The five captivating historical romances in this anthology are thematically linked by the idea of social and personal justice, as well as the stated conceit of gambling. Lerner explores bisexuality and anti-Semitism in Regency England in “All or Nothing.” Bourne’s Spymaster series gets a prequel story, “Gideon and the Den of Thieves,” that explores the code of the London criminal underworld during the French Revolution. American history is well represented by Cooper’s “Raising the Stakes,” featuring a Dust Bowl con artist who aims to bring down a greedy preacher, and O’Keefe’s “Redeemed,” which uses drug addiction and the lingering tensions of the Civil War as background to the redemption of a Union doctor and a captive former spy in 1868 Denver. Finally, Lin continues her Lotus Palace series with the exceptional “The Liar’s Dice,” creating a fascinating mystery around murder and corruption in Tang Dynasty China’s civil service examinations. The tie-in works are very accessible for new readers and will leave them eager to hunt down the authors’ backlists. The complex characters, intricate relationships, and sparkling plots showcase each author’s strengths, making this collection a must-have for any historical romance fan. (BookLife)
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