by K.C. Fusaro
Set in the late eighteenth century, Captain Sedition: The Death of the Age of Reason introduces the reader to London courier Joethan Wolfe. When he receives news that his estranged father has been arrested for smuggling in America, Joethan knows he has to discover the truth and sets sail. However, the America he finds as a man is a very different country from the land he left as a boy…
Captain Sedition is a beautifully involving historical fiction and Fusaro seems to write from within the age rather than about it. It’s a staggeringly good reconstruction of an era which ensures the reader feels deeply acquainted with the period, characters, and action.
The book is littered with the most wonderful historical details and foibles of language which never become stagey or overshadow an excellent narrative that is intelligently constructed to provide many a twist, turn, and red herring. Notwithstanding, the plot never veers from its ultimate goal or becomes unduly complex, maintaining momentum and enjoyability throughout.
Complementing the story is a cast of richly observed and brilliantly depicted characters that veer from the grotesque to the humorous, but are never overdone or superfluous. Elijah Cummins was a particularly standout in a field of rustically convincing vignettes which are a joy to read, and enhanced by the individual authenticity of their dialogue.
However, the star of the novel is undoubtedly Joethan. Suave, sophisticated but with hints of emotional vulnerability that immediately endear him to the reader. He is immensely likeable and attractively enigmatic as he finds himself unwittingly involved in various conspiracies and colourful intrigues, all of which he navigates with a touch of urbane amusement.
From the excellent opening, Fusaro’s prose is reassuringly good. He is an incredibly accomplished and naturally clever author who writes with consummate verve and enthusiasm. He never loses sight of the story while ensuring it demonstrates his range. Personally, I was heavily reminded of Dickens albeit with sharper focus.
Further, Fusaro has managed to weave a thread of subtle, playful humour through the novel guaranteeing that content and context never become too dense or dry. It’s a fairly long novel but paced with utmost consideration and fluidity making it a book in which to fully immerse yourself.
Sumptuous, sweeping, and vividly entertaining; Captain Sedition: The Death of the Age of Reason is absolutely first-class, and a must-read treat for fans of historical fiction.