April 18, 2014

Book Review: Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris

So we all know I'm obsessed with Sebastian St. Cyr, right? Because poor Viscount Devlin, he's so dreamy, and conflicted, and his personal life is nuts, and he's so good at beating up bad guys and solving crimes. I'm happy that Sebastian's personal life seems to be on the upswing in recent books though! (For earlier info on the craaaaziness in the St. Cyr family, check out my reviews of What Angels Fear, and What Darkness Brings).

I was superty-duper excited when Shelf Awareness sent me the latest in the series for review. I waited to post it here, since obviously you should all go read it immediately, and it wasn't out for publication yet when I'd first reviewed it. But it's out now! Go swoon over Viscount Devlin to your heart's content, I won't tell.

Novels set during Great Britain's Regency are often romantic, glossing over the difficult nature of life in the early 19th century. Not so C.S. Harris's mysteries. Her Sebastian St. Cyr series--of which Why Kings Confess is the ninth novel--offer a glimpse into the seamy side of Regency life, complete with high infant mortality, brutal living conditions and vicious crimes.

St. Cyr, only surviving son of the Earl of Hendon, can't help getting involved when a Frenchwoman is found wounded in an alley near the body of a Frenchman whose heart was cut from his chest. Though his wife, Hero, is mere days from delivering a breech baby, Sebastian is determined to find out who attacked Alexi Sauvage and murdered Damion Pelletan. He soon realizes Alexi is hiding something, and that they've met before. She was a doctor in the Peninsular War and has no reason to trust him, a former British soldier. Even more interestingly, he discovers Pelletan was in London with a secret delegation sent to broker a peace deal between Britain and Napoleon's France.

Harris brings the politics of the French and British to life, inviting the reader to analyze the real historical figures and to sympathize with both the Bourbons and Napoleon's supporters. In addition to the accurate history and the intriguing mystery, longtime fans of the series will be happy to see new developments in the personal lives of Sebastian and his friends. Why Kings Confess is historical mystery at its finest.

Are you a Sebastian fan too?
Or do you know of other good Regency mysteries?