As the second son of the Duke of Hampshire, Grenville St John Hampton isn’t likely to inherit his family’s title or estate, leaving him pondering an empty, aimless future. During the summer break from university, he impulsively decides to go backpacking with one of his oldest friends, Johnathan; their destination is Belize.
One sultry night on the Central American coastline, Grenville and Johnathan meet Tom. A game of darts takes a vicious turn. Realising he has nothing to look forward to back at home, Grenville decides to stay on in Belize with Tom, in pursuit of adventure. Together, the new friends establish an import business, and for the first time in his life, Grenville has a sense of purpose.
But back in England all is not well. The sudden death of his brother leaves Grenville with an unexpected – and now unwanted – inheritance, with new consequences and responsibilities. He will return to claim the family’s seat with a dark secret in tow.
Jonathan as Grenville’s closest school friend is not hard to understand. He first met Grenville on the first day of boarding school, while they both waited in line to be shown their house and accommodation, they struck up a conservation more out of trepidation for what was to become, once they were joined in the conservation with Hugo they quickly all became firm friends. From the very earliest days Jonathan always told his friends he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and inherit the family law firm and eventually like his father become a high court judge.
Everything Jonathan did at school was directed towards this goal, and both his two best fiends understood his drive. Jonathan was a very good orator so was very popular with anyone who met him, but his loyalty to his two-close friend was understood by anyone who met him.
During a gap year from university on a drunken whim Jonathan decided to go back packing to Belize, which drunk Grenville agreed to go with him, Jonathan was in his element organising the trip as Grenville knew this was one of his strengths and not one of Grenville’s. Jonathan had the knack to read a situation perfectly and understood human nature and had the ability to read people, which was no doubt a trait he had inherit from his father. During their school time this ability had saved Grenville from certain punishment, which Grenville was always grateful for.
It was obvious from the early stages of their adventure that Jonathan was not a good traveller and being a global traveller was never going to be an option for him, he vowed once he returned to England it would be a serious reason to get him to leave its Green pastures again. It was during a last drink in a waterside pub and during a game of darts with the locals that Jonathan correctly read the situation that the locals were not impressed with Grenville’s dart antics, trying to persuade him to tone it down, the match turned ugly, enter Tom who whisks they away back to the capital. At first Jonathan was guarded with Tom as a good judge of character Johnathan was unable to read him so remained guarded. Johnathan became quite jealous of the friendship Grenville and Tom were striking up, but was not shocked when he suggests they need to return home to England, Grenville decided to stay, he asked Tom to keep him safe, which Tom agreed to do giving Jonathan his address so he could contact Grenville if he needed to.
A few years later, after years of not hearing from Grenville, Jonathan was summoned to his Fathers office, who was with Grenville Father the Duke of Hampshire, who explained that his eldest son had died so Grenville was now heir apparent and must return home. Jonathan was in a turmoil of emotions to tell then he knew how to contact Grenville or remain loyal to his friend. Jonathan eventually came down on the side of family and duty and agrees to contact Grenville on behalf of his father.
Andy Blackman is the author of For the Love of Grace (published by Clink Street, 2016).
Purchase from Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-second-son-andy-blackman/1126950142?ean=9781912262298
About the author: After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren. His previous novel, For the Love of Grace, was published in 2016.