Monday, July 23, 2012

What Darkness Brings

I don't think I posted this before. At any rate, here is the cover copy for What Darkness Brings, book number eight in the Sebastian St. Cyr series.

The death of a notorious London diamond merchant draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife Hero into a sordid world of greed, desperation, and the occult, when the husband of Sebastian’s former lover Kat Boleyn is accused of the murder.

Regency England, September 1812: After a long night spent dealing with the tragic death of a former military comrade, a heart-sick Sebastian learns of a new calamity: Russell Yates, the dashing, one-time privateer who married Kat a year ago, has been found standing over the corpse of Benjamin Eisler, a powerful gem dealer. Yates insists he is innocent, but he will surely hang unless Sebastian can unmask the real killer.

For the sake of Kat, the woman he once loved and lost, Sebastian plunges into a treacherous circle of intrigue. Although Eisler’s clients included the Prince Regent and the Emperor Napoleon, he was a despicable man with many enemies and a number of dangerous, well-kept secrets—including a passion for arcane texts and black magic. Central to the case is a magnificent blue diamond, believed to have once formed part of the French crown jewels, which disappeared on the night of Eisler’s death. As Sebastian traces the diamond’s ownership, he uncovers links that implicate an eccentric, powerful financier named Hope and stretch back into the darkest days of the French Revolution.

As the killer grows ever more desperate and vicious, Sebastian finds his still-new marriage to Hero tested by his loyalty to his first love, especially when Sebastian begins to suspect that Kat is keeping secrets of her own. And when matters reach a crisis, Sebastian must face a bitter truth—that he has been less than honest with the calm, fearless woman who is now his wife.


Jan Power said...

Love the cover! Love the major plot elements! Am SO DISMAYED Hero will suffer for "Kat-ness" in this one. Oi, I hoped they got over the hump in the last book.

/s/ Dejected in Annapolis

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your books! I discovered them this year and devoured them. I even re-read my favourite parts!

I'm terrified and completely excited to see what happens next. I honestly, am verging on the very precipice of being unable to bear what happens to Hero. I'm rooting for Hero with all of my heart and soul.

Now, I think I need a cup of tea - my nerves can't take it and it's still a year away!

Charles Gramlich said...

Very different kind of cover from what we've seen in the series before. I now have two of the series built up. I like to read 2 or 3 at a time. Looking forward to it, as always.

Courtney said...

Can't wait~but March 2013 seems way too far away.

paz said...

I love the synopsis! Of course Sebastian has been "less than honest"!
He has not disclosed the whole Kat/Hendon connection. He has not disclosed the fact his mother, as far as he knows, is off gallivanting with a Frenchman -- and as we know from previous books, Hero considers the French to be very much "The Enemy." He has not even begun to explain to her (or us! the nerve!) what he was up to exactly during the war. Lots of stuff for Mr. Devlin to reveal, methinks, and I am glad he is finally getting around to do some of it!

paz said...

I forgot to say I also love the cover! Different, but suggestive. I can't help but giggle: "Darkness Brings"...Sebastian?! Oh là là!

Could be very good, or very bad.

cs harris said...

Jan, the cover copy can be read in two ways, so is a bit misleading. If you'll look at Paz's comment below, you'll get an idea what is actually going on.

Anon, thanks so much! And it's really only seven months...

Charles, the cover is very different; I'm looking forward to unveiling the entire image.

Courtney, I know, it seems far away to me, too! I'm reading the copy edits now.

Paz, you nailed it! And what happened to Sebastian in the war forms a big part of the book I'm writing now, which has just been officially titled WHY KINGS CONFESS.

cs harris said...

How did everyone guess that cropped image is from the cover? I didn't say it is!

Mom in High Heels said...

I am on the floor in a puddle of delirium and joy. How will I last until March? I cannot wait to find out more about Sebastian's past. Like a pp said though, I dislike that Hero will suffer over Kat. I've never liked Kat. I was Team Hero from book one. Maybe I'll have that put on a shirt. :)
Still, March? Urgh. I guess I'll have to reread the series (again) to hold me over. Not that it will, but it will help.

