This was a surprisingly powerful story, rather darker than the previous two Alison Stuart novels I have read. The vicissitudes of Kit’s life being on the losing side in a continuing atmosphere of hair trigger politics are very well delineated. Without long and turgid descriptions we are yet very conscious of a tenuous existence in the shadows, the danger and the loneliness that stalk the apparently cynical, insouciant wild liver and user of women.
There is added tension in the unrelenting presence of John Thurloe, Cromwell’s spy-master, ruthlessly manipulating all around him with a cold and calculated calm that is positively chilling. As the plot thickens, Thamsine falls into the hands of Thurloe and is made to work against her will for him. Psychological violence descends into physical torture as the plot and counter-plot are begun in the intricate game of survival.
The author manages to give a real sense of absolute desperation to both Kit and Thamsine. She makes this pair of anti-heroes highly sympathetic and likeable, whilst not varnishing their less admirable aspects. I found myself desperately hoping there was a highly compelling and ultimately noble reason for apparently despicable actions … but no spoilers, you will have to read it and see for yourself.
The story is worked through with good pacing and many tense moments. The drama of the romance that is born slowly and somewhat tortuously between the two is well played. There is one intimate scene that I found too long and too clearly described for my liking – though it was a wedding night …
The ending is well balanced, finishing the central story thread of this book and leading into the next and final book - that I am looking forward to reading when it is released in February 2016
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 759 KB
- Print Length: 374 pages
- Publisher: Escape Publishing (1 September 2015)
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B013AI1HVE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 10 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,413 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)