In 1811, the threat of revolution is on the minds of the upper classes in King George’s England. When a young woman is found raped and murdered on the alter steps of an ancient church near Westminster Abbey, items found near the body and testimony of a witness both point to one man – Sebastian St. Cyr.
Now St. Cyr is a wanted man but he is not about to go down without a fight. Using the skills he accumulated as an agent during the war, he intends to catch the real killer and prove his innocence. Among the ranks of the well to do nothing is as it seems, yet the truth could hold the key to the future of the monarchy as well as St. Cyr’s own salvation.
What Angels Fear is the first book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series (try saying that five times fast!) and is an excellent introduction. Not only are we introduced to St. Cyr himself, a very interesting man that I am eager to read more of, but also various other characters who are likely to play parts in subsequent books. We meet friend and foe alike, and all are given their own distinct personality.
I believe one of the things I liked best about What Angels Fear is that none of the characters are either wholly good or wholly bad. They all tread that gray area that makes a person truly human. Yes, some characters are a lighter gray than others, but no one individual we meet is completely perfect in either sense. Each one is doing what they believe to be the right thing, even if we the reader disagree. This adds a kind of realism to the narrative that draws the reader in.
There is definitely a good bit of action but there is just as much inaction; sections where characters interact and we are given tantalizing clues and ideas about who the culprit eventually turns out to be.
Some readers might find the actual crime that starts the story off-putting. Rape is a delicate subject. Though no description is given of the crime occurring, it is discussed by police and other characters over the course of the book. Those who find the subject distasteful or otherwise triggering might do well to skip this book.
Real history buffs might roll their eyes at a scene or two, but for the most part I found What Angels Fear to be fairly historically accurate. A fine detail or two might have been glossed over for the sake of narrative but nothing that pulled one completely out of the story.
A decent read with an intelligent and interesting main character as well as a band of equally fascinating supporting cast, I can definitely recommend What Angels Fear to those who like a good historical mystery. Fair warning to those who find some subject matter worrying. All others, enjoy this introduction to a new series.