Sunday, May 12, 2013

What Darkness Brings by C.S. Harris

First Sentence:  The man was so old his face sagged in crinkly, sallow folds and Jenny could see pink scalp through the thin white hair plastered by sweat to his head.
           
Friends of Sebastian St. Cyr need his help.  One has recently been found dead, leaving behind a wife and child.  The second is Russell Yates, husband to St. Cyr’s great love, Kat.  Yates is accused of having murdered Benjamin Eisler, a very wealthy dealer of gems, and of stealing an extremely rare and valuable blue diamond; the Hope diamond.  Can St. Cyr find the evidence to clear Yates before he is hung?  Where is the diamond?
           
Harris has many great strengths as a writer, one of them being vivid and detailed descriptions that transport the reader into the Regency period.  She provides a look at the lives of all economic strata, from the very wealthy to the very poor and orphaned, bringing both the period and the people to life.
           
The story is filled both with historical characters and events as well as bits of fascinating, and not always pleasant, details of life during this time.  She even includes the growing fascination with the occult, but in a factual, academic manner. 
           
The characters are appealing and interesting.  Sebastian is even the dashing, brave protagonist with young Tom, his “tiger” (footman) at his side.  I am glad that Sebastian is finally starting to mature in his relationship.   Hero is independent, educated and appropriate in history’s role of wealthy women who worked to bring about social change.  Paul Gibson, the former regimental surgeon, is a character I find particularly intriguing, studying anatomy and forensics in an age when that was still very new and the former—procuring human bodies--illegal.
           
This is a series that is, in many ways, truly written as a series.  Although, in the end, the main mystery is solved, we are left some left unsolved and many threads to carry forward into subsequent books.  This is not at all a negative, but lends to the appeal and fun of reading the series.
           
“What Darkness Brings” has all the elements that make a really good story; great characters and dialogue—if a bit modern at times—a very strong sense of time and place, plenty of intrigue, excitement, red herrings, romance and conflict.  Ms. Harris is also a very visual writer, particularly in the action scenes.  I’d consider this to be one of the stronger books in the series.  It was definitely a very good enjoyable read.

WHAT DARKNESS BRINGS (Hist Mys-Sebastian St. Cyr-England- 1812) – VG
Harris, C.S.
Obsidian, 2013

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