A 5-year-old boy becomes a pawn in an adults’ game when he's kidnapped by his uncle as his mother gives chase in late-18th-century England.
In the latest installment of Howell’s Wherlockes series, Lady Catryn Gryffin de Warrenne is a lovely widow with a painfully ordinary personality. When her dead husband’s brother, Sir Morris de Warrenne, kidnaps her son, Alwyn, Catryn hies off after him, injuring her horse within the first half hour. Fortunately for her, the carriage she steals to continue her pursuit belongs to Sir Orion Wherlocke, just the man to help her find her son: “His family and his colleagues in the government did not call him The Bloodhound as a jest.” Even better, Orion’s newly discovered 8-year-old son, a former street urchin named Giles, is inside the carriage when Catryn steals it. The Wherlocke clan is known for their supernatural abilities, and as Orion joins Catryn in pursuing Morris across the countryside, it becomes clear that Catryn and Alwyn also have some unusual talents and physical traits that indicate they may have ties to the Wherlocke family. Alwyn’s abilities appear, at first, to be a child’s game, a habit of talking to made-up people. But it soon becomes clear that he's really able to talk to ghosts. Giles appoints himself Alwyn’s protector, even when the newly rescued child is deposited at a Wherlocke family estate while his mother and her champion continue to hunt for Morris. While Orion struggles with his commitment to bachelorhood, Catryn struggles to understand her new insights about the hellish first marriage that produced her son.
The Wherlockes’ supernatural gifts complement each other and strengthen the story, making for believable and interesting plot twists in spite of the heroine's insipid personality.