Matthew Hawkwood Books in Order: How to read James McGee’s series?

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Coming from the English James McGee, known for his historical adventure novels, the Matthew Hawkwood series is about the work of a fictional Bow Street Runner. Set during the Regency period, when Britain was at war with Napoleon, the story focuses on Matthew Hawkwood, an early investigative officer working out of London’s Bow Street Magistrates’ Court who’s using his previous military experience to investigate issues of national security.

Even if the protagonist and the plot points are fictional, the stories in the series are inspired by historical events like the Malet Conspiracy, the body snatchers, the development of the first submarines, and more.

How to read the Matthew Hawkwood Series in Order?

Every entry in the Matthew Hawkwood book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.

  1. Ratcatcher (2006, aka Hawkwood) – The year is 1811, and Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood is ordered by Chief Magistrate James Read to investigate the double murder of a coachman and a naval courier on the Kent Road. Hawkwood initially wonders why Read is so concerned by this relatively mundane case, but before long, another body is discovered, and a higher agenda emerges-an attempt by the Emperor Napoleon to deliver a crushing military and psychological blow to Britain that could lead cause terror on the seas for years to come. . . .
  2. Resurrectionist (2007) – A new term at London’s anatomy schools stokes demand for fresh corpses, and the city’s “resurrection men” vie for control of the market. Their rivalry takes an ugly turn when a grave robber is brutally murdered and his body displayed as a warning to other gangs. To hunt down those responsible, Hawkwood must venture into London’s murkiest corners, where even more gruesome discoveries await him. Nowhere, however, is as grim as Bedlam, notorious asylum for the insane and scene of another bizarre killing. Sent to investigate, Matthew Hawkwood finds himself pitted against his most formidable adversary yet, an obsessive genius hell-bent on advancing the cause of science at all costs.
  1. Rapscallion (2008) – For a French prisoner of war, there is only one fate worse than the gallows: the hulks. Former man-o-wars, now converted to prison ships, their fearsome reputation guarantees a sentence served in dreadful conditions. Few survive. Escape, it’s said, is impossible. Yet reports persist of a sinister smuggling operation within this brutal world, and the Royal Navy is worried enough to send two of its officers to investigate. When they disappear without a trace, the Navy turns in desperation to Bow Street for help. It’s time to send in a man as dangerous as the prey. It’s time to send in Hawkwood.
  2. Rebellion (2011) – October 1812: Napoleon and his Grand Army have advanced to the gates of Moscow but the deadly Russian winter is closing in fast. Back in France, food supplies are running low and the country is on the verge of bankruptcy. Even Bonaparte’s senior generals grow weary of the fight. Meanwhile, in London, former soldier Matthew Hawkwood has been seconded to a shadowy Home Office department. His chequered past makes him dangerous and unpredictable, but his superiors believe he is perfect for a crucial mission. For the British have an undercover agent in Paris, with a daring proposal that requires Hawkwood’s unique expertise. If the plan succeeds, it could lead to peace between old and bitter enemies. Failure would mean prison, torture, and a meeting with the guillotine…
  1. The Blooding (2014) – 1812: Matthew Hawkwood, soldier turned spy, is stranded behind enemy lines, in America, a country at war with Britain. Heading for the safety of the Canadian border, Hawkwood’s route takes him to Albany where the chance sighting of a former comrade-in-arms – Major Douglas Lawrence – within a consignment of British prisoners puts paid to his plans. For as the two men make their escape they uncover an American plot to invade Canada. If it is successful, the entire continent will be lost. The British authorities must be warned. Pursued by a relentless enemy, Hawkwood and Lawrence set off across the snow-bound Adirondack Mountains; the land the Iroquois call ‘The Hunting Grounds’. But they are not alone. Buried deep in Hawkwood’s past is an old alliance – one that could save both their lives and help turn the tide of war…
  2. The Reckoning (2017) – The 6th historical thriller featuring Matthew Hawkwood, Bow Street Runner and Spy, now hunting a killer on the loose in Regency London. London, 1813: Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood is summoned to a burial ground and finds the corpse of a young woman, murdered and cast into an open grave. At first, the death is deemed to be of little consequence. But when Chief Magistrate James Read receives a direct order from the Home Office to abandon the case, Hawkwood’s interest is piqued. His hunt for the killer will lead him from London’s backstreets into the heart of a government determined to protect its secrets at all costs. Only Hawkwood’s contacts within the criminal underworld can now help.


If you like our article about the Matthew Hawkwood reading order, don’t forget to bookmark it! You may also be interested in Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden, and Patrick O’Brian.

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