"...The Oxford-raised, Toronto-dwelling Letemendia has a tremendous sense of pace, all too necessary in light of how much story she packs into The Licence of War: Beaumont bounces between Oxford and London, in the employ of his not-exactly-scrupulous employer Lord Digby, looking for and hoping to unmask the sinister deeds of a competing spymaster, while fending off his mother’s determination to marry him off, even as he’s ready and willing to marry his mistress, the scrumptious Isabella Savage — despite not being certain she deserves his unconditional trust. To this Letemendia mixes in uncertainty about Beaumont’s parentage, several vivid portraits of what lies well beneath London’s demimonde, scheming Spaniards, and another love interest for Beaumont, who offers him a chance at heart and home, so long as his cross-country espionage doesn’t get him executed. Also working in Letemendia’s favour is how she creates indelible characters through the right touch of description and action without overdoing the research. Her 1643 thrums with life, animated by vibrant prose instead of being deadened by its leaden opposite. Fortunately, shirking my own advice means I can go back and learn more of Beaumont’s earlier adventures while eagerly awaiting what he’s up to next, and how much trouble he’ll cause — and staying true to England will cause him."