Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Series Review - Sebastian St. Cyr.



Sebastian St. Cyr. Ex soldier in the Napoleonic Wars and Viscount Devlin, heir to the Earl of Hendon. The series came to my attention through our Goodreads book club and I have been delighted with the recommendation. While the series has distracted me from reading challenges and book of the month's it's been a fabulous find. The series are mysteries and follow Sebastian's growing interest in solving murders. He seems to have a special talent for it. Luckily he has a couple of attributes which make him ideally suited to the role. C.S Harris has created a character who sucks you in and her vivid descriptions of London and it's surrounds draws the reader into the depths of the tale she weaves. The bonus of this series is that as of yet, I've only been able to work out who the murderer once. Even that single time I still couldn't work out how it all played out to lead to the victims death. Riveting and compelling, this series is well worth reading. 

After the jump I'll let you know what I love so much about this series.


Spoiler free overview of the series.




Lead Character


Sebastian St Cyr with his yellow eyes, his keen sense of hearing and his interest in murder. While his interest in murder may initially be cautious, it's clear Sebastian has a talent for discovering who has committed crimes against strangers and people he knows. It is his doggedness and determination which allows the reader to glimpse that in the end he will catch the killer/s.  In the background echoes Sebastian's experiences in the Napoleonic Wars and his insomnia and nightmares are a continuing shadow he cannot escape. This is even when events lead to him having  a kind of normal home life. Characters that Sebastian knew during the war also surface every so often and bring back some memories he would rather forget.

We get to traverse with Sebastian through the trials and tribulations of romance, family, action, suspense, mystery and fast paced action. Sebastian's family are their own wonderful concoction of delight and dread. If you don't find Sebastian's sister a little scary and frightful than I warn you she has sharp claws.


The Major Adversary


The major adversary for Sebastian is Lord Jarvis, cousin and adviser to the Prince Regent George, later to become George IV.  Jarvis is the spider of the series, who weaves and wheedles his way to protecting the monarchy and his past. Jarvis often knows more than he discloses and is reluctant for Sebastian to pursue cases that go against the interest of the Crown. Sebastian ultimately does get one up on Jarvis though and it's interesting to watch it play out. Jarvis has a network of spies. Essential for anyone who needs information. Unfortunately Sebastian doesn't like to play Jarvis' games and this leads to a continued undercurrent of distrust and suspicion between them. There is always that sense that we love it when Sebastian gets the better of Jarvis.


The Scene


London in the early 19th century is brought vividly to life. It's clear that C.S Harris' history degree has been put to good use. The description language Harris uses makes you see the drab, the dreary and the decay. For often our hero has to go into areas of London not frequented by a gentleman.  London as a backdrop is a brilliant move as there is such a contrast of circumstance for our characters and it's a time of upheaval.  The Napoleonic Wars are still ongoing. Murmurings from the United States and the worry that the United States would invade Canada. The French are plotting in the background as well. All shows the climate of political intrigue that Sebastian needs to negotiate. As time goes on he finds a partner who is far better at the political game than he is.


Summary


The series is already 9 books long, with book 10 Who Buries the Dead, due out in 2015. If you are a lover of well crafted mystery books, than this is a series that I feel doesn't disappoint. The series continues to go from strength to strength and really hits it stride from Where Serpents Sleep #4 onwards. There are plenty of twists and turns to captivate the reader to find out what is going to happen at the end of each book and a thoroughly likable lead character in Sebastian. C.S. Harris has created one of those series that I wait with anticipation to see what the next book will reveal.

Sebastian St Cyr Series in Order.

What Angels Fear #1
When Gods Die #2
Why Mermaids Sing #3
Where Serpents Sleep #4
What Remains of Heaven #5
Where Shadows Dance #6
When Maidens Mourn #7
What Darkness Brings #8
Why Kings Confess #9
Who Buries the Dead #10 - to be released March 2015.



2 comments:

  1. I absolutely, wholeheartedly second this recommendation! I should mention that prior to this series I didn't even consider myself a fan of period books/movies and always refused my mother's requests to watch anything from her extensive Jane Austen collection. Now I drool at the idea of a man in a waist coat, cravat, buckskins, and Hessian boots. Gotta have those Hessians!!

    Veronica G.

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    1. Yes to the Hessian boots!!!! We need more people to read this fantastic series. Thanks for your wonderful recommendation. :)

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