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Start with the prequel,
This review is from: The Cavalier of the Apocalypse (Hardcover)First Sentence: Aristide Ravel stumbled upon the first fire early on All Hallows' Eve.
Aristide Revel is a penniless writer who never expects to come across the body of a man lying in the snow of a graveyard with his throat slit and the body marked with Masonic symbols. Police inspector Brasseur, Revel's former neighbor, quickly recognizes that he is not a suspect in the killing, but quickly makes Revel a subinspector to help solve the crime.
Although this is the most recent book in the series, it is a prequel to the others so it made sense to read it first.
I appreciated Alleyn's skill at providing a strong sense of place and time. She takes us from grand mansions to inside the Bastille. Set just prior to the French Revolution, it provides insight into the political unrest of the period. It was also interesting to gain a perspective as to why the French supported the Americans during our Revolution.
Alleyn's skill at creating interesting characters is just as well done. She adroitly combines the fictional with the real with interactions which made sense. I found Ravel to be a character I want to follow. His personal history places his somewhat on the outside yet his intelligence and ability to reason make him make me think of a much more dimensional Holmes-type character. I particularly appreciated the scene where he uncovers the betrayal of one he thought to be his friend. I also appreciate that Alleyn did not follow a stereotypical path when dealing with another possible relationship.
The plot was very well done with interesting and unexpected details and a very good unanticipated ending. The period of the French Revolution is one I do not usually enjoy. I can't explain why I find it unpleasant, but I usually avoid books set during that time.
Ms. Alleyn has become an exception and now has a place on my buy list. I am delighted to know I've the other two books waiting for me on my TBR shelves.
THE CAVALIER OF THE APOCALYPSE (Hist. Mys-Aristide Ravel-France-Georgian/1786) - VG
Alleyn, Susanne ' 3rd in series
Minotaur Books, 2009, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780312379889