Book Review | The Barrister and the Letter of Marque

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Today’s book review features

The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson.

Book Blurb

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter–the sole proof his actions were legal–has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.

From Goodreads

Author Information

Todd M. Johnson has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years. Todd’s passion for writing blends well with his legal career, and his novels are drawn closely from his personal experiences as a trial lawyer.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, Todd taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law and has served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

Todd lives outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Catherine. They have two children, Ian and Elizabeth.

From Author Website

Danielle’s Review

Mystery, intrigue, and pirates? The Barrister and the Letter of Marque drew me like a kid to a candy shop. Throw in that it had tones of Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, two of my favorite classical authors, and I was hooked. It had less romance than I usually prefer, but the mystery more than made up for that.

Lady Jameson has a problem, her cousin, captain of the Padget a worse one. Without someone to champion the injustices being done, the captain would lose his life and Lady Jameson would lose her home and likely her ailing father as well. But Barrister William Snopes refuses to work with the upper class, until he sees for himself how desperate a situation Lady Jameson and her family are in. And wow is it an unjust situation! It got my ire up so that I felt like begging William to get going on the case.

The story revolved mostly around William and his partners as they untangled the web that threaten to destroy Lady Jameson and her family, something William made a career fighting against.

I definitely recommend reading this story, especially if you’re a fan of Doyle and Dickens.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.

Retail Links

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