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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2014
I can't give this book the customary 5 stars that I have given the rest of the books. Of course, it was well written but I was extremely disappointed that Sebastian and Hero were given hardly any quality time together. Worse yet - hardly any time together period. With the birth of the baby pressing on their minds, in particular the fact the baby was apparently determined to be born feet first, you would think Ms. Harris might have had mercy on the fans and given us a little more sweet romance than she allotted for this book.

The mystery was also kind of a second rate version of the other books. Although the premise was interesting - involving a group of French royalists who were hibernating in England waiting for Napoleon to finish his misdeeds so they could get back in power as God's appointed rulers over France, you might have thought this would be one of the better mysteries. Yes, there were some mysterious happenings which might have/could be related to the little lost prince - Louis-Charles, Dauphin of France. That possibility was woven into the fabric of the storyline. But, other third rate bad guys such as Bullock who had a grudge against Alexi Sauvage was downright boooorrrring!

We know going in that Sebastian and Alexi had some history - this was apparent if one took the time to read the promos on the book. However, we barely get the story and not, in my opinion, the full story of exactly what transpired when their paths crossed when Sebastian was in the military. Lots of build-up going in but then, not enough of the details to suit me. That paled in comparison to the biggest frustration and I hate to belabor this, but I shall do so anyway. We were given so very little about the personal relationships in Sebastian's life. Not only the major lack of time together for our H/h but almost as frustrating - there was no progress made toward the reveal of the location of Sebastian's mother, neither does Hero allude to the fact that she knows Sebastian's mother is still alive. This fact was revealed to Hero in the last book and you would think she might have shared that juicy tidbit with Sebastian in this book. In reader "real time," that would be going on two whole years. Of course in Sebastian's and Hero's timeline, it has only been four months. Still, you would think Hero might have said, "By the way, Sebastian, your mama is still alive." Also, there was nothing about Sebastian's possibly half-brother John Knox - nada, nil in this book. I'm really considering changing this to a 3 star rating due to frustration. And, now we have to wait until March 2015 to get more of the story.

Ms. Harris - please pay attention: If you're going to charge upwards of $10.00 or more for these books, give us some intrigue about what we care about - that would be further reveals about Sebastian's familial connections and for crying out loud, some romance between Sebastian and Hero. Otherwise, I'm going to turn my attention to the Rannoch Adventures or even Julian Kestrel.

One last note: This is one reader that expects M.O.R.E in the next book.
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on 10 June 2014
In many respects, Harris' latest installment was an improvement over the previous St. Cyr novels I have read - admittedly, that is only a few in the series, but the writing seems to have become more fluid, the characters nicely drawn, the mystery sufficiently perplexing. To say nothing of the transportive atmospherics, which proved shiver inducing when coupled with the descriptions of such a gruesome crime. Honestly, this has never my favorite in the midst of the deluge of excellent historicals currently on the market, though I must admit this latest had me fairly convinced Devlin may yet be included on my shelf of best detective fiction.

Character driven books are what I crave most of all. Ironically, for me, it was both this particular book's focal point - and main weakness. Much as I enjoyed the attention paid in drawing such vivid characters, their faults were presented more starkly because of it.

The sub plot with Hero's doctor was infuriating. As was Devlin's nail biting over it. Hero herself, though a good character by her own rights, is annoying in her dismissal of her doctor's advice, questionable as it is. Even in the early 19th century, some of those views may have been held, but they obviously were not the prevailing ones or else humanity would never have survived. Whatever high horse the author was on with that inclusion nearly made me close the book for good. That, and the instances of authorial preaching of political views, especially those that are twisted to appear relevant to the time period, but which are, in actuality, notably anachronistic, invariably turn me off.

I would very much like to forge ahead with this series, as the improvements with each new one seem to be striking, but only if the preachiness is toned down. As it stands, I do still feel it made for a strong entry, and for the most part was an enjoyable read.
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First Sentence: Paul Gibson lurched down the dark, narrow lane, his face raw from the cold, his fingers numb.

A murdered French physician and a woman with no memory send Sebastian St. Cyr into the world of the ex-patriated French royal family and the mystery of the “Lost Dauphin”: the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who is presumed dead. Or is he?

The story begins with descriptions, not of elegant and refined London, but of dark, dangerous alleys and death. With each chapter, the story becomes more intriguing and compelling. The dialogue conveys the style of the period.

St. Cyr and his new wife Hero are very likable characters. Hero is pregnant and the arcane ideas of preparing a woman for delivery are terrifying. It’s nice to see that St. Cyr has moved on from his past and grown. Harris is very good at describing emotion, particularly the animosity between St. Cyr and his father-in-law, St. James. Nicely, all of the characters are very well drawn; none are short-changed. Each is brought to life in our mind’s eye.

There are a number of historic figures included in the story in ways, if not wholly accurate, are appropriate to the story. There is history we learn which is not that of which we learned in school and is terrible. At the same time, it is critical to the story. However, the historical information related to the peace negotiations between the English and Napoleon’s delegation, which conflicts with the English crown wanting the Burbons restored to the throne, is fascinating. The statement “We like to think we’re more civilized, more honorable, more righteous than our enemies, but we’re not….And once you realize that, it does rather beg the question: Why am I fighting? Why am I killing?” is true of any country, in any age, that engages in war.

The story is very well plotted, mixing history and fiction seamlessly. The numerous sub-themes--PTSD, phantom pain, privilege, childbirth and others--add depth to the story. The plot twist adds interest.

“Why Kings Confess” is one of the best books in the St. Cyr series so far.

WHY KINGS CONFESS (Hist Mys-Sebastian St. Cyr-England-1813) - VG+
Harris, C.S. – 9th in series
An Obsidian Mystery, 2014
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on 1 December 2014
Why Kings Confess is a great addition to the Sebastian St. Cyr series. Our inquisitive Vicomte is searching for clues to the twenty year old mystery involving the murder of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI's son. It has long been rumored that he was exchanged and the child who died was a deaf mute. C.S. Harris wonderfully recreates Marie Theresa, Marie Antoinette's daughter abrasive personality and really gives a vivid portrait to the political unrest of the displaced French court. Villains abound, and the reader is left guess who is really royal, and who could be a murderer. I love the budding emotion St. Cyr develops for his wife, and Hero is a delightful character. I wish it had more of the heat between Jarvis, and Hendren, his 'father' was missing for most of the book. I can't wait for the next one and see how the characters will grow.
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on 28 March 2014
I have looked forward to this book for a year since I read the previous one in the series. This book does not disappoint. A very complicated plot and amazing detail about life in that period. Hero and Sebastien are great individuals, both strong minded and fair. Please write the next book.
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on 20 June 2014
This book excellent, really takes you to the 18th century.
Wish I had a Sebastian in my life!!!!
Buy this book
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on 9 August 2014
Brilliant series great escapism fun to read
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on 22 March 2015
very enjoyable
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