Expected Release Date: January 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Avon
Author’s Website: http://www.gaelenfoley.com/
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 4
Series Best Read In Order: Probably but worked okay as a standalone
Steam Level: Steamy

Official Blurb:

The Inferno Club: To London Society, they’re notorious for their scandalous pursuits. In private, these warriors would risk their lives for king and country. 

His brother warriors fear the Earl of Westwood has turned traitor, but Emily Harper knows this is impossible for the man she has loved since childhood . . . as impossible as a marriage between them could ever be—she, the gamekeeper’s daughter and he, a bold and adventurous nobleman. 

Driven by hatred and revenge, Westwood is playing a deadly game of deception, bent on destroying the enemy’s dark conspiracy from the inside, and he’s furious when Emily plunges herself into danger for his sake. Forced into close quarters, their long-suppressed desire explodes into all-consuming passion. 

Emily knows her love can save him . . . but Westwood is a man who doesn’t want to be saved.

What Worked For Me:

  • I loved Westwood. He was quite literally a “tortured hero”. He endured horrible physical torture at the hands of his enemy until he was “rescued” by one of them, and had a very solid case of Stockholm Syndrome going on, and as such his character was incredibly tormented. The reader, like Emily, spends much of the book uncertain as to whether or not he really has turned traitor, and wondering that if that is the case, can Emily love him anyway?
  • Despite my feelings on how “perfect” Emily was, I still enjoyed her character.  She truly loved Westwood since childhood, and I liked how that affected the pacing — there was no wait for the characters to fall in love, but instead we merely had to wait for them to finally admit it.
  • The action sequences and subterfuges and intrigues made for plenty of thrills.
  • The love scenes were quite tasty as well, and I really enjoyed how Emily was the first woman that Westwood “responded” to since his torture.
  • The unexpected twist with James was quite the pleasant surprise as well.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • Emily was almost too perfect for my tastes. She was intelligent, loyal, beautiful, and brave, and while she had a few TSTL moments (mainly as a result of her love and loyalty to Westwood), I couldn’t really relate to her, because she really didn’t have any flaws.
  • While I understood that Emily’s archery skill was such that she was perfect for a specific job, I thought that the portion of the ending involving her skill was one of the cruelest things I’ve ever seen asked of a heroine.

While I do think that it would benefit new readers to go back and read the previous installments of the series before attempting this one, I have to say that it worked quite well as a standalone.  Just as with any other late installment to a previously established series, there are nuances in the characters’ relationships that new readers miss out on, but everything of importance to this individual story was included.

I have always adored tortured heroes, and Westwood was absolutely delicious. Having survived horrific torture at the hands of his enemies, succumbing to Stockholm Syndrome and caring for one of the men responsible for his torture, and being desperate to protect Emily at all costs, he was so conflicted and under an incredible amount of strain. Add Emily’s impetuous nature to the mix and frankly I’m surprised the poor man’s head didn’t simply explode.

One thing I definitely enjoyed about this book was the fact that it didn’t just focus on Emily and Westwood, but also included quite a bit of face time for characters from previous novels.  Even as a newcomer to the series, I never felt lost even with the introduction of characters that old fans would easily recognize, and I loved the uncertainty everyone felt as to whether or not Westwood had indeed turned traitor.

Overall, this was a solid spy caper historical. With plenty of intrigue, betrayal, mystery, and action, the pacing was perfect, and in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Recommended for fans of thrilling historical spy tales, tortured heroes, and of childhood friends finally admitting they are in love.

A very solid 4/5 Stars