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What Darkness Brings: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery Hardcover – March 5, 2013
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Eighth in Harris’ Sebastian St. Cyr series, this volume is perhaps the best yet, with its air of Regency intrigue and its abashed, somewhat bewildered hero. The story begins with newly married Sebastian, still grieving after the death of a friend, caught up in the murder of a wicked gem dealer whose demise is blamed on St. Cyr’s acquaintance Russell Yates, now languishing in prison. Found bloodied and standing over the corpse, Yates needs Sebastian’s sleuthing expertise, though it’s Yates’ wife, Kat Boleyn, St. Cyr’s former lover, who begs for help. It’s a delicious, complicated tangle made even tastier by Sebastian’s bride, the wise Hero, and by Harris’ tender treatment of the newlyweds’ affection and growing love for one another. Harris’ acute characterizations and her facility for portraying the complexities of human emotion are similar to Imogen Robertson’s in Anatomy of Murder(2012), while her view of social niceties hiding dark motives conjures Anne Perry. --Jen Baker
Praise for the Sebastian St. Cyr Series
"Best historical thriller writer in the business! Sebastian St. Cyr is…uncannily clever, unwaveringly reserved, and irresistibly sexy. The entire series is simply elegant.”—New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner
“Deftly combines political intrigue, cleverly concealed clues and vivid characters.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“A crescendo of suspense and surprise.”—Library Journal (Starred Review)
“Thoroughly enjoyable…kept me enthralled.”—Deanna Raybourn
“A ripping read...captivated me to the final page.”—Will Thomas
“Harris crafts her story with the threat of danger, hints of humor, vivid sex scenes, and a conclusion that will make your pulse race.”—The New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Harris delves deep into the mores of Regency England…”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
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Unlike some readers, I didn't feel that Hero was relegated to the back seat! Yes, her scenes were reduced in comparison to previous installments (namely, When Maidens Mourn). The investigation in When Maidens Mourn was centered area one of Hero's closest friend's death, therefore her prominent presence was to be expected. On the other hand, Hero's limited (in comparison to WMM) screen time in WDB isn't unnatural considering the persons involved in the murder (Yates, thereby Kat).
I am a huge fan of Hero, so of course I want her to be more involved, but I'd rather not have her show up at random moments (without cause) simply just to be there. That isn't something I expect to see from the crafty hands of Harris and I'm glad that didn't happen! And what scenes we had of Hero (especially with Sebastian), that's more than enough for us to feel the intimacy and commitment these two characters have for the other.
As for the complaints about Sebastian's internal conflict about the "WHAT IF's" in regards to his relationship with Kat. Some may find it tedious, but I find that absolutely humanizing! First loves are more often than not, the hardest to let go - and those who've been following the series would understand the complexities that revolves around this EX-couple. And note, Sebastian and Hero married out of obligations and necessity, NOT LOVE! Love and affection grew over time, and SPOILER ALERT, Sebastian finally confessed his growing affection and love to Hero - that scene was heartwarming for those who appreciate the more mature and tender affection between these two as oppose to the fiery passion that was Kat and Sebastian.
Though his confession wasn't flowery or romantic (in modern standards), it was suitable for Sebastian's character. HONESTLY, can you imagine Sebastian professing his love with a poem, on his knees, or in front of a million and one people? Or Hero accepting anyone's promise of undying love through a love poem, on bend knees or in front of a crowd? I surely cannot! The declarations made in WDB was more than satisfactory for readers who understands the reservations that makes Sebastian and Hero such intriguing characters.
In regards to tying up loose ends; if you're a follower of this series, you should be prepared to close the novel with even more questions about various persons' history and future unveiling... After all, it is a SERIES! With each installment Harris focuses on a main mystery plot that does get resolved, but there are also numerous other plots woven in that will slowly reveal as the story moves on. If a reader isn't happy until all ends are tied, then I fear this series just isn't for you! And a shame at that, because these books are a true treasure!
However displeased readers are with What Darkness Brings, I believe it is all in the matter of preference, so read on if ou so desire. This reader can not wait to get her hands on the next installment! WRITE ON CANDY! WRITE ON!
Hero, Sebastian's wife is still sort of a mystery to me. In the first books, she came across as almost a duplicate of her scheming, conniving, devious, manipulating father, but she isn't turning out that way and almost seems a little marshmallowy in this book. Maybe it is because she is expecting. I'd like to see her become a strong, loving, supportive partner to Sebastian -- and she'd always choose Sebastian before her father. So far, it seems Sebastian and Hero both love each other, but wouldn't necessarily put each other first. So, seeing how the relationship develops will be a fun part of reading the series.
In this story, the husband of Sebastian's longtime love is arrested for the murder of a jewel merchant. As you go through the story, you learn what a piece of work that jewel merchant was and that there are probably hundreds of people who would like to see him dead. There are, of course, the nasty French spies who have a role in the crime.
Finding who the murderer is will be really sad for you - and for Sebastian. It was an accident. I won't say more, because that might tell you who it was and that wouldn't be any fun.
Lord Jarvis, Hero's father certainly has his hand in the whole thing - especially one of the deaths. All I can say is that Jarvis is one cold fish who doesn't REALLY care for anybody. He supposedly cares about his daughter, but I see little evidence of that.
The chase to expose the bad guys is a little less intense in this one. Sebastian and/or Hero aren't kidnapped or seriously wounded, etc. but there are exciting fights, etc.