Jan Power said...

Whew, thanks, I remembered after I posted how the advance blurb for WMM was misleading too. *smiling sheepishly* I am so in the tank for Hero it is embarrassing.

paz, your darkness brings Sebastian fillip is great!

I was re-reading Angels last night and noticed for the first time that Sebastian's Devlin device is a serpent and sword. That would look well incorporated on a book cover. Do you know if a courtesy title carries with it a coat of arms as well, or must one be called to Lords first?

March seems forever. It is hard to imagine the time warp you live in what with being over two books ahead of us and your fans clammering for what to you is old news. :)

Linhie said...

I agree with all the opinions here; I
m loving what we've seen of the cover. And the synopsis? Way to tease! I'm on the edge of my seat just thinking about all the possibilities.

I cannot wait to see how Hero and Sebastian pulls through with this next hurdle - which, but the looks of it, will be huge.

March 2013 seems such a long way off.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank you, thank you for the picture and the blurb!!! I love that it is about Russell and Kat. I'm team Hero as well, but still want Kat to have her happy ending. I'm hoping this one will carry her there, at least part of the way. I'm trying to keep myself busy with other books in the interim. Found a Georgian series in the "if you like St. Cyr" recommendations. It was OK, but nothing compared to yours. Have now gone all the way back to the 1600's with the Hangman's Daughter series. Trying to muddle through until March. Sabena

Anonymous said...

Oh, and forgot to say that I'm so excited you've brought in the Hope diamond. It sounds intriguing. Sabena

RevMelinda said...

Evocative image and provocative cover copy Candice! The more I learn about your characters and their actions/motivations in the past, the more the current mysteries deepen and the more fascinating it all becomes. Like everyone else, I can't wait for March. . .

Anonymous said...

YAY! I CANNOT wait for all of his secrets to be revealed .

I'm not even going to begin to work out how exactly the cover works. It's quite tantalizing .

March is just seven months too long away from us ;)

cs harris said...

Mominhighheels, you're right, it hasn't been easy for Hero. But then, Sebastian wouldn't be Sebastian if he just suddenly fell out of love with Kat!

Jan, the Australian editions did use the device on their covers. At the moment my agent is lobbying to get knew covers for the American Gods and Heaven. I doubt we'll get far!

Linhie, this is definitely going to be pivotal in Hero and Sebastian's relationship.

cs harris said...

Sabena, I think the cover copy came through when I was so sick that I totally spaced out that I never posted it, so thanks for the nudge! I was just sent an ARC for the new Hangman's Daughter series. What do you think of it? I wish they'd found him a better translator. I had a lot of fun weaving the Hope Diamond in--it has a fascinating story behind it, and they're finding out more all the time. And it really did surface in London in September 1812.

RevMelinda, the book I'm currently writing is a lot of fun because it brings out so much of Sebastian's past.

Anon, I'm still waiting for approval to show the cover. It is very, very different from the previous ones.

Essex said...

You aren't kidding that the cover is different - makes me very curious to see the rest of it!
As I re-read the last few books, I have to admit that on the surface it seems like a textbook case of "what to do to guarantee a divorce" - keeping secrets from each other, staying in touch with old girlfriend, allowing in-laws to interfere. . . I guess that is why the dynamic remains so interesting. I couldn't expect that Sebastian and Hero would ever do things the easy way, would they? I am looking forward to the next installment, and am already very curious about Why Kings Confess. As others have mentioned, I find waiting until March quite difficult.

Anonymous said...

I love the cover copy. It almost looks like Hugh Dancy from Daniel Deronda. Poor Kat and Sebastian though... of course Sebastian still loves Kat, he's been in love with her for 10 years - you don't get over that quickly, even if you have replaced her with a new wife...(I was totally for Team Kat - can you tell? :)
Can't wait till March though! Will you be doing any giveaway contests for ARC's?

