Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review - - Scoundrel

The Blades of the Rose - Book 2
By Zoë Archer
Publisher:  Zebra
Release Date:  October 1, 2010

The Blades of the Rose are sworn to protect the sources of magic in the world.  But the work is dangerous - and they can't always shield their own...

Bennett Day is by all accounts a charming scoundrel, lover of women and formidable member of the Blades of the Rose, a society of individuals dedicated to protecting the world's sources of magic by keeping them from the greedy hands of the nefarious Heirs of Albion, a group of fanatical men seeking to rule the world through England.  He never suspects that the beautiful woman who steals his breath away in an Athens market is the daughter of the leader of the Heirs...nor that she will have such a profound impact on his life.

London Harcourt has spent her life encased in a prison of man's making, first her father's, then her husband's.  Raised to be only an ornament for a man's arm, she has learned to keep her opinions and accomplishments to the fact that she has taught herself many ancient languages.  But, when the widowed London inadvertently reveals her skill to her father, windows on the world are opened as she finds herself on her way to Greece to help in what she believes is a secret government mission but, in reality, is something much more sinister.  And, when a chance encounter introduces her to Bennett Day, her life course takes another unexpected detour.

Realizing London is the key to finding the magical source the Blades have sworn to protect, Bennett steals her away from the Heirs, thereby pitching her into the middle of a life and death race with her father and his crew to secure the source.  Unwilling to cooperate at first, London soon accepts that Bennett and his fellow Blades are the good guys in this she slowly begins to realize that her entire life has been nothing but a fabrication of the truth.  But, as she faces the truth of her past, a future of happiness and freedom from restraint, a future of love with a very special man who accepts her as she was always meant to be, opens for her...if she has the courage to embrace it...and if her father and his murderous cohorts don't catch up with them first.

I loved watching London slowly peel away the layers of proper English restraint to reveal the strong, resilient, sensual woman at her core.  Once she finds that part of herself, she becomes a force to be reckoned with as in this scene on an island they've been exploring.

"Holy  God," he growled when he arrived at the ruined temple.
London stood in the middle of the temple, next to the remains of the altar. She had already stripped off her clothing so she was quite, quite naked.
"No," she corrected him with a devilish smile.  "Holy goddess."

 Or this scene on board the boat.

"You look at him as if he is the last bottle of wine left in the world," Athena said dryly, standing beside her.
London barely blushed.  She was now very familiar with her desire for Bennett.  "I am a woman of exceptional thirst."

But it was Bennett who stole my heart and has yet to return it. Watching him fall in love for the first (and final) time in his life was pure pleasure made all the more sweet because of his exquisite care of London, his fierce desire for her and not only his unconditional acceptance of her strength, intelligence, skill and courage but his celebration of it.  He's a hero I'll be dreaming of for quite some time.

Scoundrel is a spellbinding story of high-seas adventure, sensual romance, magic and mystery with a hero I'd be more than happy to sail the seven seas with and a smart, courageous heroine who grew more likeable and admirable with every page. Archer's descriptions - from Aegean sunrises to magical beings to mechanical wonders - had me feeling as if I was sailing right along with them but it was the characters who held center stage.  They were so real to me, especially Bennett and London, that I felt as if I were reading a story about people I actually knew.

Scoundrel is the second book in Archer's The Blades of the Rose series but stands well on it's own.  However, once you've visited this talented author's fascinating Victorian-era world, I have no doubt you will be clamoring to read the other three books in the series.  I know I was!  The books, in order, are:
Warrior, Scoundrel, Rebel and Stranger



  1. I must find The Blades of the Rose series to read. SCOUNDREL looks wonderful.

  2. Marybelle, it's such a great story. Exciting, tender, adventurous, sensual...all those emotions wrapped up in one big bunch of wonderful!

  3. Great review, PJ! This sounds like a fantastic read. I will have to add this series to my TBR mountain.

    BTW, have we located that island that we need to live on while we attack our TBR stacks??! LOL

  4. BTW, have we located that island that we need to live on while we attack our TBR stacks??!

    I don't know, Gannon. There were a few islands in this book that would suit our purpose perfectly! Of course, I'd want to take along a few good men formed from the Bennett mold to see to our needs...and leave those bad guys far, far behind!

  5. Of course, I'd want to take along a few good men formed from the Bennett mold to see to our needs...and leave those bad guys far, far behind!

    Sounds good to me, PJ. ;-)

  6. pj, I have really enjoyed this series and am now reading STRANGER, Catullus Grave's story and the last. Zoe Archer is a wonderful writer and I would highly recommend the Blades series.

  7. I am working on getting all the books before I start reading the series. So far, SCOUNDREL is the only one I have. Thanks for the review.
    BTW, don't you two think a few men like Bennett on your island would be conducive to getting any reading done?

  8. This is a new author for me. It's so nice to have you all introducing books and authors we might not look for. Thanks!