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ARC Review: What Darkness Brings by C. S. Harris

Submitted by on February 22, 2013 – 4:30 am5 Comments

Author: C. S. Harris
Title: What Darkness Brings
Release: March 5, 2013
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries #8
Reviewer: Noa
Source: Publisher

Purchase: | Book Depository

The death of a notorious London diamond merchant draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife Hero into a sordid world of greed, desperation, and the occult, when the husband of Sebastian’s former lover Kat Boleyn is accused of the murder.

Regency England, September 1812: After a long night spent dealing with the tragic death of a former military comrade, a heart-sick Sebastian learns of a new calamity: Russell Yates, the dashing, one-time privateer who married Kat a year ago, has been found standing over the corpse of Benjamin Eisler, a wealthy gem dealer. Yates insists he is innocent, but he will surely hang unless Sebastian can unmask the real killer.

For the sake of Kat, the woman he once loved and lost, Sebastian plunges into a treacherous circle of intrigue. Although Eisler’s clients included the Prince Regent and the Emperor Napoleon, he was a despicable man with many enemies and a number of dangerous, well-kept secrets—including a passion for arcane texts and black magic. Central to the case is a magnificent blue diamond, believed to have once formed part of the French crown jewels, which disappeared on the night of Eisler’s death. As Sebastian traces the diamond’s ownership, he uncovers links that implicate an eccentric, powerful financier named Hope and stretch back into the darkest days of the French Revolution.

When the killer grows ever more desperate and vicious, Sebastian finds his new marriage to Hero tested by the shadows of his first love, especially when he begins to suspect that Kat is keeping secrets of her own. And as matters rise to a crisis, Sebastian must face a bitter truth–that he has been less than open with the fearless woman who is now his wife.

I know it must be difficult to keep a series going, especially when the series involves historical events, mystery and romance. Many fall by the wayside after a while and turn stale. Yet C. S. Harris makes it look so easy; each book in the marvelous Sebastian St. Cyr series is a nail-biting tale of mystery and suspense in Regency-era London – and even for this, the 8th installment, the journey is just as exciting as ever.

In What Darkness Brings death and murder come very close to Sebastian’s door, when the husband of Sebastian’s former love Kat Boleyn is accused of murdering a rather disgusting gem dealer and pawn broker. Kat’s husband Yates professes his innocence – and Sebastian has very little time to find the real culprit as it seems that the power behind the throne, none other than Sebastian’s own father in law – Lord Jarvis, is very intent on keeping Yates just where he is. Moreover, Yates’ situation puts Kat in danger and embroils Sebastian in a case that creates a great deal of tension for him at home.

I think this book is again, one of my favorites in the series (I know, I keep saying that…) the complexity of the plot – with murder, a mysterious death, theft, political intrigue and a very special diamond all thrown into the mix – kept me on the edge of my seat waiting breathlessly for the final chapter where all would be revealed. I honestly had no idea where the plot would take me this time around. Harris also manages to avoid an overly convoluted plotline, yes, there is a lot going on in What Darkness Brings but it is never over the top.

There was also a great deal of quiet drama in What Darkness Brings. the delicate fabric of Sebastian and Hero’s relationship continues to grow stronger, but there are still obstacles in their path and Harris knows just how to show the reader the couple’s methods of dealing with whatever comes their way (both together and each on their own). If When Maidens Mourn was a book filled with revelations about Sebastian’s personal life, What Darkness brings is about his reactions to them. Hero and Sebastian are one of my favorite fictional couples and I simply can’t get enough of them, especially in those wonderfully poignant moments – and What Darkness Brings has plenty!

I see this installment as a bit of a turning point for the series. The consequences of the events in What Darkness Brings could bring about a great many changes in the next book – and as usual, the wait seems endless!

I am so very thankful that this series got extended, Harris is superbly talented at her craft and once again provides fans with a brilliant read that always manages to exceed (my very high) expectations.

Noa first fell in love with books when she discovered 100 acre wood and its inhabitants. To this day, the last pages of “The House at Pooh Corner” make her cry. In a good way. From“Calvin and Hobbes” to “The Iliad and the Odyssey” and lets not forget “Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes”. Biographies, mysteries, history books and romances all have a place on her bookshelves. Who needs furniture? This 29 year old singleton’s dream is to invent the zero-calorie chocolate. But until that day arrives, she tries to create sweet confections with whatever chocolate she can find. An MA in conflict studies (need a mediator?) means Noa loves a good debate, especially when she wins. If she were in charge, books would be free for everyone.
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