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The year is 1814 and Europe’s leaders have gathered in Vienna to redefine the boundaries from Napoleon’s now defunct empire. As the book opens, Princess Tatiana Kirsanova is found brutally murdered and the suspects are as numerous as her lovers – and that includes Malcolm Rannoch, attaché to the British ambassador – everyone in Vienna is convinced he’s Tatiana’s lover, including his wife Suzanne. Or did Tsar Alexander do Tatiana in? Prince Metternich, the Austrian foreign minister? Might the infamous Talleyrand who has his fingers in every pie have something to do with it? What deep dark secret could Tatiana have stumbled on that someone would want to kill for?

Whew, the possibilities are just endless. This was a fast, fun and very entertaining read that will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. The cast of characters (historical and fictional) are large and complex and do use the guide the author provides (Dramatis Personae as she calls it). There’s plenty of history, mystery and romance (I’d have liked to see more romance, but beggars can’t be choosers). Suzanne and Malcolm are smart, intelligent, urbane and very very witty (do not mess with Suzanne, whatever you do), and I really appreciated the author including some real moments of interaction with their son, he was very much more than mere window dressing or a plot device. I loved watching their relationship develop and unfold and definitely want to read more, and from what I understand there’s more coming soon and from this blog interview apparently Grant has written other books on this pair, and had to change her name and the pair’s name with the new publisher Kensington. Why do they do that?

4/5 stars and just so Mr. FTC can sleep at night I obtained my copy from my county library. The world is still safe.

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