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Publisher's Summary

The man who wants everything gets nothing….

July 1755.

War is brewing between England and France. Impressed into the Royal Navy, Lieutenant Merrick, against all odds, advanced through the ranks to become an officer, but he is not a gentleman. A man with a tainted past from a traitorous family, cast down by King George—a stain no man can remove. Merrick’s thrust into the role of captain, when the HMS Boudica is attacked by pirates off the coast of Nova Scotia. On a captured enemy vessel, he discovers a king’s ransom in treasure and a woman chained in the hold from a passenger ship that mysteriously disappeared at sea.

Beautiful, defiant, and hell-bent on revenge, India makes a deal with Merrick to uncover the pirates’ scheme, promising him everything he desires: fortune, glory, and the chance to bring honor back to the McKesson name. Now, they race against time to uncover a plot that links those in the highest ranks of the British aristocracy, to a failed rebellion that is once again trying to topple the monarchy, and to place an old pretender on the throne. But all that glitters is not gold as passions stir and an impossible love blooms, threatening to undermine all Merrick and India have done to protect their king and a country on the brink of war. 

Note: This audiobook contains violence, sexual assault, and graphic depictions of war.

©2020 Tracey Lasak-Myall (P)2022 Tracey Lasak-Myall

What listeners say about Man of War

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  • LAS
  • 01-08-2022

What a wild ride!

Wow - what a roller coaster ride!

I've been a fan of the audiobooks of TJ London's Rebels and Redcoats saga since I first heard The Tory. The narrative and the world that TJ has built, with respect to the history and the era, is amazing. Each of her books is intricately crafted, following multiple dynamic and engaging characters, and this prequel gives so much of the backstory that now I want to go back and experience The Tory and The Traitor again so I can truly appreciate the character development of characters like Celeste and Roger Delancie.

In Man of War, we get the story of Merrick (aka Dane McKesson), and his love, India. They meet when Merrick saves India, and their relationship blooms from there. India also has a deep friendship with Merrick's brother, Stephen. The contrast between Merrick and Stephen and their other brother, James, is so sharp it's jarring, as it should be.

As with the prior books, the voice acting really sets this work of historical fiction apart. It's true voice acting, not simply narrating, and the casting is simply superb. Nicholas Boulton, Kathryn Vinclaire, Tara Langella, Patrick Zeller, John Hartley, Jason Clarke, James Cheatham and Dryw McArthur gave knockout performances. Patrick Zeller and Tara Langella have been amazing this whole series.

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  • KLW
  • 07-07-2022

Best Audio of 2022 - NO CONTEST

I have both read the book, and listened to the audio. The book jumped off the page for me and I was instantly immersed in this story and these characters, I could not put it down.

But the audio, the audio elevated this already intriguing beautiful story to another level. The multicast duet style telling of the story was the perfect delivery. You could just close your eyes and get lost in these voices. If this audio doesn't win an award, I will lose all faith in awards.

The events in this story, while fiction are grounded in history and the characters, they are so authentic. TJ London tells it in such a real and raw way. It's not sanitized, it's not glorified, the horrors of war, the reality of the times, are all told in the most accurate way possible, all while weaving a brilliant tale that connects with the other books in this saga in the most perfect way.

The tale of Dane and Caroline, how they become Merrick and India pulled at my heart so deeply. To become someone new to heal the horrors of their pasts and have a life neither expected was a journey you'll want to listen to over and over.

There is so much in this, mystery, war, love, intrigue, random carnage, and it takes you for a ride. Each character adds a new layer, and the audio adds so much to the entertainment and storytelling.

I don't want to talk too much of the story and give anything away - it's really wonderful to listen to it all unfold and not know where it's going. If you love historical fiction, historical romance, if you loved stories like Outlander, you will fall in love with this book, and this series as a whole.

If you've not read or listened to any other in this saga, that's okay. This is a prequel and you can easily go back and start at the Tory - you'll be surprised at the characters you meet there and how they all intertwine with Man Of War.

If I could give it more than 5 stars I would, and I don't hand out stars lightly. Read the book, listen to the audio. Then just try to recover.

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  • Jocelyne
  • 07-07-2022

Epic Adventure! Outstanding Production!

