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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 Just when I thought I wasn’t enjoying the book because of the intricate historical references, the action and intrigue picked up and I couldn’t wait to read what would happen next.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.”
The Jerusalem Assassin–deadly peace proposal
The Jerusalem Assassin
by Joel C. Rosenberg
Not every book is a good match for every reader. I think that may have been the case for me and Joel C. Rosenberg’s The Jerusalem Assassin which is a Christian political thriller. Most of this book is the setup for a very convoluted assassination plot involving groups of high level leaders and secret operatives from seven countries as well as a terrorist group.
It becomes apparent to world leaders that the president of the Palestinian Authority “doesn’t want to go down in history as the man who made peace. He wants to be remembered as the man who refused to surrender to the ‘criminal Zionists’…” In response, the leaders of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel decide to meet on the Temple Mount and announce a peace proposal. Unfortunately, that opens the door for a targeted attack on the leaders of those countries.
Without the included Cast of Characters, I would have been lost. Instead, I was able to follow plot development by continual back and forth referencing of unfamiliar names, slowing the reading down considerably. I can’t say I actually enjoyed the book until the final fourth when the action played out.
The main character is Marcus Ryker who is ostensibly working for the Diplomatic Security Service, but is actually a special operative for the Central Intelligence Agency. Highly trained, efficient, and trusted, he uses his many connections to obtain critical information. He is a caring Christian, but his job puts him and those he loves in danger. I learned a lot about the daily physical and weapon training for agents and also the complicated logistics involved in setting up security for a U.S. president for a special event abroad.
Although the scenario of world conflict and years of attempts at a Middle East peace settlement are real, the details of the book’s plot and the people involved are fictional providing the author with much flexibility in creating his story. The results are deadly for many of the characters.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Tyndale House Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery and Thriller
Notes: 1. #3 in the Marcus Ryker Series, but this book did not appear to rely on very much background from other books.
2. This author has written many books, both fiction and nonfiction, that focus on the Middle East.
Publication: March 17, 2020—Tyndale House Publishers
They were coming, and he knew they were coming, and he knew why—they were coming to kill him and to kill the president and to kill anyone else who got in their way. They were coming to settle scores.
…he and his son-in-law “must have undergone a Vulcan mind meld at some point, so unified are their views on theology and politics and even where in the Old City to buy the best baklava.”
Mahdi, the long-awaited Promised One…when that savior came, he would finally judge the Jews, the Christians, the atheists, the agnostics, and the pagans. Indeed, the Mahdi would judge every infidel and do so with fire and fury such as the world had never seen nor imagined.