The Merlin is the tale of Nathan Cross, raised in the hard case life of London’s canals and rivers in the late 18th Century who has risen to the rank of gunner in Nelson’s Navy through a combination of ability with a dash of thieving and smuggling on the side. Accidentally viewed as something of a hero, he knows better and avoids getting into anybodies line of ? re if possible.
From his early involvement in the Spithead mutiny he has become a member of the outlawed reform societies in England and has a sneaking sympathy with the politics of his enemy, the French. His life is cast into turmoil by the slightly demented Miss Sarah Norton, whose father, Inspector of Customs for the colonies, is none to keen on his wayward daughter associating with a common seaman, and Nathan is not to sure it is a good idea either, but our Sarah has plans for him and he doesn’t stand a chance.
We also meet the ‘Squire’ a chubby little lieutenant with polite killer instincts, Bos’n Sweet, fat, merry and ruthless, Danny Mendoza, bare knuckle prize ?ghter, and Simon Gragani, failed rabbi on the run from Jews, Christians and Atheist alike of half a continent.
With sarcastic cockney humor, Nathan views the a?airs and people around him with a cynicism that includes his own activities in the rigid social structure at the turn of the 18th century and he tells of the false adulation of the hero and learns the terrible price of success.