LOgalinOR said...

I have just recently completed reading all the Sebastian St. Cyr books and can honestly say it is my fave of all time. I was Team Kat and heartbroken for weeks for Kat and Sebastian. It took me awhile before I could continue reading with Hero emerging as a main character. Now I am totally Team Hero. Ms. Harris, your characters are so well developed that I think and even dream about them constantly. They are truly BBF-best books ever. I also reread so many parts from the various books. I don't know how any of your readers can wait until March 2013. Any hints on how to deal with withdrawl? Just absolutely love, love, love your characters and the continuous twists in the ongoing plots.

Anonymous said...

Happy to nudge you anytime ;-) You had mentioned that the cover was going to be unusual, but, no, we hadn't seen either the pic or the copy. So, again, thank you! As to the Hangman's Daughter series. I actually liked the second one better than the first, but overall thought it was well worth reading. My family is German, originating out of that region, so I really enjoyed all the German words and have fun doing the pronunciations in my mind. I can understand and used to be able to speak when I was young. Now, not so well. My parents' home is full of Swabian things and yes, when I was young I was in the "Donauschwabishe Tanz Gruppe" -Danube Swabian Dance Group, sigh. See Perhaps this is why I enjoyed the books so much. Let me know what you think of them. I really have to get to the Lyman series you guys are all talking about. I sounds like something I'd enjoy. We're in for a 'hot' one here in Seattle. It's going to be 80. Don't laugh. Sabena

Jan Power said...

On revelations between Sebastian and Hero, I think she has a much better idea of what is going but of course wants him to tell her. She heard Madame Champagne describe the killing of LaRoque as committed by "we" and so would she not have heard the comment about his father's eyes? I also wouldn't put it past her to have sneaked a peak at the shipping papers before Lovejoy removed them and checking Sebastian's birthday in Debrett's. He came upon her reading it once, if I recall correctly, for the Rippon family, yes, but mayhap for more. And wouldn't Jarvis be tempted to tell her (off stage, obviously) to try to dissuade her from marrying Sebastian?

For the record, I am fascinated by Kat as a character, just love Hero more in every way, especially as Devlin's love. Also no one here ever agreed with me but Napoleon's war was in large part personality-driven (and that the war ceased twice when he was exiled underscores that point) so her assisting him, no matter what the reason, is something I will never inure myself to. In the second half of his reign,imo, he was not just a symptom of war, he was war itself. When Hitler attacked Russia, he at least had the excuse of needing the Azerbaijani oilfields. Napoleon wanted Moscow as a bobble.

I have a vignette about the Hope Diamomd. My great aunt Joan worked at the DC bank where Evalyn Walsh McLean kept the necklace. Joan accompanied her to her safe deposit box several times and on every ocassion, she had Joan model the necklace. Joan said that it was much less beautiful than the rest of Mrs. M's jewels (it is a very strange grayish blue; I've seen it at the Smithsonian several times). The legend of the curse was known back then but Aunt Joanie did just fine. And despite all the tragedy that befell Mrs. McLean, she told my aunt she never gave the curse any credence.

Courtney said...

I've always thought that Hero guards her heart so closely because she knows or at least suspects that Sebastian is still in love with Kat and doesn't want to disclose her feelings for fear of rejection.

Anonymous said...

Hey Candie,
There is a fun little site called "Story Casting", where you can cast stars as the characters in your books. People have been doing it for your books, but I think it would be fun if you did it, so we could have the 'official' casting :)

cs harris said...

Essex, that's funny! Their marriage is definitely unusual...

Anon, Yes, I don't think a man like Sebastian ever stops loving once he loved, even if he does go on to love again.

Logalinor, thank you so much. I must admit, Sebastian's loss of Kat ripped my heart out when I wrote those scenes.

cs harris said...

