From New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander, a spectacular novel of historical suspense featuring the strong-minded and spirited Lady Emily Ashton
At her friend Ivy's behest, Lady Emily Ashton reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the sprawling English country estate of a man she finds odious. But the despised Lord Fortescue is not to be her greatest problem. Kristiana von Lange, an Austrian countess once linked romantically with Emily's fiancé, the debonair Colin Hargreaves, is a guest also. And a tedious evening turns deadly when their host is found murdered, and his protégé, Robert Brandon—Ivy's husband—is arrested for the crime.
Determined to right a terrible wrong, Emily embarks on a quest that will lead her from London's glittering ballrooms to Vienna's sordid backstreets—and into a game of wits with a notorious anarchist. But putting Colin in deadly peril may be the price for exonerating Robert—forcing the intrepid Emily to bargain with her nemesis, the Countess von Lange, for the life of her fiancé.
In Alexander's charming third novel of romantic suspense set in late Victorian England (after The Poisoned Season), Lady Emily Ashton is at a country house party when someone shoots her noxious host, Lord Basil Fortescue, with a dueling pistol. After the husband of a good friend is accused of the murder, Emily determines to find the real killer. The only clue, a threatening letter promising a political assassination, drives Emily to Vienna, where she meets the painter Gustav Klimt and shares stolen moments with her fianc , diplomat Colin Hargreaves. But Emily never forgets her urgent mission in the service of which she must match wits with double agents and anarchists as well as ally herself temporarily with Colin's former lover, the sexually sophisticated Kristiana von Lange. The appealing Emily at times comes across as too modern for even the most unconventional Victorian character, and the plot sags in mid-story despite several clever subplots. Still, the book's entertaining voice and accurate period detail will seduce most readers.