In Harris’ (What Darkness Brings, 2013, etc.) ninth Regency adventure featuring Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin seeks the murderer of a French physician.
When surgeon Paul Gibson finds Damion Pelletan’s body in a seedy section of London, he’s horrified to see that someone has cut out Pelletan’s heart. The dead man’s companion, Alexandrie Sauvage, is also a physician, but her extended swoon makes her little help in the investigation Gibson launches with his friend Sebastian St. Cyr. The two are an unlikely combination: Gibson is a one-legged, opium-addicted son of poor Irish Catholics, and St. Cyr is Viscount Devlin, the Earl of Hendon’s heir. But they both once wore the king’s colors, and as civilian comrades, they spare no effort to find the murderer. Pelletan was the personal physician of a diplomat who, it’s rumored, is part of a delegation to negotiate peace between Napoleon and the prince regent. The failure of this plan, however, would seriously benefit certain parties, including a wealthy Scots arms dealer and the Bourbons in exile in England. Devlin is also suspicious of the motives of his ruthless father-in-law, cousin to the prince regent and the real power behind the throne. While Devlin tries to make sense of the connection between Pelletan and the French royal family, he worries about his beloved social-activist wife, Hero, who is nine months pregnant and facing a difficult delivery. The person who can best help her is Alexandrie Sauvage—and she’s vowed to kill Devlin. This grab bag of cross-dressing royalty, progressive women, missing heirs and international intrigue is laden with modern overtones and teasing hints from previous installments.
Devlin’s love for his heroic wife is the book’s saving element, just as she is the saving of him.