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J. G. Harlond

Authors on Characters

Penmore Press authors offer a rich and entertaining array of short reflections on characters and how they were created in the novels.  READ

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J.G. Harlond

Secret Agents, Skulduggery, and Cross-Continental Romance — J.G. Harlond (Jane) grew up near the sea in the South West of England. She studied in Britain and the United States, obtaining a BA (Hons) in Cultural Studies, an MA in Social and Political Thought, and teaching qualifications. For many years, Jane worked in European international schools and wrote school textbook material. In 2010, she gave up an enjoyable, safe, and successful job to also write fiction.

Jane’s fascination with historical novels began while still at school, when she would read anything by Jean Plaidy or Daphne Du Maurier instead of doing her homework. Later, she moved on to a much wider range of books, but particularly liked Dorothy Dunnett, John Le Carré, and Mary Wesley: three very different authors whose well-chosen prose weaves intrigue and sharp descriptive detail into compelling stories. What interests her most about fiction is the manner in which a reader can experience the universal emotions of love, hate, jealousy, and greed through invented narrative, and the way it demonstrates how real and fictitious characters’ life choices affect and are affected by real events and other people’s actions. Jane’s novels also consider the influence of genetic inheritance, showing how family traits, physical appearance, and personality can follow through or skip and re-emerge in different generations.

When she’s not writing, Jane is busy looking after an aging but spirited horse, trying to keep a small but demanding garden in order, and doing her best to stay up to date with what her family is doing in various parts of the world. Travel, it seems, is something of a Harlond family trait.

Enjoy J.G.’s free Discovering Diamonds short story.

By Force of Circumstance by J.G. Harlond

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By Force of Circumstance

Book 3 of The Chosen Man trilogy. LUDO DA PORTOVENERE, ONE TIME CORSAIR, SOMETIME MERCHANT, SECRET AGENT OF MONARCHS, SERVANT OF NONE. “For sale: the English Crown Jewels” Ludo da Portovenere, now a settled merchant is thrust back into his former profiteering ways when the Queen of England commissions him to sell priceless gems to raise money for the Royalist cause during the Civil War. Will Ludo keep, or sell on the English Crown Jewels? There are many who would like to prevent him from doing either by removing him permanently from the stage. Ludo plans to make a very significant profit – mostly for himself – but these plans are set awry when Alina, Baroness Metherall, becomes involved. Meanwhile, Marcos Alonso Almendro now a successful merchant in Plymouth is charged with acquiring the jewels to prevent them being sold at all. What none of them know is that the evil-minded Vatican agent Rogelio, who is pursuing a personal vendetta against Ludo, has been commissioned to acquire the very same jewels by the Vatican. Events move into perilous territory as it comes time for old scores to be settled, one way or the other. Caught up in the violence of conflicts not of their own choosing, Ludo, Alina and Marcos have to decide where their loyalties lie, where they want to be, and ultimately, with whom.

A Turning Wind by J.G. Harlond

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A Turning Wind

Book 2 of The Chosen Man trilogy. From the trading colony of Goa to the royal courts of England and Spain, Ludo da Portovenere completes difficult and dangerous secret commissions on his own terms and for his own reasons. But, as these tasks bring him closer to success, Ludo is forced to confront dangerous secrets of his own. While Ludo pursues a delicate mission for the English queen in the Spanish royal court, Alina, Baroness Metherall, faces new challenges and dangers as she comes to terms with what it means to be married to one person and love another. Ultimately, Ludo and Alina must decide who they really are, and to what extent their shared past should influence their future.

“Harlond’s brilliantly realized portrait of the sea-trade in 17th century is a gem…Ludo is a great character with wit, intelligence and daring. Exploiting his position as an envoy between Charles I and the Spanish court results in a seafaring novel of danger and double-dealing. Highly recommended.” Deborah Swift, author of Pleasing Mr Pepys “Ms. Harlond details a credible, intricate world of deals and alliances, threats and opportunities, uncertainty and trust, in which her hero, the wily Genoese merchant Ludo da Portovenere, must tread with extreme caution. Let’s hear yet more of him!” — Antoine Vanner, author of the Dawlish Chronicles series

The Chosen Man by J.G. Harlond

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The Chosen Man

Book 1 of The Chosen Man trilogy. Rome 1635. As Flanders braces for another long year of war, a Spanish count presents the Vatican with a means of disrupting the Dutch rebels’ booming economy. His plan is brilliant. They just need the right man to implement it. Enter Ludovico da Portovenere, a charismatic spice and silk merchant. Intrigued by the Vatican’s proposal—and hungry for profit—Ludo sets off for Amsterdam. His voyage is interrupted, first by a timid English priest with a message from Rome, then by a storm, then by a pirate raid. The storm brings him a quick-witted young admirer he uses as a spy. The pirate raid brings him a girl, Alina, who won’t go home. Each development has significant consequences for Ludo and even greater ones for the people he has involved in his plans.

