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.
"Starred Review. The combination of complex back story, intricate plotting, surprising developments, and poignant evocations of the lives of the underprivileged makes this one of the best entries in Harris's superior historical series." - Publishers Weekly
"A lively foray into early-19th-century politics, treacheries and moral indiscretions, though fans of the series (When Maidens Mourn, 2012, etc.) will lament Hero's relegation to a back seat this time around." - Kirkus
"Historical mystery enthusiasts will enjoy this eighth in Harris's Regency-set series." - Library Journal
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C. S. Harris graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, with a degree in classics before earning a PhD in European history. A respected scholar of the French Revolution and nineteenth-century Europe, she is also the author of the nonfiction study Women, Equality, and the French Revolution, written under the name Candice E. Proctor. After years of living in England and various far-flung regions of the old British Empire, she now makes her home in New Orleans with her husband, retired Army Intelligence officer Steve Harris, with whom she has written contemporary thrillers under the name C. S. Graham.
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