December 17, 2014
It had to happen eventually.
After an amazing run on Ms. Bourne's Spymaster series, I have finally come up against one
story that wasn't quite as good as the rest. My Lord and Spymaster is an excellent book and I do recommend it; however, it's just a tad bit off. By itself it is a good read, but when standing with the rest of the books in the series it is the black sheep of the family.
Let's take a look at My Lord and Spymaster. We have Jess Whitby, who doesn't seem to be part of the continuing spy system. She's just a pretty smart cookie and on top of that she is a mathematical genius. She has also managed to build up her father's shipping company without any help from him. In fact, her father seems to be a loser and has managed to get himself arrested.
Jess's connection with the spymasters circle is through the mysterious underworld boss Lazarus - he was there when she was young to play a surrogate father, sort of. Lazarus taught her the tricks of the trade, like pick-pocketing, picking locks, stealing, breaking and entering, murdering - those kind of things. You know I'm really undecided about the reoccurring character of Lazarus. At this point he seems to be a scary, nasty, thug who may have an occasional glimmer of humanity show through. So, I'm not sure about him, but I'm finding myself becoming more and more fascinated with him. But at this point he really isn't hero material - he is really a scary guy.
Now on to our hero Sebastian Kennett, a ship’s captain and the man mainly responsible for the incarceration of Jess' father. It will come as no surprise that there is a trust issue between Jess and Sebastian, but that doesn't stop this pair from falling in love with each other. As with all of Ms. Bourne's heroes, Sebastian is almost instantly smitten with Jess. Protecting her from herself and the people who are trying to kill her is his top priory. Also like Ms. Bourne's other heroes, Sebastian is an a-number one Alpha kind of guy - he uses passive aggressive gentleness to control his woman. Grunt.
There is a lot going on in this story and that may be some of the problem. There are just too many twists and turns going on - too many convoluted side plots to keep track of and that tended to be a bit of a distraction.
By the way, Jess has a pet ferret, Kedger, whom Sebastian refers to as a rat. There are some humorous moments between Sebastian and Kedger that had me smiling. It is Kedger who comes to the rescue of his beloved Jess in the end. Cute animal.
I have to say I wish allll of Ms. Bourne's books didn't end quite so abruptly. I think they need just a little bit more added. Maybe an itty bitty paragraph at the end would be helpful.
Bottom line: this was a good book, which I enjoyed reading. Jess and Sebastian make a delightful couple. I do recommend this story only with a codicil - it loses a little when compared to the others in the series. However, don't let that stop you from enjoying My Lord and Spymaster.
Time/Place: 1811 England