Monday, July 5, 2010
SPIES DURING THE NAPOLEONIC WARS
I love writing Regencies about spies and now have three novellas where spies make an appearance. But the spies during the Napoleonic era were not like James Bond or those in contemporary literature. They were informers and intelligence gathers who worked for Wellington and were not always treated well.
In my book, LOVE AND WAR, my hero, Gyles Devereaux, the Earl of Halcrow is a member of the Hussar Regiment. His spymaster is George Scovell. Scovell was the chief codebreaker for the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War of 1808-1814.
Under Wellington’s command, codebreaking and intelligence gathering played an important role in British victories such as Oporto (1809), Salamanca (1812) and Vittoria (1813).
Scovell, a gifted linguist, developed a system of military communications and intelligence gathering for the British that intercepted French letters and dispatches to and from the battlefield, and cracked their code.
It is to Scovell that Lady Selena turns when her mysterious husband, Lord Gyles disappears again. And, unwittingly, she places him in great danger.
For anyone interested in learning more about spies and spymasters, I have a much more detailed blog on http://www.maggiandersen.blogspot.com
I write sensual historical romance where heroes meet their match in feisty heroines. Add a dash of adventure, a murder or two, a mystery or intrigue. What better time to set them than the Georgian, Regency and the late Victorian period on the brink of the 20th Century. The Regency was a time of both opulence and abject poverty. Of economic and social change: the Napoleonic wars, the power struggle for the Americas, and the Industrial revolution when people began to desert the country for the cities. Celebrity Lord Byron wrote dark romantic poetry, and Beau Brummell defined and shaped fashion into a period of simplistic elegance. Men abandoned brocades and lace for linen trousers, overcoats with breeches and boots, and women abandoned corsets for high wasted, thin gauzy dresses. A spend-thrift aesthete known for his scandalous affairs, George IV, the Prince of Wales was made Regent in 1811 after his father was declared too mad to rein. Prinny presided over the elegant society of the ton, the so called Upper Ten Thousand, who defined themselves by an incredibly formal etiquette code which set them apart from the rising middle class.