Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

What Angels Fear

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What Angels Fear (2005) C.S. Harris

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is a somewhat dissolute young noble who returned from the Napoleonic wars far more bitter than when he left. A prickly relationship with his father and a willingness to fight duels have not helped his reputation, but he doesn’t much seem to care. However, when he becomes the suspect in a horrible rape and murder case, we can see that he doesn’t really have a death wish, and despite his protestations, his sense of honor and his desire for justice, have remained intact.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and very much liked Sebastian St Cyr. Despite all he has seen, and his wish to be cynical, he is still deeply connected to the world around him, and is offended by injustice–and not just the injustice of his own situation. But mostly I found him a very likable character. I also liked his she created a background for him that made him a good investigator. Serving in the military gave him one set of skills, but working in intelligence gave him yet another set of skills, both of which served him well as he attempts to clear his name.

Her attention to detail was also something that I particularly liked, and it always makes me feel a little better when the author of a period book is an historian. Not that the rest of us can’t get details right, but I think there is something about loving history so much you’re willing to get a degree in it that imparts itself when an historian writes a story set in the past. C.S. Harris filled the story with lots of little details mentioned almost in passing that made the period come to life, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The writing was also very good. The pacing of the story was fast, and I had to force myself put the book down at night, or else I would have stayed up all night finishing it.

The dialog was also well done and enjoyable.

“Those rumors I mentioned?” Christopher said in an undertone as he and Sebastian moved forward. “They say the last time Talbot fought a duel, he chose twenty-five paces, then turned and fired after twelve. Killed the man. Of course, Talbot and his second swore the distance had been settled at twelve paces all along.”

“And his rival’s second?”

“Shut up about it when Talbot threatened to call him out–for naming Talbot a liar.”

Sebastian gave his friend a slow smile. “Then if Talbot should have occasion to call you out for a similar reason, I suggest you choose swords.”

I did, however, have a couple of caveats about this book. I am not sure if I am going to recommend it to my grandmother, because it does have a bit of boinking, and the descriptions of the murder of Rachel York are quite brutal. The murder itself is not described, but the is a good deal of detail about the body and the blood etc. So if you are squeamish, you might be bothered by portions of this book.

All in all, I very much enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to the next book–which is sitting in my Amazon shopping cart as I type. If you like historical mysteries and thrillers, then you should definitely pick up What Angels Fear.
Rating: 9/10


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