This is the prequel to the amazing series The Rebels and Redcoats Saga. The story is full of adventures, action, mystery, twists and turns, and romance. The writing is breathtakingly enthralling. The characters are well developed, and very interesting. Lieutenant Merrick and India are fantastic characters. The supporting characters are great! The storyline is grippingly captivating, complex, and unique. The cast of narrators is impressive: Nicholas Boulton, Kathryn Vinclaire, Patrick Zeller, John Hartley, Tara Langella, Jason Clarke, Dryw McArthur, Marnye Young, and James Cheatham. They did an outstanding job with the narration. The audio effects are well done, and they add more entertainment while listening to this audiobook. This is an excellent audio production, and a fantastic team of author/narrators. Impossible to put it down. The series is a masterpiece! T.J. London's writing is brilliant and magnificent. I love everything she writes. She never disappoints! No other words, just applause!

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  • Sophia Rose
  • 27-07-2022

Fabulous Full Cast and Incredible Historical Saga

A colorful, daring, and masterful saga of books set during time of war that divided a nation and families grasps the listener by the throat and eviscerates the emotions. One does not simply read or listen to the Rebels and Redcoats stories, but one is caught up in them. One is glad to not have missed the experience from start to stop.

Imagine my excitement when the author steps back from the John Carlyle and Dellis McKesson thread to go back in the past about twenty years and gives a prequel Age of Sail adventure for Merrick and Caroline. While this is a prequel that published after the series started, it can be enjoyed read first or where it falls in publishing order.

Man of War takes the adventure from land to sea and I was euphoric about that because I love Age of Sail military stories (thank you, CS Forester and Patrick O’Brien). But, the life aboard a sailing vessel was what really had my spirit soaring. It was lushly painted and was visceral in description so I felt Boudicca was another major character.
The opening scenes are a sea battle between British Navy and French pirates. Merrick’s ship loses the captain and he’s promoted. He finds aboard the French ship, a shock- a naked woman who had been tortured and was shackled below decks. He knows she is full of secrets and not broken in spite of her body and what was done. She wants vengeful justice against those who did this to her and were behind it happening. Being given a new lease on life, Caroline takes on a new name, India, and learns as they fight together that Merrick has his own past hardships and can relate to her feelings and her need.

The book is not a short one, but it is so full and epic that one doesn’t feel the time pass. This pair consumed me and the historical setting they moved in along with the Boudicca ship life were as vibrant and fascinating. Just after the Jacobite Rising during Georgian era England and the French and Indian War, powerful people made big moves and the pair, Merrick and India, were caught up in others machinations.

As many know who have followed my past reviews of the series, I get squeamish and have to take breaks when I listen to these stories. The author pulls no punches when it comes to heartbreak, social injustice, physical hardship including rape, torture, and the atrocities of war. Never gratuitous, but another way to bring a clear-eyed historical view rather than a romanticized and sanitized version of events.

This is fiction, but the flaws and foibles as well as strengths are demonstrated so the characters feel like real people. Shades of gray permeate many figures, but oh yes, there are some who are dyed in the wool black hearts. The path through trouble to the other side is never easy and the characters have a hard fight to reach the calm waters. Loved, the epilogue incidentally.

As to the narration team, this was a full cast (including sound effects) program. Many were familiar voices and some new for this story. They didn’t miss a beat and I was well-pleased with the voice actors for each part. I’ve gotten used to full cast editions and feel spoiled by the rich experience and how much more impactive the story becomes. I would look forward to seeing any of them narrating other books and more from this series, of course.

If my gushing on and on didn’t clue one in, I thought this was abso-fab. I need to recover from this one and consider it one of my best books of the year that is barely half over. Historical Fiction lovers need to snatch up this series and most certainly in audio for the best experience.

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  • Northwoman
  • 26-07-2022

A must read author in a genre I usually avoid

This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart


Review copy was received from Publicity team. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I was surprised to learn there would be an audio version of the new addition to the Rebels & Redcoats Saga . Man of War is a prequel to the series. I truly wish I had read the blurb before reading, so I would know the setting was about 20 years before The Tory which happens right around 1776. I kept trying to figure out how this story fit in and especially characters with the same names to ones I have read in The Tory and The Traitor.

I don't read a lot of historical fiction because then I always want to know what really happened. I do seem to enjoy settings during the Revolutionary or Civil War though. Of course, there are exceptions to this generalization. The typical white male property owners having the power and doing some truly horrible things is very true here. I was in great suspense throughout worrying about characters I cared about being hurt, most likely brutally hurt.

The plot underlying the romance is the supporters of a previous King, using theft and debauchery to raise money to defeat the current King and try to reinstate the previous one. So when the current King, sends his favorite consort's daughter, to America to marry with a large dowry, the ship and dowry are confiscated. She is raped and tortured to try to get her to sign papers saying they are already married so they can kill her and take the money.

