Monsieur Romieu – a ‘man of talents’

At a time of international conflict two centuries ago, did Britain assassinate an enemy agent while the world was looking the other way? Matthew Teller delves into a story of intrigue and possible skulduggery in Persia.

September 1805. Britain and France are at war. Napoleon is massing an army at Boulogne, ready to invade England. Nelson harries the French fleet in the Mediterranean. Amid the tension, a letter lands on the desk of William Bruce, Britain’s Resident in Bushire, on the Persian Gulf. “There is a French officer of the name of Romieu, whose destination is suspected to be the East,” it warns. “Romieu has the reputation of being a man of talents, of having a considerable sum of money at his disposal, and of being a great proficient in the science of intrigue.”

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