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The Halifax Connection [Paperback]

Marie Jakober
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 3 2008 067931492X 978-0679314929
A Canadian counter-intelligence novel with a memorable romance at its heart, The Halifax Connection brings to life 1860s Montreal and Halifax with wit, action and a finale that will leave you breathless.

Canada in 1862 is still a few scattered colonies run by an indifferent British crown. As the American Civil War heats up south of the border, Southern Confederates flood into Montreal and Halifax, among them numerous spies and military officers planning secret missions against the Union – missions they hope will provoke a war between England and the United States, throwing the whole weight of the British Empire into the Confederate camp.

Erryn Shaw is a charming British aristocrat who has been banished to the colonies and now wants nothing more than to run a theatre. Instead, he is convinced to spy for the British and finds himself befriending Southern Rebels to learn of their plans. On a mission to Montreal, he gets wind of a sinister plot–a plan the Confederates believe will win them the war. And he can’t seem to find a way to stop it.

At the same time, he meets and courts an intriguing woman, Sylvie Bowen, who escaped the cotton mills of England seeking a better life. Though she’s drawn to Erryn’s charm and cleverness, she once met with disaster at the hands of the South, and he knows it is only a matter of time until she discovers his ties to the Rebels and turns against him.

Drawing on actual events, The Halifax Connection captures a fascinating and largely forgotten piece of Canada’s history. From the comfortable parlours and ballrooms of the bustling metropolis of Montreal to the back alleyways of the port town of Halifax, to the deadly high seas patrolled by Southern raiders, the novel draws a remarkable picture of Canada in the mid-1800s – its people, its power struggles, its hopes and its dreams.

From the Hardcover edition.

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"What a delight it is to read a new and magnificent book by a consummate writer. Marie Jakober took me into a period of Canadian/American history that I had never explored or thought much about, then kept me awake for hours, night after night, enthralled by a tale of adventure and international intrigue to rival anything ever imagined by Ian Fleming, save that it unfolds mainly in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the era of Sir John A. MacDonald, Lord Palmerston, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. High adventure with high stakes and a wonderful love story. This is great stuff!"
–Jack Whyte, author of the bestselling Dream of Eagles series and the Knights Templar Trilogy

“The spy vs. spy intrigues in Canada during the War between the States was a subject crying out for a novel, and The Halifax Connection does it ample justice. Author Marie Jakober makes a drawing-room battle of wits no less suspenseful than a vicious knife fight or a chase at sea. At the same time as she brings the past to life, Jakober thoughtfully raises the still-current question: Can or should Canada stay out of American wars? The third strand to Jakober’s remarkable achievement is a love story involving secret agent Erryn Shaw and chamber maid Sylvie Bowen–one of the most vivid, plucky and articulate heroines I’ve met.”
–Mel Bradshaw, author of Death in the Age of Steam

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Marie Jakober is the author of seven novels. She has won the Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction, and has twice won the Georges Bugnet Award for Novel at the Alberta Book Awards, most recently for her latest book, Sons of Liberty. She grew up on a small farm in northern Alberta and currently resides in Calgary.

From the Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Piece of History Aug. 9 2008
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
This is a Canadian counter-intelligence novel with a North of the border spin in the 1862 American Civil War.

Numerous Southern Confederate spies and military officers flood into Montreal and Halifax to plan secret missions. Their aim is to provoke war between England and the Union. Officer Erryn Shaw, a British aristocrat one of Monck's spies, is assigned to infiltrate groups of Confederates in order to keep Canada and Britain out of the war. On a mission to Montreal he meets and courts an intriguing woman, Sylvie Bowen, who previously escaped the cotton mills of England seeking a better life. Their relationship is put to the test as they are caught up in a whirlwind of intrigue.

This historical fiction is based on fact although the timing of the events may not be accurate according to the author's notes. It was revealing to find out that a number of prominent Canadians "Grey Tories" aided the Confederacy with illegal and clandestine activities and many others were outspoken supporters of the cause. Although most of the characters are fictional, their activities are real. The American Civil War posed a danger to its Northern neighbour; this necessitated the use of strangely placed "Informers" along the border.

Here are some of the events:

.The intended raid on the Federal prison camp at Johnson's island.
.The capture by the Union of the Princess Royal, the most important blockade seizure of the war.
.The yellow fever plot where contaminated material destined for three American Cities was discovered in trunks coming from Bermuda.
.The deadly high seas raids by the Southern forces.
.The famous hesapeake Affair, in which a hijacked U.S. vessel is retaken inside Sambro Harbour.
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