The young wife of an aging marquis is found murdered in the arms of the Prince Regent. Around her neck lies a necklace said to have been worn by Druid priestesses - that is, until it was lost at sea with its last owner, Sebastian St. Cyr's mother. Now Sebastian is lured into a dangerous investigation of the marchioness's death - and his mother's uncertain fate.
As he edges closer to the truth-and one murder follows another - he confronts a conspiracy that imperils those nearest him and threatens to bring down the monarchy.
©2006 The Two Talers, LLC (P)2015 Recorded Books
So many books, so little time!
When a beautiful young marchioness is found dead in the arms of the Prince Regent, Sebastian is asked by Lord Jarvis, the Regent’s cousin, to investigate. Sebastian is suspicious; Jarvis is a manipulative, powerful man with connections and influence at the highest levels of government and society, and is no friend to Sebastian’s father, Lord Hendon or Sebastian himself.
The viscount is reluctant to become involved at first, but when he sees that the woman is wearing a necklace formerly owned by his mother – who died when he was eleven – he is driven to discover the truth, both about the murder and the necklace. It’s an investigation that will lead him to uncover some painful secrets about his past as well as into danger when he uncovers a plot against the Monarchy.
This is a solid second outing for the viscount-turned-detective that reunites him with characters from the previous book – the street urchin, Tom (now Sebastian’s Tiger), former army surgeon Paul Gibson, actress Kat Boleyn and magistrate Henry Lovejoy. The mystery is well-constructed, and the secondary characters are well-drawn, especially the elderly marquess who was clearly devoted to his young wife. There’s also a nice helping of political intrigue; the revolution in France took place within living memory, there’s war on the Peninsula and the English monarchy is deeply unpopular; and there are those willing to take action in order to effect drastic change.
There’s also trouble ahead for Sebastian in his personal life. We learned in the previous book that the woman he loves was pursuing her own agenda, and it seems as though the secrets she is keeping are soon to be exposed. I can’t say I’m warming to Kat as a character, although she does actually help Sebastian with his investigation this time, rather than withholding information from him, so I suppose that’s a step in the right direction. But I can't buy into their relationship and don't feel any sense of connection between them; each says they're very much in love, but it's a case of telling rather than showing. Other than the fact that she's beautiful, he's handsome and they had a relationship six years ago which was thwarted by Sebastian's father, I don't know why they are together. I also found Sebastian’s persistence in wanting to marry her to be rather short-sighted on his part. Neither of them cares much for society’s opinion, it’s true, but he gives no thought to any children they might have, who would be social pariahs through no fault of their own. Here, Kat is the more clear-sighted of the two of them, even though she is tempted to give in from time to time. The other really annoying thing in this book was the number of times Sebastian’s “feral” /“extraordinary yellow”/“amber” eyes were mentioned; I stopped counting after the first ten, but surely this should have been picked up in editing.
Even so, I enjoyed the story and I like the way Ms. Harris is gradually unfolding Sebastian’s family history. I imagine this continues throughout the books, which probably makes it difficult to read or listen to them out of order, or as standalones.
Davina Porter’s narration is excellent once again, with age/station appropriate vocalisations for each character and clear delineation between them. I know that this series was recorded out of order; I believe books 7,8 and 9 were recorded first and that the first six followed later (along with recordings of books 10 and 11) – so I’ll be interested to note, when I get to book 7, whether there are any differences in her character portrayals. My favourite of all her interpretations is undoubtedly that of young Tom – he always makes me smile.
Davina Porter is one of the all time great narrators and she does her usually outstanding job in this book.
This is the 2nd in the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries and this one find Sebastian investigating the murder of a wealth woman in the arms of the Prince Regent. It is up to Sebastian to find the murderer and clear the Prince Regent's name. Along the way we meet the heir to the French Throne and Sebastian gets one step nearer in finding out what happened to this month.
What happens to Sebastian Mother's is an ongoing mystery about which we find out a little more in each book.
I really like this series and Audible is still missing books 3 and 4 from the series. Since they have just recently published books 1 and 2, I hope that the missing 2 books will be published this year, since they are already are in Audio, library editions, at Recorded Books.
Any lover of Regency Romance or Mystery will not want to miss this book which contains both a Romance and a Mystery. You will not be disappointed in this book. It demonstrates what a great writer C. S Harris is and how well she re-creates the Regency Period.
This series is the type of mystery novel I love best. It is definitely not a "cozy" mystery, but neither is it bogged down by procedural minutiae or ever-increasing levels of violence intended to shock jaded readers. While dark and occasionally gothic, it avoids crossing over into blood and gore horror. It's greatest strength is the sense of time and place, wrought with the aid of prodigious historical scholarship. History would be a much more intriguing subject in school if taught through the personal, human, lens employed by Harris. The way real people and events are woven throughout the series is impressive, always based upon real timelines and interests. The politics of the time offer insights into repercussions still felt today. The series also retains the reader's attention with complex, evolving characters, their psychologies enfolding across the novels as both the characters and the reader grasp hidden motivations, needs, and outlooks, becoming more self-aware and wise with time and maturity. In that sense, the series also offers an enlightening view of human nature. This is first rate literature all around, not just as a mystery novel.
