- Hardcover: 342 pages
- Publisher: New Amer Library (1 March 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780451232236
- ISBN-13: 978-0451232236
- ASIN: 0451232232
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 540 g
- Customer Reviews: 130 customer ratings
Where Shadows Dance Hardcover – 1 March 2011
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About the Author
C.S. Harris graduated with a degree in Classics before earning a Ph.D. in European history. A scholar of the French Revolution and 19th-century Europe, she has lived in Europe and various far-flung parts of the old British Empire. She now lives in New Orleans with her husband, a retired Army Intelligence Officer, and two daughters.
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I'm only giving this book four stars because, like the others in this series, it includes the use of a few words and turns of phrase that are specific to American English, which I find jarring in the dialogue and/or perspective of aristocratic English characters. Also, in this book I encountered the first actual error of historical detail that I am aware of: the mention of gold sovereigns in 1812, when they didn't come into circulation until 1817, after the Great Recoinage of 1816.
That's the only obvious historical error I've noticed in the course of six books, though. CS Harris's knowledge of the period is exceptional, and is one of the contributing factors that make these books such a good read.
On to the next one!
Top international reviews
Here, Sebastian is thrown into the midst of the complex diplomatic tangles of the era. With Britain being at war with Napoleon and his allies, almost at war with America and trying to protect Canada from America. Also being formally, but not actually at war with Sweden and heaven knows who else.
Sebastian's doctor friend buys a dead body to disect from the grave robbers. He particularly wants that body because it is of a very young man who has died, so it is reported, from a heart attack. The doctor wants to examine the heart in order to learn from in. Only, when examining the body he discovers that the man, who was a member of the Foreign Office, has been murdered. So he naturally contacts amateur sleuth, Sebastain St.Cyr. Then another dead body turns up, murdered in the same way, only this man is American. Soon Sebastian is up to his eyeballs in dead bodies, all linked to the Diplomatic Service and foreign diplomats.
Privately and as far as his family life is concerned, matters are strained with his father and Sebastian and Hero have decisions to make.
Very enjoyable book. I hope that C S Harris is going to continue with the series and not finish it here.
The advantage of reading these books in order is that you get to experience the evolution of Sebastian’s personal story. He is a man who is a bit tortured by his time as an officer, angry with his father, grieving for a woman that he loved and lost, and yet at the same time, beginning to find his way out of the loneliness and private angst stewing in the background of his life. Without spoiling anything, I will say that the last scene in this novel, is one of the most achingly romantic I’ve read in a good long while.
His preoccupation with solving murder mysteries came to him initially because he was charged with murder in the very first book - "What Angels Fear." From that first book forward, he has become embroiled in the solving of other mysteries and now he has it "down pat" so to speak. It's very interesting how he consistently and persistently follows up on the slightest leads until he finds a little truth here and there and then goes back to the individuals he has previously questioned only to turn up more clues, etc.
In this 6th book, "Where Shadows Dance" - although struggling with truths previously revealed about his own heritage, he continues to harbor strong feelings for the actress he has loved since she was 16 and he was 21 - Kat Boleyn. However, in "What Remains of Heaven," he and Hero had some interpersonal action when they thought they had only a few minutes to live which has resulted in some serious complications to their respective lives. One phrase that has stood out over and over in my mind was when Sebastian was trying to persuade Hero to marry him and he said these words "I promise to never give you cause to regret marrying me." This from a man who has only had one true love in his life and has spent months drinking himself nearly to death because he can't see how to go on without Kat. Yet, with his honor still intact, he makes this promise to Hero and the reader knows full well, he will keep his word.
When Sebastian's friend, Paul Gibson, surgeon, poppy eater and autopsier (not a real word) extraordinaire examines a man everyone assumed died of a heart attack, Paul notices that he was stabbed up high behind his neck. Sebastian is called in and before long more dead bodies are piling up even as Sebastian does what he does best. We have some great international intrigue but one of my favorite parts is when our dear Hero gets kidnapped and you will not believe how she so marvelously gets herself out of that one. The reader is beginning to realize she is named "Hero" for a very good reason.
**Spoiler** Although these books are primarily detective stories, the bits of romance Ms. Harris includes reveal some powerful feelings in the hearts of the primary characters. Let me share a portion of the type of romance to be found in these books.
Scene setup: Sebastian is standing by his window following the long day which included the wedding, wedding breakfast, etc. of his marriage of convenience to Hero, the woman who is carrying his baby and with whom, he has not entertained any expectations that would include a physical relationship. He is considering the fact that he is a young man, with all the healthy appetites of a young man with many long nights stretched before him. He is thinking that in his situation a different man might dishonor his wedding vows but not Sebastian.
Then, he hears the sound of someone walking into his room - it is Hero and she says, "If you don't want me here, just say so." Sebastian goes to her, takes her in his arms, breathes in her scent and then as he begins removing her chemise we read the following words: "When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall," he quoted with a soft smile "and she caught me in her arms, long and small." Then Sebastian carries Hero to their marriage bed, she wraps her arms about his neck and murmurs, "Sebastian."
You get it, the man has a store of beautiful poetry in his brain that he quotes during the most romantic moments. Ahhh, this is why I love these books.
The mysteries, crimes, perpetrators in this book are a really mixed up bunch - just the thing to confuse Sebastian and keep him running in circles trying to connect them all to one perpetrator. I'd describe them, but you can read the synopsis for that. I REALLY hated that Ross Alexander was the victim because I really came to like him and his fiance as I learned more about them.
Hero Jarvis is kidnapped -- and then saves herself -- I loved that part. She's a strong, independent, smart, capable woman and I'm going to love watching her and Sebastian deal with each other over the course of the series.
However, St. Cyr has found an unusual ally in Miss Hero Jarvis, who just happens to be the daughter of one of his most formidable enemies, Lord Jarvis, a cousin of the Prince of Wales, and a power behind the government. When Miss Jarvis, who is a confirmed feminist, abruptly accepts St. Cyr's offer of marriage everyone is left dumbfounded, but neither party is prepared to explain their unusual move, and as their wedding rapidly approaches, both are drawn into a series of seemingly unrelated murders which threaten to permanently derail both their marriage and their growing suspicion that there be more to their new life together than a mere marriage of convenience.
As usual, Harris has done extensive research into the Regency period, and her books have a solid background where her characters fit nicely. I have enjoyed watching the main characters develop, and look forward to the further adventures of the newly married pair.