Alec Halsey has returned to Kent as lord of the estate, but both the steward and his uncle Plantagenet Halsey seem determined to keep him ignorant about neighborhood inheritance customs, the ongoing poaching on the estate, and a secret underground chamber beneath the sprawling old manor. As Selina approaches her due date with their first child, Alec tries to keep his mind off the dangers of childbirth by untangling the mysteries surrounding the death of a youth in the forest. In the end, everything, it turns out, is connected. Secrets will out, and when they do, Alec’s relationship with his gruff old uncle Plantagenet will be forever altered.
This fourth book in the Alec Halsey series is an utter delight. I didn’t know how Lucinda Brant could top book three, with Halsey’s nightmarish diplomatic trip to the unhinged ruler of Midanich, but this book makes a valiant effort with its own unnervingly Gothic themes. Just what were the murderous Halsey ancestors getting up to in the peculiar province of Kent? I particularly enjoyed how Brant switches point of view throughout the tale, allowing minor characters like Halsey’s valet Hadrian Jeffries to have a voice in the narration. The best news of all is that book five is currently in the works, so we will get to see more of Alec Halsey’s keen mind and more of the glitteringly grim Georgian world that Lucinda Brant has created.