“The entire series is simply elegant.”—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author
In this historical mystery from the national bestselling author of Who Slays the Wicked, the abduction and murder of a young boy takes Sebastian St. Cyr from the gritty streets of London to the glittering pleasure haunts of the aristocracy...
London, 1813. One of the city's many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and murdered—and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin's fate, but Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, refuses to let this killer go unpunished.
Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world. As he follows a grim trail that leads from the writings of the debauched Marquis de Sade to the city's most notorious brothels, he comes to a horrifying realization: Someone from society's upper echelon is preying upon the city's most vulnerable. And though dark, powerful forces are moving against him, Sebastian will risk his reputation and his life to keep more innocents from harm...
Moving depictions of life on London's mean streets are the best parts of Harris's 12th Regency-era mystery featuring dashing Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin (after 2016's When Falcons Fall). Less memorable is the whodunit involving a search for a serial killer preying on children. After Benji Thatcher's mother was transported to Botany Bay, the 15-year-old street urchin cared for his younger sister, Sybil, until he was abducted, sexually abused, tortured, and killed. The grisly crime comes to Devlin's attention after a watchman by chance interrupts the burial of the corpse. Devlin fears for Sybil's safety and worries that the man responsible for Benji's ordeal has claimed other victims. As in previous books, Devlin crosses swords with his Machiavellian father-in-law, Charles, Lord Jarvis, the "real power behind the Hanovers' wobbly throne," who regards the deaths of orphans as trivial compared with the affairs of state. The plot develops predictably, but Harris is better than most in investing even minor characters with sometimes heartbreaking humanity.