I've had a couple people come away from the timeline of the books a little confused. In fact, the sound of heads banging on desks is about deafening.
So let me provide a general comment on the timeline as a Guide for the Perplexed. And then I'll probably do it again in a week or so, but with more specificity than I can scrape together right now. And I'll only do that if I'm not buried in work of some kind or another.
We have three confusing time periods. Like ... sometimes I have two books happening at once.
1794 -- And we are in Forbidden Rose. Hawker, Pax and Justine are all young. Hawker is 12 or 13. Justine, 13. Pax, about 16.
Galba is Head of the Service. Grey has not yet joined the Service. Annique is living with the gypsies at this point. Doyle is a senior Independent Agent. Hawker is merely a raw possible recruit, on probation.
In 1794, Hawker walks onto the stage in Forbidden Rose leading a pair of tough little donkeys. About a third of the way into Forbidden Rose Hawker will meet Pax when they change duty at the watching post on Maggie's house. A bit later Justine and Hawker meet for the first time on the street outside Doyle's prison.
Forbidden Rose and the 1794 section of Black Hawk then come together and end with the same scene. That's the one where Justine gives Severine into Maggie's keeping.
1802 -- This is where things gets complicated, because now we got three books involved.
Galba is Head of Service. Grey is Head of the British Section. Hawker is a young Independent Agent.
We have an 1802 segment of Black Hawk full of our three young spies saving Napoleon from an assassin. At the end of that 1802 section of Black Hawk, we see Justine shoot Hawker. This is on page 228.
The action of Spymaster's Lady opens five or six days after that shooting scene. Offstage, Grey and Hawker got picked up when Hawker was getting himself out of the Louvre. There is Hawker in prison, dying from Justine's bullet. Annique gets thrown into the cell and they're off!! Hawker, Grey, Annique and Doyle run headlong across France.
Rogue Spy starts when we're in the middle of the Spymaster's Lady timeline. The two stories go forward in parallel. Action of one story happens while stuff is going on in the other.
When Hawker visits Daisy's house in Rogue Spy it's been maybe three weeks since he was shot. He's only now come to terms with his final breakup with Justine. Meanwhile, across town, in Spymaster's Lady, Grey is dealing with Annique as a prisoner at Meeks Street.
Rogue Spy wraps up with the death of the Merchant but Spymaster's Lady continues. So later events like Meeks Street headquarters getting shot up and Annique escaping to Soulier's house take place after Cami and Pax have already been married and sailed for France.
1818: 1818 is the frame story of Black Hawk. It's 16 years since Justine shot Hawker. Sixteen years since Cami and Pax, Grey and Annique married.
Hawker is Head of Service. Galba has retired. We haven't visited their timelines, but we can assume Cami and Pax, Grey and Annique have had many adventures in the intervening years, done important work, and have settled into a happy life. Maybe they have kids even.
And in 1818, Hawker and Justine marry.
So that's the way all these events spread out.
And that's just as clear as mud, isn't it?
Go ahead. Ask me something. I'll try to clarify.