In June of 1893, the future Nicholas II travels to London for a royal wedding, bringing with him his private security force. Rumored to be the target of a professional assassin known only as La Sylphide, and the subject of conspiracies against his life by his own family who covet his future throne, Nicholas is protected by not only private security, but the professional forces of both England and Russia. All of these measures prove inadequate when Prince George of England is attacked by an armed anarchist who mistakes him for Nicholas. As a result, Barker and Llewelyn are brought in to help track down the assassin and others who might conspire against the life of the tsesarevich.
Buoying them throughout this whirlwind quest is devotion to duty, their quick-witted banter and the thrill of the chase. When a stroke of good fortune forces Llewelyn to decide whether or not to continue working with Barker, there can be little doubt what his choice will be.
These real historical figures mingle freely and seamlessly with fictional characters, some of whom are prepared to die for them, while others seek the opportunity to kill them ... A bit of good news for readers: If you like this book, there are a dozen previous Barker & Llewelyn mysteries to keep you entertained for the foreseeable future.
The stakes are high here and will keep readers on edge ... Protecting the young man allows Barker and Llewelyn to flex their detecting muscles and display their determination and bravery. It also allows Thomas the opportunity to explore the intricate mechanism that is the British class system, especially when it comes to the meeting of workingmen and royalty. The street procession to the wedding is particularly immersive, and the dialogue—Llewelyn’s sardonic comments on his work and on royal life—and Thomas’ masterful depictions of jealousy and cunning also help drop readers right into the summer of 1893, along with the politics, danger, and romance that was the Romanovs’ world. Recommend this to fans of the series and of Sherlock Holmes.