, palace intrigue and uncertain loyalties, this is the story of how Charles Wogan, once indicted for High Treason in Protestant England, set out to play his part on the international stage. Failure would mean certain death at the hands of Wogan's powerful enemies. But would success bring the result he expects?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .d it fast to the board; with his left he felt for, found, and gripped a mouth already open to cry out. He dropped his hunting knife, caught the intruder round the waist, lifted him onto the bed, and setting a knee upon his chest gagged him with an end of the sheet. The man fought wildly with his free hand, beating the air. Wogan knelt upon that arm with his other knee.

Wogan needed a rope, but since he had none he used the sheets and bound his prisoner to the bed. Then he got up and went to the door. The house was quite silent, quite dark. Wogan shut the door gently—there was no key in the lock—and bending over the bed looked into the face of his assailant. The face was twisted with pain, the whites of the eyes glared horribly, but Wogan could see that the man was his landlord.

He stood up and thought. There was another man who had met him in the village and had guided him to the inn; there was still . . . Read More