Politics push the plot in suspenseful seafaring adventure

The Assassin’s Honor, by Robert N. Macomber. Pineapple Press. 392 pages. Hardcover $26.95.

One of the great feelings that comes over me when I settle into a new Honor Series novel by Mr. Macomber is the sense that I’m in such capable and caring hands. It’s like having an insurance policy against disappointments. And there are none in the twelfth installment of this unique and durable series. The action is set in December of 1892. Commander Peter Wake, after 29 years in the navy that includes 10 years in the Office of Naval Intelligence with assignments worldwide, is finally in charge of his own ship – a new cruiser, “Bennington,” of the latest design. Assassin's_Maple cover

As one might expect, he is regularly in the company of his career-long aide, Boatswain Sean Rork, an estimable ruffian from Ireland. Theirs is a very special relationship, a deep friendship that goes far beyond the conventions of officer and subordinate.

If this new post sounds like settling down, it isn’t quite that. However, there is a romance brewing. If it develops as both parties hope, Wake could once again be a married man. The quick-start relationship with a beautiful Spanish woman of breeding and intelligence is a major attraction for the readers and for Peter Wake, especially since she takes a liberal stance toward Cuba’s future that allies her with her admirer. Finding the time to spend with her is as great a problem as meeting the challenges of his duties.

The action moves between Key West and Tampa, with interludes along the Caribbean coast of Mexico, in Jamaica, and – in part through flashbacks that sketch his first encounter with Maria Ana Maura y Abad – in Washington D.C.

The main action is generated by a scheme to distract and mislead Wake. Fooled by clues that have been planted to mislead him, Wake convinces his superior, Admiral Walker, to send him to and beyond Cozumel to thwart an attempt by someone aboard the German “Gneisenau” to assassinate a Mayan rebel. The Germans, wishing to establish a naval station to protect their Mexican and other interests, can’t risk a government overthrow or instability.

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It turns out that Wake had succumbed to manipulated evidence designed to keep him occupied while an assassin was sent to Tampa (actually Yvor City) to do away with Wake’s good friend, the famed author and Cuban patriot José Martí. Wake’s old enemies from previous adventures, Germany and Spain, are working against him. The conflicts are both national and personal. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the September 23 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the September 24 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Punta Gorda / Port Charlotte editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Assassin’s Honor

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