Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

The Emperor’s Assassin

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Emperor’s Assassin Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner (2003) T.F. Banks
aka Ian Dennis and Sean Russell

Although this book was as well written as the previous, I found myself disappointed in the ending. The mystery was perhaps even better than the first book, however, it was a Hollywood ending, with guns a-blazing, shots fired, men dying, near death, etc. I know that these things sometimes happen, but such endings rank rather low on my believability scale.

Which was entirely too bad, since up to that point this was an excellent mystery.

The body of a young woman is found on the rocks, made to look as if in despair, she’d thrown herself to her death. However, Henry and the surgeon have their doubts, and thus Henry finds himself looking into her death, and involved in the deadly game of international politics.

There were several things I absolutely loved about this book. I loved that they explained precisely how they used the woman’s clothing to find out her name. I also liked how Arabella was able to help Henry, and how her assistance seemed reasonable–even likely.

Also well done was how Henry and Jimmy split the questioning. Henry with his more refined manner, questioning the lords and ladies, while Jimmy, child of the Cheapside, questioning the servants. I found the way they divided the labor reasonable, not only because of their mannerisms, but also because of their relationship.

I also liked that we had brief glimpses of Lucy–she had a rough enough history, it’s good that Arabella continues to look after her, and it’s good that she wasn’t just discarded as a plot device from the last book, never to be seen again, unless the plot requires it.

Henry’s family was an interesting twist as well. We met his mother in the last book. Now he is introduced to his half-sister, a woman who seems to been, in many ways, similar to Henry. If the series continues, I will be interested to see how their relationship develops.

And I want to note that although there were blazing guns, at least the pistols were realistic for the time, including their temperamental nature and frequency of misfiring.

So, other than the Hollywood ending, this was another excellent book. If you have not read the first book you should be able to begin here without much confusion, although as always, in a series it’s always better if you know the past history if the characters. I hope that they’ll continue with this series, but that they’ll skip the action/adventure endings in the future.
Rating: 7/10

Categories: British, Historical, Mystery     Comments (0)    

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