About the Company of Rogues
The Company of Rogues first appeared in An Arranged Marriage in 1990, when Nicholas Delaney summoned his old school friends to help him in his service to the Crown. From 1814 to 1817 they helped one another through love entanglements and adventures. Each book stands alone, but there is an overarching storyline, which means that the following books are best read in order if possible.An Arranged Marriage.
The Honorable Nicholas Delaney, leader of the Rogues, twin brother of the Earl of Stainsbridge. Eclectic thinker, traveler, idiosyncratic collector.
An Unwilling Bride.
Lucien de Vaux, Marquess of Arden, heir to the dukedom of Belcraven. A damn-your-eyes Regency buck who conceals a keen brain and scholarly interests.
Leander Knollis, Earl of Charrington, son of a diplomat and raised internationally in the highest circles. A linguist with impeccable social skills.
Francis Haile, Lord Middlethorpe, a gentle, sensitive man with a core of steel.
Miles Cavanagh, heir to the Earl of Kilgoran, a fiery opposer of Irish oppression.
The Dragon's Bride.
Con Somerford, Viscount Amleigh, and heir to the Earl of Wyvern. A solid military man turned dark by Waterloo.
The Devil's Heiress.
(which doesn't feature a Rogue, but is an important part of the long story arc.)
Sir Stephen Ball, lawyer and a reforming Member of Parliament. A quiet, clever man with subtle depths.
The Rogue's Return.
Simon St. Bride, a light hearted adventurer who returns from Canada with an unexpected bride.
To Rescue a Rogue.
Lord Darius Debenham, younger son of the Duke of Yeovil. The merry jester of the Rogues who went to hell and back at Waterloo, ending up addicted to opium.
There is another. Major Hal Beaumont. A career soldier who lost an arm in Canada. His story is woven through the other books.
About the creation of the Company of Rogues.The Company of Rogues and I go back a long time. All the way to 1976, in fact.
By then I'd been fiddling around with writing a romance for many years, and had a few beginnings of Nicholas Delaney's story (though readers of An Arranged Marriage would not recognize most of it.) In 1976, however, we emigrated to Canada, and my professional qualifications didn't translate. It seemed an excellent opportunity to pursue my dream seriously. Note, however, that it wasn't until eleven years later that I sold my first novel, Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed, and another few years after that before An Arranged Marriage came out.
Over the next year I wrote what would become An Arranged Marriage, partly on a clunky little portable typewriter, and when I lost patience with that, in longhand. In the process I created the Company of Rogues, the group of friends Nicholas gathers to help him with his tortuous task. At that point, Lucien, Marquess of Arden, was not a member. He arrived when I wrote An Unwilling Bride many years later, and I realized he'd make a great addition to the Rogues. As soon as I added him, he created lovely threads to weave through. Lucien, after all, is the heir to a dukedom and thus one of the highest in the last. Nicholas is the younger brother of an earl, and thus a commoner. Yet Nicholas is the undisputed leader of the Rogues. Lucien doesn't dispute it, but it doesn't always fit with his lordly view of life and underlying tensions always exist.
The Company of Rogues came about (fictionally speaking) when Nicholas and the rest turned up at Harrow School. Schools in those days were almost anarchical places. A few years previous, Byron had led an armed revolt against the masters, and there was one incident of students blowing in a door to get at a tyrannical master. In addition to the master, always armed with birch and cane, the senior boys lorded it over the junior ones who had to act as servants, or fags. This often moved into abuse such as dragging younger boys around, scorching them at fires, and of course, beatings, since school chaos left the older boys in charge. Nicholas took one look at things and decided to create a small area of civilization. He gathered twelve new boys according to his own gifted whim, and formed a brotherhood of protection. They were not to bully others, or avoid proper duties or deserved punishment, but they would oppose oppression from all quarters. Most bullies and tyrants soon learned to leave them alone.
Whatever system Nicholas used to choose the Rogues, he did not pick boys of the same sort. Knowing Nicholas, he deliberately sought variety, both for the richness of the group and to provide useful skills and qualities later in life. From an author's point of view, this means that I found delightful surprises. Each Rogue shapes his story, from the baroque adventures of Nicholas to the cut-throat high-society elegance of Lucien's marriage, and the wild Irish tale of Miles Cavanagh and his Felicity.
The Rogues' WorldAlong the way I have written the stories of some of the Rogues' friend and relations. Apart from The Devil's Heiress, these romances are on a parallel path. You can find out about them on my Regency Historical Page.
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