When Falcons Fall

Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

Book 11
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Sebastian St. Cyr is drawn into a murder investigation in a deceptively peaceful English village in this gripping historical mystery from the national bestselling author of Why Kill the Innocent.

Ayleswick-on-Teme, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife, Hero, have come to this deceptively peaceful Shropshire village to honor a slain friend. But when the body of a young widow is found on the banks of the river Teme, the village’s inexperienced new magistrate turns to Sebastian for help. Sebastian soon realizes that Emma Chance was hiding her true identity, and she was not the first beautiful young woman in the village to be murdered. Also troubling are the machinations of Lucien Bonaparte, the estranged brother of the megalomaniac French Emperor Napoléon. Held captive under the British government’s watchful eye, Bonaparte is restless, ambitious, and treacherous.

Home to the eerie ruins of an ancient monastery, Ayleswick reveals itself to be a dark and dangerous place with a violent past that may be connected to Sebastian’s own unsettling origins. And as he faces his most diabolical opponent ever, he is forced to consider what malevolence he’s willing to embrace in order to destroy a killer.
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In this mystery in the Sebastian St. Cyr series, the aristocratic investigator is drawn into a sordid world of greed, desperation, and the occult when the husband of his former lover is accused of murder. 

Regency England, September 1812: After a long night spent dealing with the tragic death of a former military comrade, a heart-sick Sebastian learns of a new calamity: Russell Yates, the dashing, one-time privateer who married Kat Boleyn a year ago, has been found standing over the corpse of Benjamin Eisler, a wealthy gem dealer. Yates insists he is innocent, but he will surely hang unless Sebastian can unmask the real killer.

For the sake of Kat, the woman he once loved and lost, Sebastian plunges into a treacherous circle of intrigue. Although Eisler’s clients included the Prince Regent and the Emperor Napoleon, he was a despicable man with many enemies and a number of dangerous, well-kept secrets—including a passion for arcane texts and black magic. Central to the case is a magnificent blue diamond, believed to have once formed part of the French crown jewels, which disappeared on the night of Eisler’s death. As Sebastian traces the diamond’s ownership, he uncovers links that implicate an eccentric, powerful financier named Hope and stretch back into the darkest days of the French Revolution.

When the killer grows ever more desperate and vicious, Sebastian finds his new marriage to Hero tested by the shadows of his first love, especially when he begins to suspect that Kat is keeping secrets of her own. And as matters rise to a crisis, Sebastian must face a bitter truth—that he has been less than open with the fearless woman who is now his wife.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Mar 1, 2016
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780698167889
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Sebastian St. Cyr investigates the mysterious life and death of a nobleman convicted of murder in this enthralling new historical mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of Why Kill the Innocent....

     It's June 1814, and the royal families of Austria, Russia, and the German states have gathered in London at the Prince Regent's invitation to celebrate the defeat of Napoléon and the restoration of monarchical control throughout Europe. But the festive atmosphere is marred one warm summer evening by the brutal murder of a disgraced British nobleman long thought dead.

     Eighteen years before, Nicholas Hayes, the third son of the late Earl of Seaford, was accused of killing a beautiful young French émigré and transported to Botany Bay for life. Even before his conviction, Hayes had been disowned by his father, and few in London were surprised when they heard the ne'er-do-well had died in disgrace in New South Wales. But those reports were obviously wrong. Recently Hayes returned to London with a mysterious young boy in tow--a child who vanishes shortly after Nicholas's body is discovered.

     Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is drawn into the investigation by his valet, Jules Calhoun, an old friend of the dead man. With Calhoun's help, Sebastian begins to piece together the shattered life of the late Earl's ill-fated youngest son. Why did Nicholas risk his life and freedom by returning to England? And why did he bring the now-missing young boy with him? Several nervous Londoners had reason to fear that Nicholas Hayes had returned to kill them. One of them might have decided to kill him first.
 
Gripping and provocative, the latest Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mystery by New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry peers unflinchingly into the corrupt affairs of Victorian society on the brink of the century’s turn. The world is poised for social and political change, but England holds tight to its traditions, classes, and prejudices.
 
When an explosion in London kills two policemen and seriously injures three more, many believe that anarchists are the culprits. But Thomas Pitt, commander of Special Branch, knows the city’s radical groups well enough to suspect that someone with decidedly more personal motives lit the deadly fuse. As he investigates the source of the fatal blast, Pitt is stunned to discover that the bombing was a calculated strike against the ranks of law enforcement.
 
But still more shocking revelations await, as Pitt’s inquiries lead him to a member of Parliament hoping for a lucrative business deal, a high-ranking police officer with secrets to keep, and an aristocratic opium addict seeking murderous revenge. As he pursues each increasingly threatening lead, Pitt finds himself impeded at every turn by the barriers put in place to protect the rich and powerful—barriers that, as they start to crumble, threaten to bury him alive.
 
