Mini review: ‘The Crown Agent’ by Stephen O’Rourke with thanks to Sandstone Press

Doctor Mungo Lyon…is the wrong man. That’s exactly why the Crown chose him.


A ship adrift, all hands dead. A lighthouse keeper murdered in the night. The Crown needs man to find the truth. Doctor Mungo Lyon, his reputation tarnished by the Burke & Hare scandal, and forbidden to practise as a surgeon, is the wrong man.
That’s exactly why the Crown chose him.

My thoughts…

This is a journey into the past, from the dramatic events of the opening prologue, we are immersed into a fast-paced adventure, set in 1829; a tale of secrets, spies, codes, threat and murder.

Our protagonist, Doctor Mungo Lyon is adrift after his growing career has taken a fall by association with the Burke and Hare scandal in Scotland. A mysterious meeting with a Lord Advocate leads to a new ‘career’ in espionage, and several pages of fast-paced action for the reader as Lyon is suddenly the focus of some nefarious characters and with an absorbing puzzle to solve.

Once the story is established and develops in earnest, it’s a great historical adventure with all the elements you’d expect. It’s enjoyable, really well-paced and full of contrasting characters. I enjoyed trying to work out who Lyon could trust and who were dangerous. I loved the historical detail, O’Rourke makes it so easy for you to picture the past, from canal travel, to Scottish ports and alienating taverns.

For me, the story concluded in a bit of a rush and the connection between Lyon and Fiona didn’t work for me personally, but you do have to remember this is the first book in a series, so there’s a way to go, it isn’t an issue as I assume the set up between characters and Lyon’s new role will be explored and developed further in their next adventure.

This is a great premise for a new historical espionage series and I’d recommend this book to readers who enjoy intrigue, drama and lots of historical detail.

An energetic historical spy adventure that’s quite a ride, full of peril, menace and pursuit! Recommended.

Out 7th November, 2019

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