No wonder the new prime minister, William Pitt, made smuggling one of his top issues.
Commander James Ellis, a character in my story, was a real historic figure. Just as I portrayed him, he captained the HMS Orestes hunting smugglers off the Sussex coast.
In 1784, firing on a customs vessel after it had identified itself became a felony. However, as a French citizen, my hero, Jean Donet, would not have been subject to being dragged back to England for trial. England was the only country that did not have an agreement with France to trade criminals (what we would call today an extradition treaty). But Jean had cause to worry about Joanna, who was subject to English justice.
|The Old Bailey Court|