Set in the glittering yet dangerous world of 1812 London, nobleman and former spy Sebastian St. Cyr courts personal disaster in his effort to expose a murderer.
The latest request for help from Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin–from the Archbishop of Canterbury, no less–is undeniably intriguing: The bodies of two men have been found in an ancient crypt, their violent deaths separated by decades. One is the Bishop of London, the elderly Archbishop’s favored but controversial successor. The identity of the other seems lost in time, although his faded velvet attire marks him as gentleman of the eighteenth century.
To Sebastian’s consternation, the last person to see the Bishop alive was Miss Hero Jarvis, a woman whose already strained relationship with St. Cyr has been complicated by a brief, unexpectedly passionate encounter. It also soon becomes obvious that her powerful father has reasons of his own for wanting the Bishop out of the way. In an investigation that leads from the back alleys of Smithfield to the power corridors of whitehall, Sebastian amasses a list of suspects that ranges from some of the Prince Regent’s closest cronies to William Franklin, embittered son of famous American patriot Ben Franklin. Each step Sebastian takes toward the killer brings him closer to a devastating truth that could ultimately force him to question who–and what–he really is.
I discovered this wonderful series two years ago when browsing through the mystery section at a local bookstore, by then, the series was already in its third installment. I bought the first book, What Angels Fear on a whim, by the next day, there wasn’t a bookstore in Manhattan I hadn’t visited in my efforts to find the rest of the series – When Gods Die, Why Mermaids Sing, and Where Serpents Sleep.
In Sebastian St. Cyr Ms. Harris has created a fun, sexy, charismatic and exciting hero, and her wonderful writing makes the pages just fly by. The historical detail, the well fleshed-out plot and the engaging characters, meant that I finished each of the books in this series in one sitting, and of course, wished that each one was at least twice as long. Since that first purchase, these books have become the most sought after series in the house – with everyone clamoring to be first on the borrow list.
In the fifth installment of this addictive series, aristocrat Sebastian St. Cyr, soldier-turned-sleuth, is charged with the delicate mission of finding the murderer of the Bishop of London and with solving what might be a connected case – a murder that happened thirty years before. Now that’s what I call a cold case….
This book picks up right after where Where Serpents Sleep left off, and answers some major questions from the previous books, but it also raises new ones. St. Cyr is going to have to make some tough choices in the next book, which, from what I understand, will be the final book in this series.
As usual, the murder is only one of the mysteries that St. Cyr needs to solve. He is still trying to uncover the mysteries of his own past. Why is he so different from his siblings? What happened to his mother? And how is his father connected to the murder case? In this book, St. Cyr finally gets some answers. Ones that will mean he has to take an entirely different view of his life, and of course, the people in it. Favorite characters from the previous books make an appearance, including Dr. Paul Gibson, Tom, Kat Boleyn and of course, Hero Jarvis, the daughter of St. Cyr’s nemesis Lord Jarvis.
A fault of many series in this genre, is that the mystery in each book gets overshadowed by the overall storyline of the series, leaving a vague plot that causes the book to lag. Not in this series. While the mystery portion of What Remains of Heaven may not have been my favorite of the series, (perhaps because I was really waiting to find out about the consequences of certain actions from Where Serpents Sleep) the mystery keeps you on your toes, and comes to a satisfying conclusion.
As for St. Cyr’s own story, I hope it too will come to a satisfying conclusion in the final installment of the series. Ms. Harris, just so you know, I agree with Sebastian’s Aunt Henrietta….
I cannot recommend this series enough, and am counting the days until the final book Where Shadows Dance comes out (November 2010). If you are a fan of historical mysteries, this series is an absolute must on your booklist, and if you haven’t read them yet – you have five books to read to fill in the time before the next one comes out. In fact, I think I had better start re-reading….
What Remains of Heaven is out now in hardcover, paperback version will be out in August!
This book was purchased by Noa.