Bitchin' Blog Posts
Title: The Black Hawk
Author: Joanna Bourne
Publication Info: Berkley 2011
Genre: Historical: European
Someone is stalking French agent Justine DeCabrillac through London's gray streets. Under cover of the rain, the assassin strikes--and Justine staggers to the door of the one man who can save her. The man she once loved. The man she hated. Adrian Hawkhurst.
Adrian wanted the treacherous beauty known as "Owl" back in his bed, but not wounded and clinging to life. Now, as he helps her heal, the two must learn to trust each other to confront the hidden menace that's trying to kill them--and survive long enough to explore the passion simmering between them once again.
And here is FairyKat's review:
Firstly, this is the fourth book in the series, but it was the one I read first and in many ways that's a great entry point. In fact, having gone back and read the two of the three prior books, I would say it is the best entry point, and if you adored this one it may be worth reading The Spymaster's Lady, but I wouldn't bother with the other two.
I only mention these other books because the story of the Hawk (once a grubby slum child Hawker, now Lord Hawksmoore and head of the Napoleonic era M15), and Justine is told largely in flashback, in events that are either depicted or at least alluded to in the earlier books. So long time fans of the series will have been awaiting the story of the French spy Owl / Justine and her 'Awker for some time.
The flashbacks are definitely the best thing about the book, recalled in a night of waiting as the Hawk watches over Justine after she has staggered to his front door bleeding, perhaps from an attack by one of his famous black knives, and perhaps poisoned. The flashbacks are well plotted, evocative and informative without being info-dumpy, or digressionary. I found the development of the story well paced and believable as the pair grew from two almost children caught up in the French Revolution, through the Napoleonic wars when they became lovers, to a fragile Regency peace and the moment when they can finally get their HEA--as long as Justine doesn't die first, and as long as she isn't the person trying to set him up as an assassin.
The subplot , which I think was supposed to be the main plot, about the Cachés, was a bit thin in comparison (though perfectly competent) and really only serves to set us up for the next story in the series.
The history, and the French, were both good enough that no blunders pulled me out of the story, and I'm a major pedant.