The Black Hawk

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The Black Hawk

The Spymaster Series, #4

Joanna Bourne continues her mesmerizing tales of spies during the Napoleonic conflicts with "The Black Hawk". Brit Adrian Hawkhurst (Hawker) has crossed paths many times with the charismatic and self-assured former French aristo Justine DeCabrillac (Owl). Each has had horrific experiences in their respective backgrounds which distilled the essence of their character and refined them into the exquisite weapons that they have become in the service of their individual countries. Glimpses of various encounters between them and the subsequent results of their actions also provide insight into the maneuverings behind the major events which shape the outcome of the struggle between Napoleon and those he sought to conquer. The pervading theme of their unavoidable attraction to each other despite the dictates of their roles is interspersed with the mystery that is introduced by Justine's very close brush with death at the onset of the story. A murder attempt that implicates Hawker and jibes with Justine's threat to kill him. Despite this, Hawker is determined to keep this enigmatic woman alive and find the true culprit as the history of their very real attachment to each other is gradually revealed.

This was a surprisingly fascinating read that is a blend of mystery, spy thriller and romance. The flashbacks give glimpses of the challenges that each of these two strongly opinionated and very capable spies face in unsettling times and environments that often pit them in direct opposition to each other. The scars left by the traumas they have experienced in their pasts have to be softened and circumvented but they find a way to move along the tightrope created by their obligations to their respective employers without compromising their underlying natures. The excerpt from "The Spymaster's Lady" indicates that it is very pertinent to the characters in "The Black Hawk" but this can definitely be read as an enthralling stand-alone work.

Book Blurb for The Black Hawk

Attacked on a rainy London street, veteran spy Justine DeCabrillac knows only one man can save her: Hawker, her oldest friend . . . her oldest enemy. London's crawling with hidden assassins and someone is out to frame Hawker for murder. The two spies must work together to find who's out to destroy them...

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2011 4.75