I must say that audible is not being fair. They had books 1,6,7,8,9,10. Which was to said to be able to be read as stand alone too. Which is soooo wrong. After I finished Bk10 Audible put up Bk2 which I've just finished reading and find that I'm left with mixed feelings. I know that Kat and Sebastian will never be together and that Sebastian finds love again with Hero. But to read how much he cares about Kat now and wants to make an honest woman out of her just hurts me. And there is so much that we find out about Sebastian and the mother that he thought dead so long ago. I just wish audible wouldn't do this to us by putting up gaps in our story series!!!
Say something about yourself!
While I enjoyed the first novel of this series enough to continue, I believe in book 2 is where the series really starts to take off! I considered the first book (What Angels Fear) more of a "set-up novel" introducing us to the characters and it kind of had a "by-the-numbers" mystery, I was able to figure out the killer about half-way through. However, the writing had a lot of potential, the author was very good with historical details and I enjoyed the characters, so I decided to give the second book a shot. And I'm so glad I did!
The mystery in When Gods Die kept me guessing until the end and I was completely wrong about the who the killer was. I love how the author seamlessly weaves historical details into the story, even down to the way the British pronounced certain words and their everyday lives. For example, while obviously the Ton lived a very indulgent lifestyle and I knew about the parties and the London Season, I didn't realize that most of them stayed up very late. This in turn meant that most of them didn't rise until late morning and it was actually improper to call on someone before 11am.
I'm not the biggest fan of Kat, I like her character (she's a survivor) and she grows on me in the later books, but I don't think she's right for Sebastian romantically. It's a sad fact that love doesn't always win, and that those we love may not be best for us. Their love was wonderful but I don't think it would last, especially in that time period when social presentation and birth status was very important. However, that being said, I love how Sebastian seems to be ahead of his time in how he treats women, those of the lower social order and foreigners. I'm not sure if it's just his personality, his time in the army or the fact that he was born the 3rd son but it's nice to see.
Davina Porter is perfect in narration (I believe she's half-British/half-Scottish), I love the cadence of her voice and she has a very good voice for Sebastian and for Paul Gibson his friend. My only complaint is a lot of her other male voices tend to sound the same. There's kind of a dandy/metrosexual voice, a creepy villainous voice and a strong male voice that's a slight variation on Sebastian. That seems to be it. However, you get used to it (I just finished book 8) and it doesn't detract from the stories too much.
Fantastic continuation of the series. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin is asked to investigate when the Prince Regent is found with a dead marchioness in his arms. Sebastian refuses at first but is then shown what was found around the woman's neck. It is his dead mother's necklace, a necklace she was wearing when she was lost at sea 17 years ago. Plenty of action and intrigue. A great read.
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
When Gods Die: Sebastian St. Cyr, Book 2, Sebastian St. Cyr, Book 3, narrated by Davina Porter. I very much like detective mystery novels. Of course, I also read and was overwhelmed by the Millennium Series (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), am now reading Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole), Michael Connolly (Harry Bosch) and C. J. Sansom (Mathew Shardlake) the last being a Tudor times mystery series. Audible had a three for two credit sale on St. Cyr's compilation so I purchased the first three of this series. For Book 1, I wrote:
“It is the coming into being of a murder and other high crimes private investigator who comes from and specializes in matters dealing with the English Noble class during the Napoleonic Wars. This is the era and the people who gave birth to English Romantic Literature. Think Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.”
I recommended the book, and noted particularly the interesting cast of supporting characters. Well, Book 2 has failed on the developed interesting cast of supporting characters. The author seems to have fallen in love with her Sebastian and tells of him alone. Human interaction is just not here in Book 2. Making the matter more problematic the plot was not really a cohesive story and certainly not one to intrigue. just too discombobulated. The backstory of the Regal Prince (in place as a Regent) as his father, George III has gone made, remains a mush of a character but that interesting twist was not enough to propel the story.
One more book to go before a final decision on the series. The story is not totally inane and Ms. Harris is a capable writer and Ms. Porter a terrific reader. If you like cheap love stories (the love affair between Sebastian and the intelligent actress Cat continues but instead of being a woman of great depth she is not there for her uniqueness but rather Sebastian to have sex with and profess his absolute love for even though she is a commoner). You can read this book and amore at the gorgeous – powerful and allegedly cunning Sebastian, but the story proves none of that. His successes seem improbable. There should be more in a mystery than this novel provided. I have the next read to do and will do it but can only hope it develops better than this story.
Interesting twists and turns to the well-placed plot line. Devlin is a most interesting gentleman who isn't afraid to delve into researching a murder!
I highly recommend this novel. It has kept my interest at each chapter. The descriptions of various parts of English life of that time continues to hold me to this series.
A Colorado book reader and listener
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