The thieves run into an English navel warship which captures them and saves her. She gives her name as India. The captain of the ship is killed, with the new captain being Merrick. The King took all the titles, land and money from his family when Merrick was a teen because his older brother, James, was one of those plotting to go back to the former King. Merrick and his other brother, Stephen, turned in James, but the whole family was punished. Merrick was forced into service in the navy.

India and Merrick have both been treated savagely but Merrick has had time to grow and adjust to his circumstances, worked hard and risen within the naval hierarchy. India's changes have just happened. Merrick recognizes her strength and they had a kindred spirit in survival. They work together to figure out who and why she was hurt.

Merrick keeps trying to protect India, and she wants to be involved in the discovery of the villains. It IS very dangerous and India really takes some terrible chances. Even once the villains are known, evidence must be found and the villains captured. In spite of the villains mostly getting what they deserve, some of them escape and some of the "good guys" die, and both Merrick and India suffer fallout from the whole mess. I was grateful to see their happiness in the end.

Narration:
The large cast did a great job with the narration. Many of the narrators were new to me, but some are in the series going forward. I appreciated the distinct voices for many characters which made it easy to understand what was happening. We primarily have Dane and Caroline's point of view. The voices seem appropriate for the different regions and accents. I was able to listen at my normal 1.5x speed.

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  • Ttly Addicted 2 Reading
  • 24-07-2022

Amazing

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, because it pains me to read about the poor treatment meted out to women during this time. However, now and then I come across one that calls to me. I read several glowing reviews for the previous books in the series and had plans to pick them up. When I learnt that 🎧︎Man of War was the prequel to the series, I thought, what better place to start? I am so glad I gave it a chance as 🎧︎Man of War by T. J. London more than delivered. Steeped in history, 🎧︎Man of War served up action, adventure, suspense, intrigue and romance. 

This was my first experience with London’ s work.  Despite this being a long book, at almost 23 hours’ worth of listening, there was never a dull moment. From the first chapter, the story consumed me with its multi-faceted and complex characters, intriguing plot and stellar narration.

I won’t go into much detail as it’s my belief that 🎧︎Man of War is a story that one should go into blindly. I will mention, however, that the main characters, (Merrick and India), won my heart. From their heartbreaking pasts to their current struggles, one could not help but feel empathy for them. Their resilience, determination and chemistry shined throughout the story. Merrick’s need to restore his family’s honor, India’s desire for revenge against the persons responsible for the loss of her virtue, and their romance drove the story. The secondary characters, some of whom were likeable and some not so much, brought their own blend of intrigue to the story.

🎧︎Man of War is filled with excitement from start to finish. This is one of those stories where the suspense has your heart jumping in your throat. It will keep you on your toes while you hope nothing happens to your favourite characters. The story was far from predictable and had me guessing at the outcome. This may have been a fictional story, but London’s vivid descriptions, attention to detail and weaving in of historical events gave the story an authentic feel. 

I read and listened to 🎧︎Man of War, and the narration blew it out of the water. Absolute perfection. The sound effects gave the story a natural feel. This combined with the voices of the narrators made the narration absolute perfection.

A story of delightful proportions, 🎧︎Man of War will take you on a journey filled with adventure on the high seas, political intrigue, revenge and romance. If you enjoy historical fiction this book is not to be missed.

"There's no winning for a woman. Without her virtue, she's nothing, but when it's stolen from her, she is even less-even in death."

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  • Carla the Reader
  • 19-07-2022

Historical Fiction at its best, great cast

I enjoy historical fiction and it is nice to learn about various times besides WW2, which is the subject of many of the books I read. The Rebels and Redcoats Saga is centered around The American Revolution, and Man of War is the prequel,

Another reviewer uses the word "Passion" to describe this story and it is very fitting. There is a lot of passion between India and Merrick, India is passionate to get revenge and the crew of the Boudica is passionate about catching the pirates. There are a lot of characters in this story, so it is fitting there is a full cast narrating this story. The treatment of women is very true to the period. They are either marriageable or they are used as whores. There are some scenes that might make some people uncomfortable, but they are not long. I really liked the character of Caroline/India. She is young but learns from what she has gone through. She is brave, sometimes foolish rushing in, smart, a quick learner and wants to be able to take care of herself. She doesn't want to depend on a man and feels dirty and tainted, not good enough for anyone anymore. Merrick is also headstrong, protective, emotional, persistent and brave. He is trying to clear his family name, and finds out that the plot against the king is being backed by his oldest brother, who he does not speak to. Can he foil the plot of the Jacobites, help India get revenge, clear his family name and Captain his own ship, something he really wants to do. Secondary characters are many that we met in The Tory and The Traitor, so it was interesting to see where and how they started on the paths they take in the future.

