A break-in at the steward’s office at Kirkley Hall in Northumberland on April 3, 1809, became a cause célèbre when local man James Charlton was accused of stealing over £1,100. Acquitted at his trial following a huge public outcry, his family thought it the end of the matter. But he was later re-arrested and transported on the evidence of a convicted burglar, whose death sentence was subsequently commuted. Charlton’s novel, based on true events surrounding her husband’s ancestor, is the first in a projected trilogy. Told with gritty realism, Catching The Eagle is a suspense-filled page-turner, which spares nothing in its descriptions of the hardships and injustices suffered by the poor at the turn of the 19th century. Its ending leaves the reader poised perfectly for the next volume - for which I can hardly wait.