The latest in C.S. Harris’ historical mystery series came out on April 7. I was lucky to read it before it came out because I requested an early copy from the publisher. I have been addicted to this series since I started reading it last year. Now I’m mad that I’m caught up and have to wait a year to read the next installment. This series has everything that I feel a good series should have. If a reader is going to commit to several books (the Sebastian St. Cyr series currently has fifteen), then you as the author need to make it worth their while. C.S. Harris nails it. Every. Single. Time.
The series follows Sebastian St. Cyr, a young viscount who is a veteran of the French wars and lives in relative luxury with a passion for solving crimes. The first book actually has him as a suspect and it is that experience that launches his side career of assisting Bow Street with investigations. This kind of activity is very much frowned upon by society and his nobility peers. Sebastian doesn’t care about their opinions, only about seeking justice for all walks of life, a character trait that follows him through the series and makes him a great character. Throughout this series, Sebastian experiences heartbreak and betrayal but never gives up on himself or those he loves.
Some side characters include the beautiful actress Kat Boleyn and her romantic entanglement with Sebastian. Hero Jarvis is the fiercely independent daughter of Charles Lord Jarvis who is a distant cousin and very close council to the Regent Prince of England. Lord Jarvis is ruthless in his pursuits on behalf of the royal interests and crosses unfriendly paths with Sebastian more than once. Paul Gibson was a combat doctor who serves with Sebastian in the wars abroad. Although their backgrounds could not be more different, their friendship is unwavering and Gibson’s knowledge of anatomy and willingness to experiment in the controversial science of autopsies provides Sebastian and Bow Street with new insights which aid them in their investigations. Sebastian’s father and aunt are also recurring characters who advance story plots in each book but also allow the author to flesh out family intricacies in order to build further character development.
C.S. Harris blends history with fiction seamlessly and follows each book with an author’s note in which she discusses her research and how she developed the story. Between the characters and the historical time period, I’m not sure which is my favorite aspect of the books. Also, I listened to the majority of these titles as audiobooks and I cannot complement the narrator enough. Davina Porter reads all of these books and she is incredible. I became so used to hearing her voice, that when I read a physical copy of the latest book, I could hear her reading it in my head.
The first book in this series is What Angels Fear and I cannot suggest enough that you start this series. You’re stuck at home. I’m recommending fifteen books to you right now. That should keep you busy for a while.