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A Certain Darkness–could WWI have ended sooner?
A Certain Darkness
by Anna Lee Huber
Lord Ardmore—a good name for an evil person. Although he is not physically present in A Certain Darkness, his influence and machinations pervade the events of this spy novel. Verity Kent and her husband Sidney are a rich and glamorous couple who are both well known in the intelligence circle for undercover work for the British during WWI. Sidney is also a war hero. In this book, they are once more called into service by their country to discover potentially damaging evidence.
In this action packed drama, Verity and Sidney don’t know whom to trust as they try to uncover how a murder occurred on a train and in a jail cell without anyone seeing either crime. Verity is a polyglot, a helpful skill as the couple interacts with French, German, Dutch, and Flemish speakers. One of my favorite scenes involves Verity speaking in their language to someone who is previously unaware that she can understand their conversations with others—rather embarrassing for the speaker.
The plot is complicated because the events that occurred during and after the war are quite complex. Just when I thought I wasn’t enjoying the book because of the intricate historical references, the action and intrigue picked up and I couldn’t wait to read what would happen next.
Both characters suffer from the horrors and stresses of the war, but there are some mental and emotional breakthroughs for both of them in this book. Whereas in the first book I read in the series (#2) I found the couple rather frivolous, I have come to like and respect both of them as I have gotten to know them better. There has also been more character development with each book. If you are interested in history or like spy mysteries, you will enjoy this series including A Certain Darkness. It closes out with a very important hook that will keep me and other readers anxious to read the next book in the series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Category: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Notes: 1. #6 in the Verity Kent Mystery Series. I do not recommend this book as a standalone. There is just too much necessary background provided in the previous books.
3. One of the themes of this book concerns the ending of WWI. I did an Internet search on this topic and found this is a concern for some historians. In her introduction, Huber lists a recently published nonfiction book on this subject that she used as a resource for her fiction book.
Publication: August 30, 2022—Kensington
Much of intelligence gathering in general was accepting that there were few total victories, few clear choices of right and wrong. Everything was shaded in gray. One had to make judgment calls, constantly wagering possible sacrifices versus gains. Sometimes you got it right and sometimes you got it wrong. But whatever the outcome, you had to swallow the guilt and disgust such decisions and compromises at times wrought.
I recognized what game he was playing, for he’d learned it from the best. After all, Lord Ardmore didn’t simply aim to outwit his opponents, but to corrupt and demoralize them. To turn them against themselves, against their very morals.
“I’d accepted long ago that the war was utterly senseless.” His voice rasped as if being dragged from the depths of his lungs. “That I was simply stuck. Just a little cog in a great monstrous machine that couldn’t be stopped and would one day consume me as well.”