burke_james_bk_batb burke_james_bk_bitlos burke_james_bk_bii burke_james_bk_batpa burke_james_bk_bitp
Full Name: James Burke
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Tom Williams
Time Span: 2014 - 2022


James Burke is an agent with British Intelligence.

The time period is the late 1700's through early 1800's, a time when England was going through a tremendous growth period, even though it had recently lost the American colonies, and a time when her historical rivals, France and Spain, were undergoing tremendous change themselves.

When we first meet Burke, he is a lieutenant in His Majesty King Louis of France's Army, leading a company of infantry on the steaming island of Haiti. He had wanted to be something quite different for he had had dreams of serving in the British Army long enough to achieve some semblance of "gentleman" status to make a better life for himself. Life had not worked out that way.

"He had abandoned Ireland to find a place in Society. He had joined the Regiment of Dillon because there he could take his place in the officers' mess without the fortune needed to buy a commission in a British regiment. In time, he hoped to progress to the point where he might number an earl amongst his acquaintances. Perhaps even a duke. But he was never going to be a person of that much consequence himself."

When France and Britain went to way some time thereafter, the British forces that overtook most of the Caribbean fought the several hundred in the Regiment and won. Burke and his few survivors were "ordered to lay down its arms". And then came the miracle. "The British offered the regiment ... the opportunity to fight under the flag of King George ... Now the fortunes of war had made him what he always wanted to be: an officer in His Britannic Majesty's army."

But as he, and we, soon find out, that life is going to change even more when it is found that someone of his grit and his impressive skills is needed for a secret mission elsewhere. Suddenly, his career gets a huge change in direction.

The tagline for this series is "James Bond in breeches" and it really, truly fits. The man comes across very much like 007 in his demeanor with the same brashness and daring and wonderful confidence in his ability to handle any problem eventually.

Also, as we are told at the beginning, "James Burke was a real person, as were many of the other characters in this novel". Further, "his name really was James Burke and he really was a spy". These three adventures are an historical trilogy regaling just some of the many adventures that Burke took part in - fictionalized but with the basis of actual events to stand as the foundation.


Number of Books:6
First Appearance:2014
Last Appearance:2022

1 Burke in the Land of Silver Burke in the Land of Silver
Written by Tom Williams
Copyright: 2014

James Burke was a lieutenant in H.M. army serving in Haiti when he is snatched for a secret mission to Argentina to assist the rebels there fighting for independence from Spain. There he will fall in love with the country, the people, and especially with the lover of the leader of the rebellion.
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2 Burke and the Bedouin Burke and the Bedouin
Written by Tom Williams
Copyright: 2015

The year is 1798 and James Burke is in Egypt to check out the rumor that Napoleon is planning an invasion there. He arrives a bit late and the French are already landing, leaving Burke with the job of delaying their incursion while also getting word to the British Navy to attack the French fleet.
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3 Burke At Waterloo Burke At Waterloo
Written by Tom Williams
Copyright: 2015

The year is 1814. Napoleon is in exile on Elba and James Burke is retired. When word comes that the Emperor is ready to mount a return, Burke is pulled back into action to uncover a plot to kill the Duke of Wellington as well as the French leader.
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4 Burke In The Peninsula Burke In The Peninsula
Written by Tom Williams
Copyright: 2020

The year is 1809. " Burke has barely returned from South America when he is sent off again, this time to join the war being waged by Spanish guerrillas against the French. It’s not long before he’s fighting for his life, but which of the Spaniards can he trust?"
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5 Burke In Ireland Burke In Ireland
Written by Tom Williams
Copyright: 2021

The year is 1793. "James Burke is under cover in Ireland, spying on Irish Nationalists. His objective: to discover any plots to conspire with the French to bring down English rule in Dublin. Dublin is full of plotters. Finding them is easy. Staying alive is not as straightforward."
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6 Burke And The Pimpernel Affair Burke And The Pimpernel Affair
Written by Tom Williams
Copyright: 2022

The year is 1809. "When a mission running agents into Napoleon's France goes horribly wrong, it's up to Burke to save the day. With the French secret police on his trail, can he stay alive long enough to free British spies from imprisonment in the centre of Paris? And how does the Empress Josephine fit into his plans?"
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Several decades ago I was a big fan of historical novels and read lots of them. Then I just lost the taste, perhaps, or maybe the research into spy series just got too demanding but I moved away. This series makes me miss it and I was glad to be brought back by such a well written trilogy of books.

I was not sure until I did a web search if the proclamation that this was a real spy was true but, dang!, apparently he was. Now the series presented here is, as I said above, a fictionalized version but it is a hoot to read.


My Grade: B


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