cover image The Emperor’s Conspiracy

The Emperor’s Conspiracy

Michelle Diener. S&S/Gallery, $15 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4516-8443-8

Diener (Keeper of the King’s Secrets) delivers a rousing read in this stand-alone novel with a hasty final act. Charlotte Raven went from childhood chimney sweep to London high society when good fortune smiled on her at a young age. She now straddles two worlds, enjoying a life of affluence, yet forever tied to her humble roots and Luke Bracken, the man who lifted her from destitution. When Charlotte is inadvertently caught up in a national conspiracy involving Napoleon, she must make use of this dual status on the streets of London. During a growing recession, gold guineas begin mysteriously disappearing by the ton. When Lord Durnham comes to London to investigate, Charlotte’s personal connections and class-bridging status place her in the center of the unfolding drama. Diener entwines mystery and romance within this 19th-century historical thriller. The story moves at a pace that will keep readers intrigued and rooting for Charlotte, but too many subplots—including the love triangle at the novel’s core—are left untidy by the end. The story begs for a sequel. Agent: Marlene Stringer, the Stringer Literary Agency. (Dec.)