Clearly the fact that I've already read the latest installment in the Sebastian St. Cyr series means that I'm hooked on this series - I've bought it in hardback (no Kindle!) and read it in a day, even though I work fulltime and have a family! I adore these characters and the picture that Harris never fails to paint of this point in history. She even brings us a bit of Americana in Where Shadows Dance. But really, the body count in this one rivals a Quentin Tarantino movie and starts to stretch the limits of credibility. I realize that the streets of Regency London were rough, but honestly! Even our beloved Hero (and I don't mean St. Cyr, as beloved as I find him, but our emerging main female protagonist, Hero Jarvis) turns into a veritable Laura Croft at one point. I know she's tough, and I might be able to accept that as a tough broad she can defend herself, but...well, I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it yet, but Uma Thurmon in Kill Bill has nothing on Hero. I must also admit that the complex plot of international intrigue lost me at times. I always managed to catch up and in the end, got where Harris was going. I'm of a mixed opinion about the red herrings she throws about and who the "murderer" was, but it's a believable conclusion. Ultimately, I can't bring myself to give this a 5 star rating but can't give it a 3 either because in the end, the characters win out. If this was my first St. Cyr mystery, I'm not sure what my opinion would be. But it's not, and just like with the previous ones, I find myself mourning the fact that I'm going to have to wait an entire year before I see where our man Sebastian goes next. I adore his character, I adore Hero Jarvis (have since the first book when he kidnapped her!), I adore Tom the Tiger, I adore Gibson, etc. OK, I don't adore Kat Boleyn and have not since the first book. For all the poignant passion between her and St . Cyr she's rubbed me the wrong way and I don't think we've seen the last of her trouble. Yeah, I'm definitely in the Hero camp, but I appreciate the tension that Kat (and I'm sure her privateering husband) will play in future books. I do hope that Harris continues to develop what is clearly a promising partnership between Sebastian and Hero.
I wonder if the public's hunger for the next installment is part of the problem - I'm sure Harris is under pressure to turn out a new book once one is released. We might all be better served if a few extra months were allowed to polish and refine. Having said all this - the minute I can preorder the next installment, it's done!