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The Fever of Conquest (Captain Sedition Book 3)

by K. C. Fusaro

Rating: *****

Fusaro brings the reader more of Joethan Wolfe’s derring-do and heroic exploits in this third outing* for the man also known as Captain Sedition. This time Wolfe’s role is that of envoy and observer, charged with discovering what exactly is delaying the American invasion of Canada and reporting back to General Washington.  But when has Joethan Wolfe ever been a mere bystander to action and intrigue?...

The Fever of Conquest opens in wonderfully measured and elegant style as Benjamin Franklin gives a recital on his glass armonica in the Fall of 1775. Immediately the reader is conveyed back to the world of Joethan and the Doctor. The strength and depth of their dynamic is, once again, instantly apparent as is the subtle psychological gamesmanship between the two men.

However, the gentle teasing and beautifully written, captivating domestic beginning of The Fever of Conquest belies that this becomes possibly the most planned, strategic, and militaristic of Wolfe’s adventures thus far. 

Joethan has matured and his convincing character trajectory from Book 2 continues. There is an innate and easy confidence in the man that never veers into arrogance. This comes from age, experience, and settled reassurance with his soulmate, Pru. 

He is still on the wanted list and knows to be vigilant.  Nonetheless, he is also now aware of how valuable he is to many people and this usefulness he employs to his and his comrades' advantage.

The same attributes can be applied to Fusaro’s narrative. Always supremely accomplished, there is a real sense of the author’s self-assurance in The Fever of Conquest which mirrors Wolfe’s development and similarly never becomes complacent.

Fusaro showcases an astonishing knowledge of the military campaigns of the age, their logistics, particulars, and conspiracies together with the geographical maneuvers. It never becomes dense or loses focus and is woven within a clever and twisting fictional plot that he controls superbly and which is liberally sprinkled with the usual impressive and evocative period detail.

The fundamental framework of the two previous novels is here; Wolfe essentially undertaking an odyssey of a journey involving various side-missions, hustles, and detours. Make no mistake, however, this is not Captain Sedition by numbers but a staggeringly imaginative and immersive adventure. Personally, this was the strongest of the three novels.

Fusaro always populates Wolfe’s tales with a diverse collection of amusing, engaging, and deeply authentic individuals, The Fever of Conquest is no different. Colonel Louis Cook is a standout together with Madame Rachel Franks. Mention must also be made how richly he brings to life the non-fictional personalities such as Washington and Montgomery.

Fusaro does not just introduce the new fictional characters but builds a unique picture and absorbing backstory around each one. He brings their motivations, desires, fears, cultural backgrounds, and customs to life. Not only do they step from the page but their depiction is thought-provoking and educational.

Madame Franks initially provides a sub-plot for Wolfe that becomes relatively central and culminates in a particularly swashbuckling fight between two sloops, the Angelique and the Josephina.  Enigmatic, the reader is unsure exactly how reliable Madame Franks is and the trek she makes with Wolfe and Co., to Montreal consequently makes for compelling reading.  

Despite the underlying commentary on the brutal futility of war, the narrative is peppered with lovely little quips and humorous asides, together with some poignant insights into the frailty and resilience of the human condition that gives pause for thought.

Entertaining, exhilarating, and expertly written, The Fever of Conquest is another first-rate novel in the Captain Sedition series from K.C. Fusaro. Highly recommended.

*Click here for my review of The Wages of Glory (Captain Sedition Book 2)

*Click here for my review of The Death of the Age of Reason (Captain Sedition Book 1)

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