While I massively enjoyed seeing the Georgian legal system in action throughout the thrilling first instalment of this spin-off series from Lynne Connolly’s Emperors of London series, a tiny part of me missed all the political shenanigans of the Emperors and their arch rivals. I shouldn’t have worried, however, since this second adventure for the Shaws sees our two heroes facing and embracing both the political and the legal environment of their era.
Darius, twin brother to the hero of the first book in this series, has been tasked with locating a spy: a man who has come into the possession of a list of British spies working on the continent and who is planning to sell them to the French and Italian governments. Having tracked down his man to a notorious molly house: a (highly illegal) club for gentlemen of a certain persuasion, Darius is about to apprehend his quarry and leave when the establishment is raided by the full force of the law. Darius is arrested, but not before he has spotted that amongst the invaders is the lawyer who recently defended his brother in court: Andrew Graham.
Andrew is also on a mission to find the spy and quickly realises that he and Darius have the same aims, albeit different task masters. Having helped Darius escape censure for his alleged misdemeanours – via another cameo appearance for magistrate John Fielding. Andrew is keen to find out whether either of them is able to help the other; however, he is also reluctant to acknowledge any mutual attraction between himself and Darius. While Darius’ reputation is largely shielded by the might of his family, Andrew is a self-made man, and very aware that any misstep could lose him his entire business, not to mention his rather tenuous place in Society. On top of that, he has a young daughter to raise alone – since his wife died in childbirth – and is keen to ensure that she has the best upbringing he can possibly give her.
When Darius finds out about Andrew’s situation, he is charmed by the household and keen to find ways in which he and Andrew can be together without any detriment to the delightful young girl, whose father blatantly dotes on her. Meanwhile, the men still have a spy to deal with, and it appears that the man’s information came from someone close to, if not actually part of, the government itself. This leads to action aplenty, but along the way we also meet campaigning reformers: keen to recruit Darius and Andrew to their campaign to reduce the number of crimes attracting a death sentence while providing a fairer trial for those accused at the same time, as well as those people who produce and commission the satirical cartoons that are still as popular in some circles now as they were back then.
Not only are we treated to a high-tension dash to the coast in order to apprehend the spy and his source, but we also get a very neat solution to Darius and Andrew’s dilemma as to how they can conduct a necessarily secret relationship when the gaze of Society is upon them both. It was also a treat indeed to revisit the rest of the Shaw family, and I hope to see more of them all very soon.
Read Veena’s review here.
In Georgian England, love can mean ruin—even for a Shaw . . .
Lord Darius Shaw has never been in love before. But when he renews his acquaintance with lawyer Andrew Graham in a raid on a molly house, where men meet men for forbidden pleasure, they discover mutual feelings as deep as they are dangerous. For while society will turn a blind eye to an aristocrat’s transgressions, Andrew has far more at stake. The son of city merchants, Andrew has a disastrous marriage in his past, and a young daughter to support. He could lose his livelihood, his reputation and even his life—and drag Darius down with him.
Darius and Andrew’s only choice is to deny the true nature of their relationship. But when an enemy Italian spy threatens their secret—and their futures—the two set out to catch him. And in the process they are forced to face their desires—and make a life-changing decision.
Read an excerpt.