Close this search box.

The Compass of Truth

Should Marian Halcombe Camlet hand over everyone she loves to an American prophet?

The Compass of Truth

Author Name:

Release Date : August 17, 2021

ISBN Number : 978-1-61138-968-5


Kindle Reader = Mobi
Others = Epub


Marian Halcombe #8
The Thrilling Victorian Adventures of the Most Dangerous Woman in Europe
Should Marian Halcombe Camlet hand over everyone she loves to an American prophet? Or should she use her head, and her Webley revolver?

Marian’s daughter is heartbroken when her fiance becomes enmeshed in an American religious cult. They race off to Virginia to rescue him, carrying with them Marian’s profligate nephew Wally, who has become entangled with an adventuress. Wally falls victim to another seductress – a violin – and Marian’s daughter learns she must compete with a whole cult full of willing maidens and her fiance’s crippling sense of honour. And Marian discovers that the wily Father of the Agapal Fellowship wouldn’t mind adding the most dangerous woman in Europe to the roster!


Just last night finished reading Marian Halcombe: The Thrilling Victorian Adventures of the Most Dangerous Woman in Europe, by Brenda W. Clough, and I had such a good time! The steadfast alliance between Marian, the dangerous woman of the title, and her more decorous sister, Laura, is a delight, as is the growing consternation of the men – hero and villain alike – as they come to realize just exactly what – who! – it is they’re dealing with. The book’s voice is pitch perfect, which adds to the fun. I’m in for the next one.
– Sharon Lee, co-author of the Liaden Universe® novels

It’s a sequel to The Woman In White – but it’s so much more than that. This is a bodice-ripping yarn, a Victorian melodrama with a modern sensibility, a delightful romp, a thriller and a romance and a comedy of manners all at once. I adored it.
– Chaz Brenchley, author of Three Twins at the Crater School

Brenda Clough’s invincible and endearing Marian Halcombe Camlet easily enters the company of Jane Marple, Miss Maud Silver, Pamela North, and Prudence Ford as a British female sleuth in the mid-1800s. The Marian novels are an absolute joy to read.
– Paul S. Piper, author of The Wolves of Mirr

A ripping yarn! Thrilling, lushly Victorian, with a dashing heroine who is not even handsome, yet she bags a delightful husband – not without considerable heroic effort and derring-do – and upholds the finest traditions of pure womanhood! (Well… kinda pure.)
– Jennifer Stevenson, author of Local Magics


Brenda W. Clough writes novels. These include How Like A God from Tor Books, and the Edge to Center time travel trilogy from BVC. Also look for Revise the World, expanded from her Hugo and Nebula finalist novella, and Speak to Our Desires.

Share :

Book 1
Marian Halcombe Camlet’s journal
Sandett House in Hampstead, 2 April 1872

Early this morning the upstairs bathroom door flew open with a crash, revealing my tall twenty-two year-old stepson startlingly clad in nothing but a towel. “You confounded brats!” Micah roared at his siblings.

Little Tad scurried back out of range. “Brother lost his trousies!”

Eight-year-old Merry giggled at the sight. “Your complexion’s past improving, Micah.”

Secure in the dignity of her twenty years, Lottie announced, “We all have to share, brother.” She swept past him, neatly sweeping her long blonde braid clear as she shut the bathroom door behind herself.

“Lottie!” Micah hammered on the door. “Give me my dressing gown!”

There was no reply, and Tad squealed with laughter. His only excuse must be his age, for he is not yet three. And Merry cried, “Lottie, it was my turn! I need to go!”

Theo’s grey head became just visible as my dear husband ascended the stair. “Merry, you are noisy. If your need is so great, you have your bedroom utensil.”

“I kicked it over last night,” my younger daughter confessed artlessly. “Lottie was dreadfully unkind about it.”

His own dressing gown unavailable, Micah emerged from the boys’ room in William’s, which was far too short for his six feet of height. “This is a bear pit, Papa.”

“At least William and Lester are away at school,” my dear husband replied in placid tones. “Come the long vacation we shall be full to the brim. Marian, my bird, would you come down? I’d like your opinion on a letter. And you, naughty miss, are far too boisterous. Come use the downstairs water closet.”

Merry happily took her papa’s hand so that she could be ‘jumped’ down the stairs. I handed my little Tad over to his nurse, and Micah retreated simmering into his chamber again.

“The roof will fly off the house,” I said to Theo. “William is but half Micah’s age. And all three girls crammed into the one bedroom? I think I shall have Lester down in my dressing room.”

“We’re a large family,” Theo said, quite unruffled. “You must remember to keep the doors closed.” His hazel twinkle was so naughty that in spite of our recent difficulties I had to laugh. At colossal expense Theo has fitted Sandett House with the most modern plumbing. We have a water closet on two floors of the house, a luxury unknown to many an earl. To this I can attest from personal experience! On the main floor Merry pattered barefoot into the facility in the back hallway, and I followed my husband into his study.

I was surprised when he shut the door. He gestured for me to sit. “Marian,” he said quietly. “Has Lottie ever shared with you her correspondence with John Prower in Massachusetts?”

“From my Yankee sea captain turned librarian?” I called up in my mind’s eye Mr. Prower, tall and well-built, with his blond moustaches and the far-seeing dark eyes of the sailor. “They come every fortnight or so. She occasionally shares the enclosures. You remember the pressed magnolia blossom from last summer. And she’s read out amusing bits, or messages. He wished us all a happy Christmas last winter.”

He sat down at his big cherrywood desk. “But you’ve never looked over an entire letter.”

Theo is of a liberal persuasion, and would never insist on reading his daughter or wife’s correspondence. But there are reasons why many men do. “Do you suspect him of impropriety?”

“No. But I fear for my daughter’s peace.” From a cubbyhole he took an envelope so plump it bore extra American stamps, and passed it to me.

Within I found another letter, folded and sealed with a wafer, with Lottie’s name on the outside. And a covering letter, written in a firm manly script:

27 March
Theophilus Camlet
Sandett House, Hampstead, London

My dear sir:

Of your great kindness you gave me permission to conduct a long-standing correspondence with your daughter Lottie. We have been exchanging letters for nearly four years now.

I regret to say that although I have enjoyed the correspondence greatly, I am obliged to cease writing to her. I look to alter condition, residence and career in the near future, and shall not have space in my new life for it. I enclose a final note of farewell to her. May I ask you, whose dearest care must be her happiness, to break my news to her gently, before giving it to her to read?


John Ledyard Prower

Herndon, Virginia

NB: She need have no fears about her own letters. I shall return them to her as soon as I may.

External Links

Book Sample

Choose Book Format



There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “The Compass of Truth”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

External Links

Downloadable Links

So begins the story of two people whose lives appear fragmented across alternate realities.