This is a long audiobook at almost 23 hours, but it went by quickly as there was so much action and adventure. The ensemble cast of narrators were excellent giving voice to the individual characters. With accents, gender, and age, each character was easily identified. I definitely recommend this audiobook to those who enjoy history, especially American History, and enjoy audiobooks as well.

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  • Chris Cox
  • 14-07-2022

Amazing story! Gripping performance!

TJ London takes us on a wild and emotional ride in this prequel of the Rebels and Redcoats Saga. In this book, we learn the backstory of the McKesson Brothers. Mostly surrounding Dane aka Merrick and his lady love, Miss India aka Caroline. He saves her and they end up having a bit of a partnership through the beginning of the book, which then evolves into more. India then forms a strong friendship with Stephen McKesson, who is Dane's brother as well as the doctor on the ship. I really enjoyed Stephen and Dane's relationship, but sad that things went so horribly with their brother James. I loved seeing characters from the other books and their lives in this prequel, like Celeste and Roger DeLancie.
I was completely swept away into the story by TJs fantastic storytelling, which combined with every voice actor in this book made this even more epic. I felt every bit of terror, fear, love, sweetness, humor and betrayal from the way Nicholas Boulton, Kathryn Vinclaire, Tara Langella, Patrick Zeller, John Hartley, Jason Clarke, James Cheatham and Dryw McArthur performed each role and they conveyed every feeling TJ wrote about.
The only thing in this entire book I didn't like was the sound effects. I'm not a fan of sound effects in audiobooks unless they are meant to be an audio play. This is not that. They also weren't very consistent throughout. But from listening to the whole book, the voice actors get every point and feeling across without needing sound effects, but don't let that keep you from listening to this audiobook because it truly is worth every minute.

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  • kimbacaffeinate
  • 12-07-2022

Brilliant & Masterful

The Rebels & Redcoats Saga has quickly become a favorite, so much so that I also grabbed physical copies. London knows how to draw a listener/reader into her world as she delivers rich history with flawed characters. You'll come to love, loathe, befriend, and want to spend time with them. The story is filled with suspense, romance and history in all of its many facets, from humor to darkness. I cannot wait for the next audiobook in this saga.

I loved India/Caroline and our Captain Merrick. London peeled back their layers and secrets and I was truly captivated. I loved seeing characters I've met and learning their backstories.

The world-building & historical accuracy of this story is exceptional, but it's the characters themselves who bring these stories to life and hold me captive.

The narration was absolutely brilliant from newcomers to returning cast members. London's dedication to her characters and their voice shows with each narrator. They voiced each character, allowing listeners to feel their emotions, commitment, fears, and aided in setting the tone the author set.

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  • Vida._.Loca
  • 12-07-2022

Absolutely Brilliant!!!

TJ London has a way of writing a story that captures and holds my interest from the very beginning. There's so much action, intrigue, passion, and suspense weaved through the lives of our main characters and those they interact with on the ship. I couldn't wait to learn how it turned out for Merrick and India. This story is absolutely brilliant!

Our narrators are sublime perfection and breathe life into the characters they portray. They deliver a story that you can see the scenes played out in your mind.

Overall, I loved this story and highly recommend the entire series.

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  • Alex
  • 31-07-2022

Underwhelmed and unconvinced!

I was so looking forward to reading this book but man, was it long and slooooow!

I loved the descriptions of the sea and the time spent on the ship. I felt for Merrick and his mal de mere and became involved with all his men at sea. I liked Merrick but I did get sick of how hard done by his was. Be a man my son!

I didn't like Caroline, although felt sorry for all that had  befallen her.  I just didn't believe that she could suddenly become this pigheaded woman and there is no way that a Captain of a warship would have put up with her antics, even if she was in love with him! This was just too far fetched!  All the nonsense of her dressing up as a man. Sorry. I don't buy it!   To cap it all we had to have a mention of the slave trade and how guilty they felt. Give me a break!

Then the ending was far too neat and actually unfinished. What happened to Carlisle shipping? Stephen? James? How would he have become a duke with Stephen alive?

Finally, so far as narration was concerned, Nicholas Boulton was as excellent as ever but I didn't like Caroline's voice and some of the male characters' voices were bizarre.

So in summary,  I definitely won't be continuing with the series.

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