I’ve been living with this character for 35 years, ever since the days of my Ph.D research on eighteenth-century legal matters. The real John Eagle (1723-1787) was a very different proposition – based in Horton, near Bradford, not Horsforth near Leeds; much more of a bread-and-butter conveyancing man than outright criminal lawyer facing danger on a regular basis. He was a bit of a fuddy-duddy I expect, keeping his head down but his fingers in many pies – those baked by the local gentry who paid his bills. My John Eagle is young and dynamic, but his nature is flawed and he’s seriously lacking in funds. Hence his dependency upon a volatile patron, the tunnel-visioned baronet and JP, Sir Walter Stanhope, who resents John’s choice of household, not least his black clerk.
Read the novel and let me know what you think.