Talk about a big, bubbling stewpot of a book! This first-in-a-series begins in a Vancouver, British Columbia, saloon in 1899, where two old friends--both failed Klondike gold prospectors--reunite after several years apart. John Lansdowne Granville, the fourth son of an English baron, is so down on his luck that he's skeletal; Sam Scott has fared better. Concerned about his hungry friend, Scott hires Granville to guard a "silk train" taking millions of dollars worth of raw Oriental silk from the Vancouver docks to New York City.
Alas, a couple of murders, beatings, knifings, coshings, and a kidnapping get in the way. So do several hookers, orphans, a medium, a fan dancer, railroad thugs, denizens of Chinatown's opium dens...the list of felons and miscreants in this delicious book goes on.
Rowse, a first-time novelist, has delivered a wild ride through a colorful, relatively unknown period in North American history, and she's populated it with a host of unforgettable characters. Her protagonist, the Honorable Granville, makes an appealing leading man, and his lady love, the liberated Emily Turner, provides the perfect romantic coda to this rip-roaring adventure.