Jan, If Jarvis had told Hero, I would have let the readers know. He didn't because he knew she was pregnant, so there was no point, and he was just nasty enough to let it play out and see when/if Sebastian was finally going to get around to telling her himself.

I agree Napoleon was an egomaniac--I remember the fury that filled me when I saw his tomb at the Invalides; such a shrine of worship for a monster who led millions to their deaths. Altho he actually did attack Russia for what he saw as a "good" reason: to force them to honor their treaty obligation to cut off trade with Britain. Interestingly, Russian cannabis was very important, since the British needed it for their rope and sails. Seriously! Google it.

That's fascinating about your great aunt and the Hope diamond! Personally, I've always found the problem with huge gems is that they simply don't look real, and most are to big to really be worn.

Courtney, yes.

Anon, I'll have to look this up. My problem is that I see so few films these days that there's an entire new crop of actors who I don't even know!

Jan Power said...

I knew about the treaty, not the cannabis (my midshiman at the Naval Academy always said it was American trees for masts that the Brits most prized in hanging on to the colonies for dear life). Knowing that, I still believe that was more a pretext than his main motivation, seeing himself as eclipsing Alexander. And boy did I share your rage standing below that porphyry "altar." Pretty ironic, isn't it that Porphyria killed George III and Napoleon is entombed in it?

The shift Napoleon pioneered from wars fought by professional armies to those driven by nationalistic fervor marks a terrible watershed for mankind. Have you ever seen the Minard flow chart of the Grande Armee's Russian march ( )? When I see that and remember that L'Empereur high-tailed past 400,000 of his dying men in his luxury troika, it makes me ill.

Apologies if the link for Minard is not functional, it can be copied and pasted for the curious. It is said to be the most superb graphical representation of statistics ever created.

You gave a hint of Sebastian's trauma in introducing Obadiah's atrocities with Spanish women and children. I always assumed that you left that as forshadowing. I know, I know, we have to wait until March! Durn!

Anonymous said...

i have to say i agree with Jan Power and Mom in HH. i'm all for hero and always have been! so i hope Sebastian does right by her and realizes what he's got. and 7 months really is torture when you think about it. but when all else fails try re-reading the series AGAIN. its what i do.


Susan/DC said...

To add to Jan's comment about Minard's map, it is a glorious example of how to present a great deal of data clearly and concisely (the geography, the temperature, the date, the number of soldiers under Napoleon's command). But the best thing is that Napoleon's name doesn't appear -- Minard hated war and did not want to glorify someone he saw as a warmonger, so he left Napoleon out completely.

Those who love the St. Cyr mysteries may also like Imogen Robertson's late-Georgian set series with Harriet Westerby and Gabriel Crowther. Both have similar intensity and fiercely intelligent characters, but they are still quite different. Like Sebastian, I do not forget my first love, but I find my heart big enough to love both.

And, much as I felt for Kat's tragic backstory, I've always favored Hero. I trusted Ms. Harris to take the story where she felt it needed to go, but I liked Hero and knew that there were very few men who could love and appreciate her as she was, and because Sebastian could do so he was the perfect match for her. Her inability to trust is, I think, due only in part to her knowledge of her husband's love for Kat. Hero knows that women lose their legal identity upon marriage, and she fears losing not just agency over her own life but her personal identity once she marries. It is taking time for her to realize that Sebastian does not want to take anything away from her but, rather, wants them to build a new life together based on who and what they are when they come together. In other words, he wants to add to her life, not take anything away.

cs harris said...

Jan, the Menard flow chart is chilling, is it not? All those mothers's beloved sons. Although to be fair to Boney, the Revolutionary Government began the modern "citizen army." It's one of the reasons they were initially so successful against the Prussians--they often outnumbered them ten to one.

Ali, I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Susan, I did not know that's why Menard left his name off the map! I haven't seen the Robertson series and will have to look for it (although I'm buried under my TBR pile at the moment). And I agree about Hero--without Sebastian, she NEVER would have/could have married.

Jan Power said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan Power said...

