Britannia’s Morass– The Dawlish Chronicles September – December 1884 by Antoine Vanner

In Britannia’s Morass, Florence Dawlish remains in Britain when her husband, Captain Nicholas Dawlish, leaves for service in the Sudan. She faces months of worry about him but she’ll cope by immersing herself in welfare work for Royal Navy seamen’s families at Portsmouth. It’ll be a dull but worthy time . . .

. . . until the suicide of a middle-aged widow whom Florence respects. Left wealthy by her husband, this lady died a pauper, beggared within a few months, how and by whom, is not known. The widow’s legal executor isn’t interested and the police have other concerns. Lacking close family, she’ll be soon forgotten.

But not by Florence. Someone was responsible and there must be retribution. And getting justice will demand impersonation, guile, and courage.

Florence doesn’t hesitate to investigate blackmail and fraud in fashionable London. But a single wrong decision in circumstances far removed from that world plunges her into an ever-deepening morass, where loyalty to Britain and to seamen who served with her husband raises terrifying dilemmas

Old friends support her but old allies who offer help may have different, and sinister, agendas. Higher stakes are involved than she had ever anticipated. In a time of shifting international alliances, in which not all the enemies she faces are British, she can be little more than a pawn. And pawns are often sacrificed . . .

Britannia’s Morass plays out against a backdrop of poverty and opulence, of courtroom drama and political assassination, of subterfuge, treachery, and espionage. It runs in parallel with Britannia’s Gamble, which details Florence’s husband Nicholas’s service in the Sudan. And the challenges she faces are no less deadly than his.

This volume includes the bonus short story Britannia’s Collector, which tells of Nicholas Dawlish’s service as a young naval officer in a gunvessel operating off the coast of South America in 1866.

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