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When Falcons Fall

by C. S. Harris

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries (11)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2002197,491 (4.06)24
"The much-anticipated new entree in the Sebastian St. Cyr "simply elegant" historical mystery series, from the national bestselling author of Who Buries the Dead and Why Kings Confess. Ayleswick-on-Teme, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has come to this seemingly peaceful Shropshire village to honor a slain friend and on a quest to learn more about his own ancestry. But when the body of a lovely widow is found on the banks of the River Teme, a bottle of laudanum at her side, the village's inexperienced new magistrate turns to St. Cyr for help. Almost immediately, Sebastian realizes that Emma Chance did not, in truth, take her own life. Less easy to discern is exactly how she died, and why. For as Sebastian and Hero soon discover, Emma was hiding both her true identity and her real reasons for traveling to Ayleswick. Also troubling are the machinations of Lucien Bonaparte, the estranged brother of the megalomaniac French Emperor Napoleon. Held captive under the British government's watchful eye, the younger Bonaparte is restless, ambitious, and treacherous. Sebastian's investigation takes on new urgency when he discovers that Emma was not the first, or even the second, beautiful young woman in the village to die under suspicious circumstances. Home to the eerie ruins of an ancient monastery, Ayleswick reveals itself to be a dark and dangerous place of secrets that have festered among the villagers for decades--and a violent past that may be connected to Sebastian's own unsettling origins. And as he faces his most diabolical opponent ever, he is forced to consider what malevolence he's willing to embrace in order to destroy a killer.--… (more)



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» See also 24 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Sebastian St. Cyr mystery #11
A sojourn into Shropshire ostensibly to see that Jamie Knox's gift to his grandmother is delivered. Sebastian and Hero inadvertently become embroiled in helping the Squire solve the murder of a young woman travelling through the region. As in Book 10, the saga involved more characters with connections to French versus British espionage swirling around members of the Bonaparte family and relatives. These subplots nicely elevated the mystery to reach back to earlier details without swamping the present narrative.

To some degree Sebastian's character has become predictable in the manoeuvrings of the investigation but Harris' historical details and attractive scene-setting keeps the story fresh. I was a little disappointed how many roadblocks develop in terms of Sebastian's real motivation in visiting Jamie's family: namely the opportunity to learn who his father was. One hint is provided and then left, presumably for Book 12..

If you've been reading this series, I recommend this book as very enjoyable, without so much tedium from backstory. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Aug 10, 2020 |
Happily, Harris is back in fine story-telling form with this installment in the series. No unusual attempts to make an author of the time period into a literary character, this time around. Yes, I could take issue with the inclusion of Napoleon Bonaparte's younger brother Lucien and his family as characters, but I think adding them actually works well with the story as a logical flow for the on-going sub-theme of espionage and the French war that has been present in the earlier books in the series. Okay, some may take issue with the literary license of having the Lucien's family vacationing in the area and not in Grimley Worcestershire, as per history, but I don't. What I really loved about this story is it felt as thought the author was going back to basics, allowing the focus of the story to be on the vast web of mysteries for Viscount Devlin and Hero to unravel. So many possibilities! So many avenues of inquiry! Delightfully good fun to tag along for the ride. ( )
  lkernagh | Jun 13, 2020 |
Sebastian is out in the countryside to deliver a final gift from Jamie to his grandmother and hopefully find out a little more about who might his biological father be. But his reputation precedes him and the local squire fairly new in his powers asks for his help with the death of a young artist widow. Set up to look like suicide but with the help of Sebastian it is ruled a murder. There are no witnesses and at first glance the village seems sleepy, but it is not. This book uses the murder to introduce the reader to the real history of Enclosure Movement and the fact that Napoleon’s brother lived in the area at the time. A good mystery that he solves with a several dead ends and dark past history of village uncovered. ( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jan 6, 2020 |
Ayleswick-on-Teme, 1813. A young girl is found dead on the banks of the River Teme with a bottle of laudanum by her side. The local constable thinks it's suicide, but the young inexperienced magistrate is not so sure and turns to Sebastian St. Cyr for help. Sebastian is in the village with his wife and young son to visit the family of a dead friend. But, he is also there trying to find out more about his ancestry. Now, he must figure out who would kill a young girl who just like Sebastian came to Ayleswick-on-Teme to find out more about the past.

Sebastian St. Cyr is one of my favorite series, and I have read all books except the one previous (going to buy it as soon as the paperback version comes out) and I've been looking forward to reading this one. Sebastian, Hero, and little Simon are in the little village to pay respect to Jamie Knox grandmother and to give her a gift from Jamie. Jamie must have been killed in the previous book because I haven't read about it and it saddens me that he is gone since I quite liked Sebastian half-brother. Sebastian is trying to find his father and also figure out where a necklace he has comes from. But, he must also find out who would kill Emma Chance, could it have something to do with her trying to find her father? Or is there a greater plot going on with Napoleon's brother Lucien Bonaparte staying close by the village?

There is a lot going on, the village has lots of secrets, and it seems that the more Sebastian digs in the past the worse it gets with more people getting killed. It seems that there is a killer loose and the person in question will do anything to silence the ones that can give him/her away.

When Falcons Fall is one of the best books in the series, the case is deeply tragic especially for Sebastian who feels for the young dead girl who just like him only wanted to find out who fathered her. It's a page-turner and it was hard to figure out who was behind the murdered, especially since the suspects kept dying like flies.

This is a series that just keeps getting stronger and I can't wait to find out what will happen next for Sebastian, Hero, and Simon.

4.5 stars

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review.

Read this review and others on A Bookaholic Swede ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has come to the village of Aylswick for two reasons. The first, and more openly acknowledged, is to deliver a last gift from his friend, innkeeper Jamie Knox, recently killed, to Jamie's mother.

The unacknowledged reason is to see if he can find out who Jamie's, and possibly his own, real father is. Because the Viscount and the innkeeper looked startlingly alike, even to possessing startling, yellow eyes.

What he really winds up doing is responding to the request of the local squire and justice of the peace, Archie Rawlins, to assist in the investigation of the murder of a young woman recently come to town. Her name, she said was Emma Chance, widow of Captain Chance, and she was on a sketching expedition.

But as Devlin investigates, none of the facts known about the young woman add up.

Obviously, at number eleven in the series, there's a lot of back story here. I didn't find it difficult to pick up enough to engage with the characters and get involved in the story. Harris handles the historical background well, too. Lucien Bonaparte, currently a prisoner of war, is living in the area with his family; it's the latter part of the Napoleonic Wars, and Napoleon is on the ropes but not yet defeated. The war and the political and social fallout from both the political ideas coming from France and the enclosure movement in England, but none of this is overplayed.

The characters are very good, too. Devlin and his wife, Hero, are an interesting and attractive couple. The supporting characters, whether friend, unfriend, or killer, have some complexity, plausibly mixed good and bad, and comprehensible motivations. Number eleven isn't usually the place to start a series, but I think I'll be looking for more of these.


I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. S. Harrisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lutfi-Proctor, SamanthaAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mollica, GeneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Say, will the falcon, stooping from above,
Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove?
Admires the jay the insect's gilded wings?
Or hears the hawk when Philomela sings?

--Alexander Pope
In memory of Banjo, Scout, and Indie,
my three forever-kittens
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Ayleswick-on-Teme, Shropshire
Tuesday, 3 August 1813

It was the fly that got to him.
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