Praise for Anne Perry’s most recent Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels
 
The Angel Court Affair
 
“Be prepared for another well-deserved vacation to Victorian London with Anne Perry as the most cunning tour guide you will ever need. . . . She is one of the best.”—Bookreporter
 
Death on Blackheath
 
“Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining . . . The period detail is beautifully done, and realistic characters and tense action are woven seamlessly together.”—Historical Novels Review
 
Midnight at Marble Arch
 
“Sweeping and scandalous . . . Perry has perfected a delicate touch.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
Dorchester Terrace
 
“The always clever Anne Perry infuses Dorchester Terrace with the right amount of intrigue and complex relationships that have made this prolific series one of the finest in modern mystery fiction.”—Bookreporter
 
Treason at Lisson Grove
 
“Perry has always done her historical homework on the darker elements of the British ruling class, and she has outdone herself this time.”—The Washington Times
A wild, erotic novel—a daring debut—from the much-admired, award-winning poet, author of Flying Inland, A History of Yearning, and With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz, and Others. A strange, haunting novel about survival and love in all its forms; about sexual awakenings and dark secrets; about European refugee intellectuals who have fled Hitler’s armies with their dreams intact and who have come to an elusive new (American) “can do, will do” world they cannot seem to find. A novel steeped in surreal storytelling and beautiful music that transports its half-broken souls—and us—to another realm of the senses. 

The setting: the early 1940s, New York—city of refuge, city of hope, with the specter of a red-hot Europe at war.

At the novel’s center:  Anna (known as the Rat), an exotic Hungarian countess with the face of an angel, beautiful eyes, and a seraphic smile, with a passionate intelligence, an exquisite ugliness, and the power to enchant . . . Her second cousin Herbert, a former minor Austrian civil servant who believes in Esperanto and the international rights of man, wheeling and dealing in New York, powerful in the social sphere yet under the thumb of his wife, Adeline . . . Michael, their missing homosexual son . . . Felix, a German pediatrician who dabbles in genetic engineering, practicing from his Upper East Side office with his little dachshund, Schatzie, by his side . . . The Tolstoi String Quartet, four men and their instruments, who for twenty years lived as one, playing the great concert halls of Europe, escaping to New York with their money sewn into the silk linings of their instrument cases . . .

And watching them all: Herbert’s eight-year-old granddaughter, Maria, who understands from the furtive fear of her mother, and the huddled penury of their lives, and the sense of being in hiding, even in New York, that life is a test of courage and silence, Maria witnessing the family’s strange comings and goings, being regaled at night, when most are asleep, with the intoxicating, thrilling stories of their secret pasts . . . of lives lived in Saint Petersburg . . . of husbands being sent to the front and large, dangerous debts owed to the Tsar of imperial Russia, of late-night visits by coach to the palace of the Romanovs to beg for mercy and avoid execution . . . and at the heart of the stories, told through the long nights with no dawn in sight, the strange, electrifying tale of a pact made in desperation with the private adviser to the Tsar and Tsarina—the mystic faith healer Grigory Rasputin (Russian for “debauched one”), a pact of “companionship” between Anna (the Rat) and the scheming Siberian peasant–turned–holy man, called the Devil by some, the self-proclaimed “only true Christ,” meeting night after night in Rasputin’s apartments, and the spellbinding, unspeakable things done there in the name of penance and pleasure . . .
In the history of Anne Perry’s bestselling Victorian mystery series, the stakes have never been greater than now—as a mission for queen and country places the future of the British Empire squarely in Thomas Pitt’s hands.

It is not the custom for the commander of Special Branch to receive a royal summons—so Thomas Pitt knows it must be for a matter of the gravest importance. The body of Sir John Halberd, the Queen’s confidant, has been found in the shallow water of the Serpentine in Hyde Park, bearing the evidence of a fatal blow to the head. At Her Majesty’s request, Sir John had been surreptitiously investigating Alan Kendrick, a horse-racing enthusiast who seems to have had an undue amount of influence on her son, the Prince of Wales.

Now Commander Pitt must navigate the corridors of power with the utmost discretion and stealth, for it seems certain that Sir John’s killer is a member of the upper classes. Aided by his wife, Charlotte, and her social contacts, Pitt seeks out the hidden motives behind the polite façade of those to the manner born—and uncovers a threat to the throne that could topple the monarchy.

With Murder on the Serpentine, Thomas Pitt nears a crossroads in his brilliant career—one that promises new challenges, both professional and personal, still to be met. But first, he and Charlotte must conquer the twists and turns of suspense master Anne Perry’s most cunningly crafted plot yet—to achieve their finest hour, or suffer their darkest.

Praise for Murder on the Serpentine

“For nearly four decades Anne Perry’s riveting detective novels have played out against the backdrop of the Victorian era. Fans of British royalty will delight in Murder on the Serpentine, which spotlights the woman this British author reminds us was ‘queen and empress of a quarter of the earth’ during her 63-year reign. . . . Perry writes meticulously laid-out police procedurals, and Pitt’s methodical investigation sets the novel’s early, steady pace.”—The Washington Post

“The mystery may follow familiar lines, but even newcomers are likely to be charmed by scenes that deepen Pitt’s family relationships. This entry’s main strength lies in the quiet, emotionally intelligent interactions among its characters.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Anne] Perry returns with another engrossing read brimming with superb period details and complex characters.”—RT Book Reviews

“Marvelous . . . Perry delivers once again by simply doing what she does better than anyone else—capturing the flavor, spirit and political temperature of Victorian-era London.”—Bookreporter
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