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When Falcons Fall
Sebastian St. Cyr #11
C S Harris

Penguin Group (USA) LLC
rMarch 1, 2016 / ASIN: B00Z8VT89U
Historical Mystery

Reviewed by Carmen Ferreiro


It's 1813 when the body of a young widow is discovered by the river in Ayleswick, a small village in Southern England. Knowing the investigation of this supposed suicide is over his head, the young squire who is to run the investigation calls Sebastian St. Cyr to help. Sebastian, he knows, has solved several murder cases back in London and is now, together with his wife, Hero, and young son, staying at Ayleswick.

When Sebastian learns that the boy who found the body is Lucien Bonaparte's son, he suspects an international intrigue. Lucien is, of course, the younger brother of the "Beast" as Napoleon Bonaparte, then emperor of France, is known in the rest of Europe. Lucien Bonaparte has, supposedly, quarreled with Napoleon and is in England as a refugee. But is Lucien really England's ally or is he there as a spy? Sebastian wonders.

Lucien's real alliance is not the only mystery surrounding this case. Ayleswick may seem peaceful now, but soon, Sebastian discovers, an old resentment for events long past is still very much alive in the minds of the villagers. Events that took place sixteen years ago, when the king passed the Bill of Enclosure, which allowed the rich gentlemen of the region to take the common grounds from the people. The passing of the Bill of Enclosure had disastrous consequences for the villagers who were left destitute, when not dead, by the brutal retaliation against those who opposed it. While Sebastian investigates the murder, soon to be murders, in the village, Hero runs an inquiry of her own to gather information for the book she is writing on the Enclosure.

Death passed as suicides, pregnancies out of wedlock and contraband rings are some of the secrets Sebastian unfolds during his investigation. Secrets that could be related to his ongoing search for his real father. A father who gave him an uncommon shade of yellow eyes he shares with one woman in the village. Will she help him on his search? Or will he accept that sometimes it's better that the truth remains hidden?

Although this is the 11th book in the Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery series, the author, C.S. Harris, has done such an excellent job introducing the reader to the story and its protagonist's background that can be read on its own. I testify to that, because it was, for me, the first book I've read in the series, and I was never confused. Yet, I was so caught up in the story that I plan to read the previous installments, and I highly recommend you do the same.

Reviews of other titles in the series

What Angels Fear # 1
When Gods Die # 2
Where Serpents Sleep # 4
Where Shadows Dance # 6
When Maidens Mourn #7 [review 1] [review 2]
What Darkness Brings #8
Why Kings Confess # 9 [review 1] [review 2]
Who Buries the Dead #10 [review 1] [review 2]
When Falcons Fall

Reviewed 2016