A Spy at the Gate

Valerie Gray, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (297p) ISBN 978-0-312-00191-9
Writing a gothic novel while ensconced in the Sussex downs, Hester Vane finds herself suddenly embroiled in mysterious and dangerous events that rival those of her fictional heroine. It's 1804, and the Brighton seacoast teems with espionage and counter-espionage as, across the sea, Napoleon is about to be crowned, raising hopes among his followers in England for a coup d'etat. Enter ""The Beau Chevalier'' who, revealed as the saturnine Lord Montfort, is not only a secret agent against the Napoleonic cabal, but also a contender for Hester's hand, thus engaging her emotionally in some deadly pursuits. The busy social ambience of the pre-Regency period, with emphasis on routs, balls and details of dress is a flavorful background against which Gay deploys a heroine with feminist leanings and some stock supporting characters. Unfortunately, to unravel the tangled skeins of the story, the author relies on explanatory passages that suspend action and impede dramatic momentum. (January 13)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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