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"Royal Blood" oozes with intrigue
on September 7, 2010
The last thing her Ladyship expected to see while peering into the dark, Transylvanian night was some "thing" or some "one" climbing up Bran Castle wall.
Such are the things that tend to happen to poor Lady Georgiana Rannoch. She's twenty-two, "depressedly" single, and thirty-fourth in line to the British throne. The King is her second cousin, and his wife, Her Majesty Queen Mary, loves to give Georgie little tasks. Most recently, she dispatched Georgie to keep tabs on the Prince of Wales' new American lady friend. Prior to that, Her Majesty put Georgie in charge of a visiting German princess with a fondness for shoplifting and American gangster slang.
This time Queen Mary appointed Lady Georgiana to represent the Royal family at the wedding of Georgie's old school mate, Princess Maria Theresa of Romania, to Prince Nicholas of Bulgaria. Adding to the atmosphere of the royal wedding is its location, the dark and dreary Castle Bran, Transylvania, purported home to vampires and werewolves. And then there's Prince Seigfried, whom Georgiana unceremoniously dumped earlier in the year, ensconced in the bedroom right next to hers.
In Royal Blood, the highly anticipated fourth book in author Rhys Bowen's "Royal Spyness" series, we find Lady Georgiana in the middle of another murder, and this time a mysterious vial is found in her room. Everyone is snowed in, the pass is closed, and there are no tracks leading from the castle. Just who is trying to frame Lady Georgiana and why?
Among the supporting cast of players in Royal Blood are many familiar faces in this series: Georgie's trusty bed-hopping best friend, Belinda Warburton-Stokes, Georgie's brother Binky, the current duke, and his tiresome, penny pinching wife Fig. As always, the mysterious and handsome Darcy O'Mara pops up at just the right moment! New additions to the mix are: Georgie's royal traveling companion Lady Middlesex, Queenie Hepplewhite her bumbling new maid, and a mysteriously dark butler named Dragomir.
Let me be honest, I love this series and was somewhat apprehensive about reviewing Royal Blood. Often times, at this point in a series, the plot and characters can become flat and repetitive. Not so in Rhys Bowen's latest! Quite the opposite, the characters remain fresh and interesting. The plot is crisp, and the turns are sharp and deadly. Ms. Bowen wisely gives the reader just enough information about the history of the players to allow a first time reader to feel right at home in Castle Bran. Rhys Bowen has written another brilliant, not-to-be-missed addition to this well loved series.