Thursday, August 20, 2009

When Gods Die & Why Mermaids Sing by C.S. Harris

Books #2 & #3 in the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. Book #1 review here.

Brighton, England, 1811. The beautiful wife of an aging Marquis is found dead in the arms of the Prince Regent. Draped around her neck lies an ancient necklace with mythic origins-and mysterious ties to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin. Haunted by his past, Sebastian investigates both the Marchioness's death and his own possible connection to it-and discovers a complex pattern of lies and subterfuge. With the aid of his lover, Kat Boleyn, and a former street urchin now under his protection, Sebastian edges closer to the killer. And when one murder follows another, he confronts a conspiracy that threatens his own identity...and imperils the monarchy itself.

Not as good as the first installment, I thought. Although, unlike the first book, Sebastian did have a lot more freedom, seeing as how he wasn't running from the law.

The fact that throughout the book Sebastian was being followed kept my interest. The thought that there was someone hiding behind a bush or in a dark alley ready to off him at any minute him was pretty exciting.

They were a lot of action, chases and close get-aways to keep my attention peeked throughout the book.

Questions were left unanswered, but seeing as how this is a series, no doubt those we come afloat later.

The repeatedness of certain facts drove me a bit batty, but that's my only real complaint with this installment.

It's September 1811, and someone is killing the wealthy young sons of London's most prominent families. Partially butchered, with strange objects stuffed into their mouths, their bodies are found dumped in public places at dawn. When the grisly remains of Alfred, Lord Stanton's eldest son are discovered in the Old Palace Yard beside the House of Lords, the local magistrate turns to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for help. Ranging from the gritty world of Thames-side docks to the luxurious drawing rooms of Mayfair, Sebastian finds himself confronting his most puzzling--and disturbing--case yet. With the help of his trusted allies--young servant Tom, Irish doctor Paul Gibson, and his lover Kat Boleyn--Sebastian struggles to decipher a cryptic set of clues that link the scion of a banking family to the son of a humble Kentish vicar. For as one killing follows another, Sebastian discovers he is confronting a murderer with both a method and a purpose to his ritualized killings, and that the key to it all may lie in the enigmatic stanzas of a haunting poem...and in a secret so dangerous that men are willing to sacrifice their own children to keep the truth from becoming known.

The best book of the series, so far. No doubt.

The mystery was absolutely enthralling and very clever. Young men across the city are turning up dead, murdered, in brutal ways. That is one thing they all have in common, another is the connection of their fathers. A connection of a secret that has been hidden for years. What kind of secret would men keep, while their sons are turning up brutally murdered? The conclusion is one that is unfathomable and totally outrageous.

The other plus to this installment is the unmasking of the many layers of Sebastian St. Cyr. We start to see what the effects of war can really bring about in a person. With his actions and reactions, we start to see a darker persona.

My rule with a mystery series is that I have to have all the books when I start, or at least have the rest of them on the way to me. I do NOT have the fourth book yet and I have to say, I'm losing my mind a bit, here. The cliffhanger was just... immensely good.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Christy-

Your review of Mermaids is intriguing me. Do I need to read the prior books or can I just jump right into this one?


Christy B said...

Hmm, that's a good question. The first two books help set up the relationships between the characters, but then again, the author does summarize all that.

So, I guess you don't miss a lot starting with the third book. You can always go back and read the first two if you liked it. :)