I enjoyed book 1 a little more, but this was still a very enjoyable book. I highly recommend her for readers who like a historical setting but have tired of how-to-snag-a-title plotlines. Sebastian Kennett I adore the name Sebastian is our hero. Hunting for the truth leads to grave peril and chilling adventure, but the greatest danger comes from falling in love with the enemy. She was a master thief in her childhood, working for the criminal lord, Lazarus. My Lord and Spymaster I would have given it five stars, but the first book was just a little bit better.

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My Lord and Spymaster Joanna Bourne After her father is wrongly accused of selling secrets to Napoleon, lovely Jess Whitby infiltrates the London underworld for the real traitor — only to end up naked in the bed of a rude merchant captain. Finally, I am endlessly grateful to the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, that hatching ground of writers, whose members have offered aid and comfort. Papa used to say that, clouting her on the side of the head a bit to let her know who he was talking about.

She missed picking pockets. Missed the cool, stealthy slide of fingers into a coat. Slithering away with a purse, wise and secret. She missed the best part—jingling the coins out on the cobbles, squatting down with her mates, and counting out the take. Respectable was flat beer compared to that. She was so damn tired of being respectable. It was a good day for robbery. Fog crawled up out of the Thames and made itself at home on Katherine Lane.

Anything could hide in that fog. Probably did. She pulled her hood up and kept walking. The afternoon folded in around her, drizzling.

In the fog, on both sides of her, all the length of Katherine Lane, citizens were closing up shop, putting merchandise away, giving the day up as unprofitable. The street girls had moved inside, too, into the pubs, taking their sailors with them and the noise and the bright color of their dresses.

More and more, she was passing dark doorways and rows of blank shutters. He had errands to run, that cat. You could tell by looking at him.

Another piece of poetry. She knew these streets, knew every thin trickle of an alley that ran into Katherine Lane. Time was, she chatted friendly and easy with every beggar and pimp on the Lane. She could have ducked into any of these taverns and been welcome to dry out by the fire. Now she was a stranger. Not Jess. Now she was Miss Whitby. She walked slower as the Lane curved south and slanted down toward the Thames and she watched her feet.

The cobbles were slick with muck. Every corner was a puddle. The left side of her cloak, under her elbow, had a pocket sewed for him to ride in. This she had to do alone. She stopped cold, and her heart banged in her chest like a trapped rabbit.

A shadow shifted. A hulking shape emerged from the dark of a doorway. He came toward her, walking out of the gloom, soft-footed for all his size. He carried his lead pipe with the nonchalance of someone to whom this was not a novelty. He was a thickset man about fifty, graying and weather-beaten. A thin, wicked scar slashed from his right eyebrow to the stubble at his jaw. A soaked and crumpled hat shaded his eyes. Can we go down that alley a bit?

If somebody spots you with that pipe, they might just come rescue me. Could be drier in there, too. The overhang of the roof kept some of the rain off. But not, as Doyle said, much. I picked it out special when I got your note. There was no end of illegal odds and ends to this business of getting Papa free.

Doyle was helping her with most of them. No flies on Mr. Largish fellow, by all accounts. She liked that about him. Just chase after, with what you might call intent to clout. Who do I chase? She laid out what she had in mind. Is that it? Wet and sobbing and quivering in every particular. Except the part about me trying to hit you over the head with this pipe. She checked the Lane again. Still empty. Buy me three minutes. I am so bloody tired of wrestling smoke.

It just gets better and better. Anybody I know? She was right. They told lots of stories. Even Doyle. That was why she was out in the rain, cold and wet and scared, doing this job with her own hands. The real spy, the man the French called Cinq, was walking around London, free as a bird. He might be strolling down Katherine Lane right now. I hope Kennett turns out to be Cinq. Nothing worked. Not with the British Intelligence Service. Not with Military Intelligence. Not with the Foreign Office or the Admiralty.

Seemed like half the British government wanted Josiah Whitby behind bars. Doyle studied her from under the brim of his hat. Not even with me. Now you want to go annoy Bastard Kennett. You run mad, or what? All that low cunning on her side. The knot in her stomach loosened.

When does he show up for this nonsense? She leaned against the wall. In a third floor window, a candle flared into light. That would be one of the girls, working. A wood shutter creaked in the wind. Funny how dry her mouth was, what with all this wet everywhere. He throws them. This was the worst part of a job. Look cool as a clam, you do.

A rude dog of a wind nosed up under her cloak and started her shaking. Just nerves. Even Kedger shook when he got nervous, him being a ferret and coming by it naturally. She heard them before she saw them. Down the Lane, two men took shape in the fog.

The big one on the right was upright but unsteady on his pins. The scrawny-looking cove on the left was holding them both up. They were singing. A pretty little oyster girl I chanced for to meet.


Spymasters Series



My Lord And Spymaster



Joanna Bourne


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