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Why Kings Confess

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why Kings Confess (2014) C.S. Harris

why-kings-confessI gave up re-reading the past books and the series and jumped straight to the newest book. No more hardback books for me, I think.

The last several books have been set in a relatively compressed time frame–within a nine month period, to be precise, and in this book Hero finally goes into labor with Sebastian’s baby.

Having re-read the books, it’s somewhat amazing how Sebastian and St. Cyr went from, well, not precisely enemies, but certainly a very strong dislike of one another, to a married couple with Hero being the best thing that could have happened to Sebastian.

But, it’s not all romancey stuff, there is also a murder.

Paul Gibson, walking off a desire for Laudanum, discovers a woman lying in an alley, bleeding from a head wound, and a murdered man whose chest has been hacked open.

The body belongs to a young doctor who had been acting as the private physician to a French exile–and exile who was seen in the company of Lord Jarvis. When the reason for the young man’s death is given as a robbery gone wrong, both Gibson and Sebastian are suspicious. But the woman claims not to remember the attack, or to know why the doctor she was with might have been murdered.

It’s good to see Sebastian finally over Kat, who, while a good person, was not good for Sebastian. And it was also good to see Hero retain her independence and spirit, despite Sebastian’s fear the child would kill her.

It was also interesting to see Gibson’s issue with opium finally brought to Sebastian’s attention. But Sebastian was correct–Gibson’s pain from his phantom limb was true pain, and there were no treatments for such a problem at the time.

There is also a fascinating look at the Bourbon royalty in exile, especially Marie-Thérèse, who–with good reason–was one very messed up individual.

“I have it on excellent authority that Marie -Thérèse will never condescend to speak to me again, ever since I committed the unforgivable sin of daring to contradict her royal personage. It’s one of the many hazards of believing in the divine right of kings; you start equating yourself with God, which means you see your enemies as not merely annoying or unpleasant, but the literal servants of Satan.”

But don’t think that she was a weak woman, despite everything that had happened to her.

“I have heard Napoléon himself say that Marie-Thérèse is the only real man in her family.”

It’s also fascinating that–like Anastasia Romanov and even Elvis–reports of the Dauphin’s survival despite his death in prison were widespread. Rumor has always been willing to deny death.

Also fascinating was the look at pregnancy during the Regency.

“My lady, I beg of you; you must trust me in this.” He brought up his hands, palms together, as if he were praying. “Your color is too robust, and you have far too much energy. At this point, patients who follow my strictures are pale and languid, as befits a woman about to give birth. I shall have to bleed you again.”

It’s astounding what doctors (officially accoucheurs) believed was good and healthy for a pregnant woman: No protein, minimal food, no exercise, and frequent blood-letting. It’s a wonder any of the rich survived pregnancy.

Once again, I am reminded how much I love living in the future.

How was it as a mystery? It was interesting, if a bit convoluted, but my love of this series has always been the characters, so keep that in mind.
Rating: 8/10

Published by NAL


Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Mystery, Paper
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