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Why Kings Confess: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery Hardcover – March 4, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The grisly murder of French physician Damion Pelletan—found with his heart removed in a disreputable London neighborhood in 1813—is a puzzle that Sebastian St. Cyr finds increasingly intriguing. Palletan, recently arrived in London as part of a secret mission seeking peace between England and France, is the son of the doctor who briefly attended the Lost Dauphin, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, during the boy’s imprisonment after the revolution, and later autopsied the boy, removing and keeping his heart. Pelletan’s sister, the physician Alexi Sauvage, badly injured while accompanying her brother when he was killed, is being stalked by the vengeful relative of a former patient. Solving the murder becomes secondary to St. Cyr’s concern for his beloved wife, Hero, as her delivery date approaches with the probability of a breech birth, which both mother and child rarely survived in the early nineteenth century. And although Sauvage is an accomplished accoucheur, St. Cyr’s history with her prevents his trusting her with treating Hero. This ninth St. Cyr outing offers a winning combination of the political and the personal with a tangled plot deftly handled in Harris’ trademark brisk prose. A compellingly readable addition to a solidly researched historical mystery series. --Michele Leber


Praise for the Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries

“Best historical thriller writer in the business!...The entire series is simply elegant.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Gardner

“Page-turning adventure, international intrigue, and unlikely romance.”—The New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Excellent…The combination of complex back story, intricate plotting, surprising developments, and poignant evocations of the lives of the under-privileged makes this one of the best entries in Harris’s superior historical series.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Like Georgette Heyer, Harris delves deep into the mores of Regency England, but hers is a darker, more dangerous place.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“A ripping read. Sebastian St. Cyr’s world of Georgian intrigue captivated me to the final page.”—Will Thomas, Author of To Kingdom Come

“Thoroughly enjoyable...kept me enthralled.”—Deanna Raybourn, Author of The Dead Travel Fast

“Harris does an excellent job of interweaving the mystery in this book with the larger story arc of the series.”—St. Petersburg Times

“An intriguing mix of bloody murder, incest, and brutality…fascinating.”—The Washington Times

“Harris combines all of the qualities of a solid Regency in the tradition of Georgette Heyer …Anyone who likes Amanda Quick and/or is reading the reissued Heyer novels will love this series.”—Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Harris is a master of the genre.”—The Historical Novels Review

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Product Details

  • Series: Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery (Book 9)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Obsidian; 1st edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451417550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451417558
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

An Air Force brat who grew up exploring castles in Spain and fishing in the mountains of Oregon and Idaho, Candy later worked as an archaeologist and earned a PhD in European history. She now writes the Sebastian St. Cyr historical mystery series under the name C.S. Harris and coauthors a series of contemporary thrillers as C.S. Graham. Married to retired Army Colonel Steve Harris, she lives in New Orleans. Visit her website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Galla on March 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The new Sebastian Devlin is a fast paced whodunnit which starts off with his friend Paul Gibson stumbling upon two bodies in one of the nastier back alleys of east London. The man is dead with a horrendous wound in his chest, his heart missing; the woman with him is injured but survives after Paul takes her back to his surgery for care. Sebastian gets involved at first out of curiosity and finds himself deep into French politics, both with a commission sent to Britain to explore the possibiility of negotiating a peace treaty and with the Bourbon royal family in exile who are all adamantly opposed to any negotiation with Napoleon. After an unsuccessful attempt on his life, Sebastian finds the case more personal, and with more victims. The major question is who is behind the murders and why was the heart of the first victim, a member of the French delegation, of such importance. The action is swift and the characters are fascinating, including the Duchess of Angouleme (the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette), a member of the French exile court who is also a "molly", and the doctoresse who Paul rescued. A couple of characters seem to be superfluous to the plot at first but they are successfully tied in with the others at the end. As always, Hero Devlin is an intriguing character and it was a pleasure to see her evolving relationship with Sebastian. Paul Gibson is also an appealing character and may now have a real romance in his life in future novels. I also enjoy Sebastian's aunt, a true "grande dame". I read this in one day because it was so interesting and the fast pace made it difficult to put down. While it is not absolutely necessary, I recommend reading the novels in sequence in order to understand the relationships among the characters.Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By SMB on March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed all of the St. Cyr books. I am not a mystery reader as such so I can not critic this as a mystery. I can say however that unlike many books I did not have a sense of who the bad guy was half way thru the book which is often the case. I enjoy this book especially because of the strong characters and the historical details thru the book. I did have some trouble with the time much happened in such a short period of time and Gibson's romance developed rather quickly but then this is fiction. I read the book in one weekend and am now hoping for the next book already.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
SPOILER ALERT: I couldn't figure out why Sebastian didn't ask Lord Jarvis for help with Hero's potential breech-birth, even allowing for the whole 'stiff-necked pride' thing. Still, I appreciated Hero getting a little bit of print-time to show she's still the feisty, tough noblewoman we all love and enjoy. A decent mystery, but the St. Cyr books feel like they're getting shorter. Unlike Kate Ross' superior Julian Kestrel series, the mysteries are getting simpler yet the St. Cyr main characters aren't progressing much either.

I enjoy the series; it's the best since Ms. Ross died and left her characters forever frozen in time. But I don't love it as well as the Kestrel novels, I only like the St. Cyr books.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lea MacIntosh on March 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read (and in several cases re-read) all the books in this series, what I appreciated most in this latest adventure was the directness of this story. C.S. Harris has created and focused a spotlight on a complicated and fascinating puzzle. A puzzle that involves the French Revolution and the repercussions and injustices (both perceived and real) of war and of social conventions, I understand some readers are disappointed that more was not revealed about where Sebastian's mother might be, about his relationship with his father, etc. I look forward to those answers but feel they would have been a distraction, a sideline of this story.

Sebastian is forced to confront some of the demons from his military past. His relationship with Hero (one of the most wonderful, strong, and positive female characters in literature) is strengthened and solidified. Old enemies turn into new allies. And hope for the future even makes an appearance.

I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful story/history lesson. And I eagerly await the next installment.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By elaine on May 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
. I am the biggest fan of this series, and found this to be another great entry in the St. Cyr saga. Harris has toned down some of the more melodramatic and soap-opera elements and the series is all the stronger for it. Harris’s writing and story presentation is more direct and I approve of the subtle changes in the writing. Much more enjoyable. This mystery is perhaps not as engrossing as some of the other entries in the series, but is still altogether satisfying.
The plot focuses on the Lost Dauphin legend, builds in a lot of detail about the French émigré population in England at the time, in particular the royal Bourbons waiting their return to power. Add to that information about childbirth practices at the time, details on opium addiction and medical practice, and the book manages to fascinate and educate all at the same time. We see more of the relationship between Sebastien and Hero, who is the final stages of her pregnancy, and see Gibson face his opium addiction and find a relationship of his own.
I like the author's depiction of wounded souls all coming to grips with their weaknesses and building a new life freed of some of their past baggage. But none of this is easy nor quick. Sebastien's transition from a somewhat emotionally immature character to a more fully developed man has been believable and moving. Hero is a wonderfully realized character and it is nice to see her develop more emotional depth and show some vulnerability in her personal relationships.
I know some readers have complained about the book not tying up loose ends, but isn't that the point of a series--it unfolds over time. And I for one am content to take it all in in the order Harris delivers it. Scrumptious.
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