Emotionally, Hero has had almost as tragic a life as Kat: her beloved brother's constant belittling by Jarvis combined with fear for his very life due to his homosexuality and his eventual loss; her mother's many miscarriages, break-down, and continual abuse from Jarvis; her father's obvious disappointment she is not a son and condescension toward her causes; and her fearing deep down that in the right circumstance, Jarvis would consider even her expendable as collateral damage (much less his constant threat to Sebastian). Now she is in a coerced marriage with a man who loves another, a woman who has independence, a profession, and acclaim that Hero's high-born birth makes it impossible for her to achieve.

In reading some archives, I found a discussion of whether Sebastian would ever love Hero as much as Kat and most people said no. That pained me until I realized that is not really the question. Rather it is when Sebastian will realize he would not, even if he could, change a thing because forging a new life and family with Hero will give him a joy and contentment he would never otherwise find. And as Susan/DC points out, in that process, Sebastian's acceptance, admiration and approval that he is uniquely able to give will exorcise her Jarvis demons and Sebastian will have an uplifting, healthy love with a true equal.

At least that is what I think and hope.

LOgalinOR said...

I agree with Jan Power about Sebastian's growing love of Hero when he realized in WMM (chapter 50) "that he learned a man could come to love again without betraying his first love." As for Lord Jarvis, I was a little surprised that he did not make more of an issue of Hero marrying Devlin. He knows his daughter is strong willed and independent when she makes up her mind, so I think he settled for the old adage of keeping your friends close, and keeping your enemies closer. I also remember those fateful moments when Hero and Sebastian were facing imminent death in the underground chambers with the rising, incoming tide. They talked about their past lives and regrets. He told Hero some parts of his past during the war that he had never spoken to anyone, not even Kat. Sebastian also mentioned that his one regret was not having sired an heir.

It sounds like there will be plenty of twists and angst-filled emotion in the next book for Sebastian, Hero, and Kat. I also hope that by the end, Hero will become sure and confident of Sebastian's true love for her and their child based on his own words and actions, to the point she will not feel threatened by Kat. At least, that is what I hope.

Anonymous said...

so... i just finished lunch with a friend who is leaving my company. she is a big reader like me and we often trade names of books, etc. today i got on my C.S. Harris - Sebastian/Hero rant. i have sent her the website link and i believe i have made another convert. now i feel like i actually accomplished something today!

cs harris said...

Jan, i think it's probably significant that I am now ten years into a marriage with a man I love to distraction, and who just happens to be my THIRD husband.

LOgalinOr, yes, that's a very significant phrase you caught. As for Jarvis, he knew Hero was with child, and yes, he knows his daughter.

Anon, thank you! Word of mouth is sooo important to the success of a series. I just heard some good news today: What Angels Fear is going back to print again, which means more new readers are still coming on board.

LOgalinOR said...

Ms. Harris,
Great news that What Angels Fear is going back to print, meaning more new readers and many more ("fanatical")fans--Congrats!
Since there have not been any recent comments or posts,.... was just wondering, if in What Darkness Brings, do Sebastian and Hero take that honeymoon trip that was discussed in the beginning of WMM and had to be postponed because of Gabrielle's death, and was brought up at the end of the book with both Sebastian and Hero agreeing that they indeed, deserved that honeymoon. Is that something you can tell us, or at least give us a hint? We already know that Kat will be a major force for both Sebastian and Hero in What Darkness Brings.

wanderlust96 said...

I LOVE this series (am re-reading it in its entirety in anticipation of the next installment) and am thrilled to find a character like Sebastian -- he's fabulous! I just hope he remains worthy of the love of a superior woman such as Hero. Adore her! With Kat in the picture (again) in the next installment, I desperately hope Sebastian remains true and worthy and doesn't do anything that can't be undone, or forgiven. (I'm for Hero all the way -- although I sympathize with Kat, I never felt she was worthy of a man like Sebastian.) Thank you for this series!

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