Friday, April 21, 2023

Long Shadows

As anyone who read my written interview with C.S. Harris to celebrate last year’s release of When Blood Lies, the previous installment in this gritty historical mystery series set during the second half of the Napoleonic Wars, must realize, I am a hard-core fan of the Sebastian St. Cyr novels.

A large part of my enjoyment comes from following the maturation of Sebastian himself, as well as his relationships with various family members and love interests. But there are many other recurring characters—Hero Jarvis and her father; the actress Kat Boleyn; the Earl of Hendon, forever befuddled and somewhat appalled by the unconventional behavior of his heir; the Dowager Duchess of Claiborne; the pain-riddled surgeon Paul Gibson and, most recently, his live-in lover and fellow physician Alexi Sauvage—whose development I eagerly follow. So when I learned that another book in the series was in the works, I actively pursued the opportunity to feature the author on my New Books Network channel.

And the result was a wonderful conversation about how a young woman who set out to be an archaeologist wound up writing historical mysteries set in the 1810s. Read on—and most of all, listen—to find out more, including a hint as to what to expect from the next installment, What Cannot Be Said.

The rest of this post comes from New Books in Historical Fiction.

Fans of Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, know that the individual tales that form his saga combine complex, fast-paced, often political mysteries with a series of revelations about his family’s history that it would be churlish to reveal. All this takes place against the background of the Napoleonic Wars, mostly in Regency-era London with its vast social gap between the aristocratic rich and the starving, crime-ridden poor.

The eighteenth of Sebastian’s adventures, Who Cries for the Lost, begins a few days before the Battle of Waterloo, a cataclysmic event—unknown to the characters, obviously—that will end Napoleon’s military ambitions once and for all. A mutilated body is fished out of the Thames River and taken to Paul Gibson—a friend of Sebastian’s who served as a surgeon during the Peninsular War—for an autopsy. When Paul’s lover identifies the victim as her former husband and an aristocrat, the creaky wheels of the London policing system grind into gear. The Thames River Police may provide as much hope for justice as the costermongers and wherry boatmen of the city deserve, but a nobleman falls under the jurisdiction of Bow Street.

As the number of corpses rises and pressure from the Prince Regent in Carlton House intensifies, Sebastian must race to solve a series of baffling, seemingly disconnected murders before the outcry demanding a solution leads to the arrest and execution of his friends. Meanwhile, the country anxiously awaits reports from the Duke of Wellington’s army on the Continent, further stoking the tension, even as Sebastian confronts the reality of his nation’s past misdeeds during the war and wonders whether those atrocities explain the crimes being committed in the present.

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