“J. G. Harlond is a real find. The Chosen Man is a novel with everything going for it: a cracking story centered on an intriguing and charismatic hero … the author wants to pull you in and entertain you. And succeeds triumphantly. I’m keeping my fingers crossed there will be more.” — Sarah Harrison (The Flowers of the Field trilogy)

“A compelling adventure with humour and serious implications, filled with believable and complex characters. A Vatican plot to manipulate the political landscape of Europe . . . A story with lessons for the modern world.” — Ann Swinfen, author of the Christoval Alvarez Series, Flood and This Rough Ocean

“The mark of a good book is the sense of loss you feel when you reach the end. I finished The Chosen Man yesterday and I’m still thinking about the characters today! I hope the author does a sequel. The characters are believable, and the plots wound together faultlessly. I was fascinated to learn more about Tulip Mania and the descriptions of the house and staff at Crimphele in Cornwall were perfect. This book would make a very good film. A first class read.” — Ricky Leach, journalist and reporter for SUR in English, Spain

“Fun and full of energy, black comedy abounds. The slow-burning romance between Ludo the loveable rogue, and Alina, the feisty Spanish girl stranded in a foreign country, adds to the enjoyment. An entertaining read.” — Jean Gill author of Song at Dawn series, winner of the Global ebooks award for best Historical Fiction

“The Chosen Man’ is an ambitious book which takes 17th century characters – from four different European countries – and successfully weaves their lives into a tapestry of political and religious intrigue and drama. (It) has everything: shipwrecks; kidnap; piracy and romance – all set against the well-researched background of the first economic bubble in history. Harlond brilliantly evokes both the buzzing commercial excitement and culture of the Dutch capital and the gentle beauty and slow rhythm of a remote Cornish baronial estate. Yet menace lurks beneath the surface even in this rural idyll. I cared deeply about all the characters and the sinister undertones of both locations were well-sustained, ensuring I came back to the book quickly to check they all survived. Harlond is also ambitious in the theme of romance. Never mind a love-triangle, this was a love quartet. Alina’s dilemma kept us on our toes right until the last page. Which one of those three distinctive male characters will the independent Alina choose? Her gentle aristocratic, yet sickly husband? Marco, the attractive self-made fellow Spaniard who has always loved her? Or Ludo the Italian pirate; Ludo bad-boy who lives by his wits, manipulates the Dutch and turns the European balance of power on its head, while side-stepping assassination attempts. A satisfying ending which demands a sequel.” — Karen Charlton best-selling author of the Detective Lavender series

Local Resistance by J.G. Harlond

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Local Resistance

On a stormy night in March 1941, Maisie Rose Hawkins leaves her drunk husband, Stan, out in the rain—and he disappears. Detective Sergeant Bob Robbins and young PC Laurie Oliver are called out to investigate and discover that Stan’s small fishing boat is gone, the rope sawn through. As Bob searches for answers, it becomes apparent that in this small Cornish village where everyone knows everything about everybody, nobody quite knows the truth. Beneath the surface of village life, a fierce battle is being waged against wartime deprivations. Shopkeepers quietly evade rationing restrictions. Food inspector Archibald Bantry, charged with enforcing those restrictions, dies in a suspicious car crash. Various leads connect a sea cave full of smuggled black-market goods to the missing Stan Hawkins. And what seems like the work of local malcontents becomes more complex and dangerous when Bob stumbles on the truth in a disused copper mine, where a much deadlier affair is underway.

The Empress Emerald by J.G. Harlond

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The Empress Emerald

Abandoned as a child in a Bombay orphanage, Leo Kazan’s life takes an unanticipated turn when he becomes the protégé of Sir Lionel Pinecoffin, the city’s District Political Officer in Bombay. Under Pinecoffin’s tutelage, the boy, adept at learning languages and theft, is trained as a spy and becomes immersed in international espionage, revolutionary politics, and diamond smuggling. In 1918, during a visit to London, he has a brief but memorable affair with a young English woman Davina Dymond in London before leaving for Russia. Separated, their lives take different turns. As he matures Leo begins to question his family history, seeking to uncover the truth about his parents. A pregnant Davina is married off and exiled to Spain, where she gives birth to Leo’s daughter. They are fated to meet again in Gibraltar in 1936, their love rekindled. But a new war plunges Europe into crisis, the Spanish Civil War tearing them apart, leaving, Leo and Davina in a fight to reclaim their lives and their love amid the violent storms of war.

“In epic and enthralling novel of love and separation, betrayal and treachery, which sweeps the reader across continents from India and Russia to Spain and England. Individual lives are torn apart by the flood of war and political manipulation, yet even as they struggle in that drowning tide, Leo and Davina discover their own identities and place of belonging. Cinematic, with a rich tapestry of colour and characters.” — Karen Maitland, Best-selling author and winner of Prix d’or for Best International Noir Novel, The Gallows Curse

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