I love spy stories and I love stories with tons of twists and turns. Anne Cleeland’s Regency romance-thriller spy story Daughter of the God-King has plenty of both.
Hattie’s archeologist parents have disappeared, so the fearless young woman travels to Paris to begin her search for them. In 1814, Paris in the wake of Napoleon’s defeat is all aquiver. The surprising fact is everyone treats the sheltered, mostly neglected child of world-famous parents as if she is a major player in the historic aftermath. Much is unsaid, but nefarious characters pursue her for some unknown reason.
Ms. Cleeland again demonstrates her deft hand with mystery and suspense as Hattie, her unflappable companion, Miss Bing, and their guide and protector, Monsieur Berry, work their way from Paris to Cairo and then up the Nile amid plots to kidnap or kill our heroine. Nothing is what it seems, and the answer, when we finally discover it, is startling, as well as historically possible.
There’s plenty of action and thrills for those, like me, who like other threads in the story besides the romance. Ms. Cleeland also paints a fascinating picture of Europe’s and Egypt’s politics and people in the wake of the Napoleonic wars.
The two main characters were a different story. While I liked Hattie’s determination, I think she is a little too sure of herself for a sheltered eighteen-year-old with no skills and little learning. With her illustrious parentage, I would have expected her to develop some other interests in addition to snagging a husband.
I also found the hero, the enigmatic M. Berry, a little too superhuman for my tastes. But I liked Hattie’s companion, Miss Bing, much more. Supremely capable, no-nonsense, nothing-fazes-her, Miss Bing would be a heroine more to my taste.
While Daughter of the God-King can be read alone, the book is the second in the Ms. Cleeland’s Regency spy series after Tainted Angel, and makes one reference to that novel.
Daughter of the God-King is another great Regency spy story. I look forward to more.
Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks