3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
First Sentence: A cool wind gusted up, rustling the branches of the trees overhead and bringing with it the unmistakable clatter of wooden wheels approaching over cobblestones.
Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is surprised by an early morning visit from his friend Paul Gibson. Paul, surgeon who practices dissection and autopsies, received a body from the snatchers. The young man was said to have died of a heart attack but was murdered. Who better to turn then Devlin, an investigator with a staunch belief in justice? Complications and matters of international intrigue arise when it's learned that the deceased had worked for the Undersecretary of State for the Foreign Office. On a personal level, during an investigation two months prior, Devlin found himself in a life-threatening situation with Hero Jarvis, daughter of an enemy to his family. The situation resulted in the need for Devlin and Hero to marry. While neither father is happy about it, Devlin is learning Hero might make a better match for him than he'd have guessed.
Ms. Harris, without prologue or portent, draws you into a story from the first page and compels you to read on. Her dialogue reflects both the period and the economic status of each character, reflecting her attention to detail. Ms. Harris' use of humor, even black humor, brings light to the dark.
With well-written descriptions, Ms. Harris paints visual pictures and provides a very strong sense of time and place. This is enhanced by the elements of historical information which not only add veracity to the story, but are fascinating and evidential of the author's research on such things as the Bills of Mortality; information on deaths compiled by the elderly women in each parish for more than 200 years prior to 1812. There are, however, a lot of political maneuverings which are a bit confusing. The inclusion of a map would have been very helpful.
It is with the characters and their story that this book lets the reader down, particularly as compared to previous books in the series. I had to remind myself that the protagonist, St. Cyr, is not yet 30 years old and has received a major shock in learning that his past is not at all when he had been raised to believe. At the same time, he is a former soldier, and so the machinations and emotional angst are becoming a bit of a soap opera and his having preternaturally acute hearing and sight gets to be a bit much. The secondary protagonist of Hero Jarvis is delightfully independent and forward-thinking, while mindful of the rules and her role in society, but it did seem unlikely she would be quite as sanguine as she was in certain situations. But they are surrounded by other, quite wonderful characters, including the doctor and anatomist Gibson, St. Cyr's young `tiger' Tom and his majordomo Gibson.
Even with the weakness of the characters, "Where Shadows Dance" was an enjoyable book to read and fit well within the series, which should be read in order. It will be interesting to see where Ms. Harris takes the series from here. One hopes for more plot and less soap.
WHERE SHADOWS DANCE (Hist Mys-Sebastian St.Cyr-England-1812) - Good
Harris, C.S. - 6th in series
Obsidian, ©2011, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780451232236
I'm a "Johnnie Come Lately" to this fabulous series and right now I'm very regretful that, although I only began the series a few days ago, I made the mistake of reading all the books within a week, so now I must wait until March 2015 to get me some more Sebastian and Hero. I. Love. Sebastian. He is one of the most honorable regency Main Guys you will ever read about. Plus, he is sexy, can see in the dark and fights like a tiger.
His preoccupation with solving murder mysteries came to him initially because he was charged with murder in the very first book - "What Angels Fear." From that first book forward, he has become embroiled in the solving of other mysteries and now he has it "down pat" so to speak. It's very interesting how he consistently and persistently follows up on the slightest leads until he finds a little truth here and there and then goes back to the individuals he has previously questioned only to turn up more clues, etc.
In this 6th book, "Where Shadows Dance" - although struggling with truths previously revealed about his own heritage, he continues to harbor strong feelings for the actress he has loved since she was 16 and he was 21 - Kat Boleyn. However, in "What Remains of Heaven," he and Hero had some interpersonal action when they thought they had only a few minutes to live which has resulted in some serious complications to their respective lives. One phrase that has stood out over and over in my mind was when Sebastian was trying to persuade Hero to marry him and he said these words "I promise to never give you cause to regret marrying me." This from a man who has only had one true love in his life and has spent months drinking himself nearly to death because he can't see how to go on without Kat. Yet, with his honor still intact, he makes this promise to Hero and the reader knows full well, he will keep his word.
When Sebastian's friend, Paul Gibson, surgeon, poppy eater and autopsier (not a real word) extraordinaire examines a man everyone assumed died of a heart attack, Paul notices that he was stabbed up high behind his neck. Sebastian is called in and before long more dead bodies are piling up even as Sebastian does what he does best. We have some great international intrigue but one of my favorite parts is when our dear Hero gets kidnapped and you will not believe how she so marvelously gets herself out of that one. The reader is beginning to realize she is named "Hero" for a very good reason.
**Spoiler** Although these books are primarily detective stories, the bits of romance Ms. Harris includes reveal some powerful feelings in the hearts of the primary characters. Let me share a portion of the type of romance to be found in these books.
Scene setup: Sebastian is standing by his window following the long day which included the wedding, wedding breakfast, etc. of his marriage of convenience to Hero, the woman who is carrying his baby and with whom, he has not entertained any expectations that would include a physical relationship. He is considering the fact that he is a young man, with all the healthy appetites of a young man with many long nights stretched before him. He is thinking that in his situation a different man might dishonor his wedding vows but not Sebastian.
Then, he hears the sound of someone walking into his room - it is Hero and she says, "If you don't want me here, just say so." Sebastian goes to her, takes her in his arms, breathes in her scent and then as he begins removing her chemise we read the following words: "When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall," he quoted with a soft smile "and she caught me in her arms, long and small." Then Sebastian carries Hero to their marriage bed, she wraps her arms about his neck and murmurs, "Sebastian."
You get it, the man has a store of beautiful poetry in his brain that he quotes during the most romantic moments. Ahhh, this is why I love these books.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I love this series by CS Harris. The combination of the murder mysteries and the complex private and family life of Sebastian work well together. If a first timer to this series, you must read them in order to understand what has been going on in Sebastian's life.
Here, Sebastian is thrown into the midst of the complex diplomatic tangles of the era. With Britain being at war with Napoleon and his allies, almost at war with America and trying to protect Canada from America. Also being formally, but not actually at war with Sweden and heaven knows who else.
Sebastian's doctor friend buys a dead body to disect from the grave robbers. He particularly wants that body because it is of a very young man who has died, so it is reported, from a heart attack. The doctor wants to examine the heart in order to learn from in. Only, when examining the body he discovers that the man, who was a member of the Foreign Office, has been murdered. So he naturally contacts amateur sleuth, Sebastain St.Cyr. Then another dead body turns up, murdered in the same way, only this man is American. Soon Sebastian is up to his eyeballs in dead bodies, all linked to the Diplomatic Service and foreign diplomats.
Privately and as far as his family life is concerned, matters are strained with his father and Sebastian and Hero have decisions to make.
Very enjoyable book. I hope that C S Harris is going to continue with the series and not finish it here.