Emperor of Dust, by Jonathan Spencer

Leah Blundell

The latest in the Hazzard series is action-packed.
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Jonathan Spencer has written an action-packed and emotional third instalment in the William John Hazzard series. Emperor of Dust follows Hazzard on a daring new adventure into the sands of North Africa and the Middle East.

The novel opens in Egypt, 1798. Since the Battle of the Nile and the tragic losses he faced, Hazzard is only motivated by revenge. He enlists his marines along with Bedouin allies in his quest to find Citizen Derrien and release the anger caused by grief on his enemies.

But his journey is not as simple as it seems. Hazzard and the crew are faced with obstacles much more lethal than the desert sands have to offer. A deadly plague outbreak, the beginnings of a major revolt in Cairo, and Admiralty Intelligence work together to ensure that the mission seems ultimately impossible. When the riots become explosive, Hazzard worries that he may have lost his chance for vengeance.

In a showdown not to be forgotten, Hazzard rides into battle against the French as Napoleon begins his bloody crusade in Syria and the Holy Land. Napoleon and his army have been trapped in Egypt since the French government abandoned them. Now, Bonaparte accepts all challenges of attack as he has set his sights on becoming the new Emperor of the East.

My reading experience of this book was a relatively short one. This is because I found myself flying through the pages. Not unlike an Indiana Jones kind of adventure, Spencer has written a thrilling and immersive novel that dives deep into Napoleon’s occupation of Egypt. He has written characters that offer an interesting insight into a brotherhood. The dynamics of Hazzard and his men brought such a strong emotional aspect to the novel that made it all the more enjoyable.

As well as being a fun adventure, the book explores love, grief, war, and purpose. It is able to include characters that are complex and developed because of this. Spencer writes with a confidence and has managed to create entertaining battle scenes that are not overly dramatic, and instead are realistic and convincing. Featuring the stunning setting of Egypt, Emperor of Dust draws some incredible imagery into the reader’s mind. Despite not having read the first two books in the series, Spencer has made this novel accessible as a standalone novel, as I was still able to pick up and enjoy the story – no mean feat, and it is a series I am excited to continue reading.

Emperor of Dustby Jonathan Spencer is published by Canelo and available now.