By: C.S. Harris
Published Year: 2016
Amazon Barnes and Noble
This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided By Goodreads): Ayleswick-on-Teme, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has come to this seemingly peaceful Shropshire village to honor a slain friend and on a quest to learn more about his own ancestry. But when the body of a lovely widow is found on the banks of the River Teme, a bottle of laudanum at her side, the village’s inexperienced new magistrate turns to St. Cyr for help.
Almost immediately, Sebastian realizes that Emma Chance did not, in truth, take her own life. Less easy to discern is exactly how she died, and why. For as Sebastian and Hero soon discover, Emma was hiding both her true identity and her real reasons for traveling to Ayleswick. Also troubling are the machinations of Lucien Bonaparte, the estranged brother of the megalomaniac French Emperor Napoleon. Held captive under the British government’s watchful eye, the younger Bonaparte is restless, ambitious, and treacherous.
Sebastian’s investigation takes on new urgency when he discovers that Emma was not the first, or even the second, beautiful young woman in the village to die under suspicious circumstances. Home to the eerie ruins of an ancient monastery, Ayleswick reveals itself to be a dark and dangerous place of secrets that have festered among the villagers for decades—and a violent past that may be connected to Sebastian’s own unsettling origins. And as he faces his most diabolical opponent ever, he is forced to consider what malevolence he’s willing to embrace in order to destroy a killer.
When I was first approached to review this book I looked at the cover and almost didn’t even read the summary. This cover is so cheesy. It completely looks like a vampire romance novel, even though it is nothing like that. The summary, once I decided to read it was intriguing but I was a sill a little hesitant. What ended up convincing me to read this book was actually the recommendation from a friend. So in short, not a very strong start for this book based on first impressions.
What I thought
I might have found a new series!
When Falcons Fall is the 11th book in the Sebastian St Cyr Mystery series. Sebastian St Cyr is a Lord from London in the 1800s who has somehow managed to fall into the life of an investigator. In this novel, he is in the countryside for personal reasons when a murder occurs. The murder is staged as a suicide, but the new magistrate doesn’t believe that this is the case, so he reaches out to Sebastian for help. Once te death is determined to be a murder, Sebastian begins his investigation into this woman’s life and why she would’ve been murdered.
As a disclaimer, I have not read any of the other books in this series and I still greatly enjoyed it. I think because I picked up a book so late in the series, I didn’t feel a deep connection to Sebastian, but I still found him likeable and I enjoyed the way he solved the mystery. I think what made this book so enjoyable was that there were a lot of stories within one story. The main mystery was the death of Emma Chance, but within that mystery tied in 3 of 4 smaller mysteries. In addition to that, Sebastian is in Ayleswick to solve his own mysterious parentage.
In addition the Sebastian, I really enjoyed his wife Hero. I liked that, even though these stories occur in the early 1800s, Sebastian looks to her as an equal. She helps to solve the mysteries and brings her own ideas along, so she isn’t written as a sidekick. She also had her own storyline, that I imagine is something from the other books, as it wasn’t addressed heavily in this novel.
One of the biggest qualities I look for in a mystery is my ability to solve it. It takes a lot for me to not figure out a mystery and this one definitely kept me guessing! I think that was mostly because of the vast amount of characters in the story, but I think it was also due to good writing.
The only tough part for me was keeping everyone straight. I think the combination of this book occurring in 1800s England, the vast amount of characters, and the similar names made it a little difficult to follow at times. It was interesting to read a mystery occurring during a historical time period, as I haven’t read one before. It took a little bit to get into, but once I started it was fascinating. Harris does a great job of using the historical aspect for setting up parts of the story and the characters, but it doesn’t slap you in the face. I also really enjoyed the balance of characters. Sebastian is a smart man, but not without his faults, and Hero is a strong female character. The secondary village characters were also fun, and even though we didn’t get a lot of all of them, I found myself caring for them and wanting more.
By: C.S. Harris