Kirkus Reviews occupies a special niche in the publishing world. They're known for flaying authors unmercifully, for being cantankerous and curmudgeonly, but also for being that rare, lone voice that will dare to say the emperor has no clothes. A lot of authors cheered when the publication almost went under three years ago, but I've always liked Kirkus, perhaps because they gave When Gods Die a star (a starred Kirkus review is truly a rare thing). Their reviews often make me laugh out loud--even when they make me wince. So here it is:
Napoleon and Prinny, England’s Prince Regent, both lust after a 45-carat blue diamond.
After Daniel Eisler, a gem merchant with a fascination for the occult and a sideline in blackmail, is shot dead in his untidy house, magistrate Bertram Leigh-Jones catches Russell Yates, a homosexual profligate, standing over the deceased and whisks him off to Newgate to await trial. Sebastian St. Cyr, still devoted to his first love, Kat, now in a marriage of convenience with Yates, steps in to prove him innocent. This noble decision not only endangers his own pregnant wife, Hero, but pits him against her father, Lord Jarvis, half the cutthroats skulking around Haymarket, and certain French agents Napoleon sent across the channel in pursuit of a diamond looted from the French crown jewels during the Revolution and thought to have been in Eisler’s possession. Was Eisler killed to retrieve the magnificent blue diamond? Was he slain by someone so in debt to him he had to let Eisler debauch his wife as partial repayment? Or did the Prince Regent himself target Eisler to reclaim the diamond that had been pawned by his loathed wife, Caroline? Jenny, a doxy who was hiding in a priest’s hole during Eisler’s demise, knows whodunit. But can Sebastian locate and save her from assassination and Yates from the gallows before it’s too late?
A lively foray into early-19th-century politics, treacheries and moral indiscretions, though fans of the series (When Maidens Mourn, 2012, etc.) will lament Hero’s relegation to a back seat this time around.
from Kirkus Reviews.