The Barrister & the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson

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Book Review of The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson

Have you ever heard of a barrister? I hadn’t until I read this book. A barrister is (according to my Merriam-Webster app) “a counsel admitted to plead at the bar and undertake the public trial of causes in an English superior court.” In other words, a barrister is an attorney. And, you ask, what is a letter of marque? According to, a letter of marque is “the name given to the commission issued by a belligerent state to a private shipowner authorizing him to employ his vessel as a ship of war. A ship so used is termed a privateer.” Now that we have the terminology figured out, check out my review of The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson.


“As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter—-the sole proof his actions were legal—has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.”

My Book Review:

I love a good mystery! I also love a good law-thriller. Is that even a genre? Haha! You know, like The Pelican Brief by John Grisham. I also love a good historical fiction novel! Yes, this book has it all! It’s a historical/law-thriller/mystery book! I loved it!

To top it off, the book is very well written. I liked Todd M. Johnson’s writing style. He adds just enough description to make you feel like you’re standing in the pouring rain on an English street, but not enough to make you notice that it’s there. He uses great vocabulary, and his words flow well. The dialogues between characters are well written and flow seamlessly together.

Johnson’s character development brings the characters to life. Each character has his or her unique voice, individual characteristics, along with strengths and weaknesses. William comes across as strong, daring, caring, intelligent, and as a risk-taker. Lady Jameson appears strong, brave, determined, intelligent, and compassionate. She also has a bit of a wild side. Edmund and Obadiah are both loyal helpers, but each has his own way of helping William. Edmund is more of a wild card while Obadiah seems more like a stabilizer.

I loved the mystery, suspense, action, and depth of this book. The historical aspect added another layer to the book, and I loved it. I learned a lot about barristers and letters of marque, that’s for sure! The Barrister and the Letter of the Marque is a great read and I highly recommend it!


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Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy” in this book. There is some minor violence. A character is shot.)

Age Recommendation: YA+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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