Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves return for this 11th book in the Lady Emily series. Emily, Colin, and their friends Jeremy and Margaret travel to Santorini where Emily, a great enthusiast of all things ancient Greek, hopes to distract Jeremy from his recent heartbreak (see “The Adventuress” review, below). Before they go, however, Emily receives several disturbing reminders of her first husband, the late Viscount Ashton, who died while on African safari years before. It seems his ghost is not ready to leave her alone. Once on Santorini, at the viscount’s former villa which Emily now owns, a man arrives on the doorstep begging for medical help and claiming to be Philip Ashton. Emily finds him familiar, and he provides an extremely detailed account of the past few years, including severe illness, poverty, and a desire to leave his old life behind. But is he telling the truth? When armed men appear, demanding a bronze fragment bearing the name “Achilles” in ancient Greek they think the man calling himself Philip has stolen, things turn sinister. Emily discovers the disputed piece sewn into “Philip’s” clothing and must determine who is telling the truth. She and Colin are determined to protect this man from the thugs, but is he really her first husband and if so, why did he steal something from an archaeological site?
I always enjoy Ms. Alexander’s writing and the scenery in this book is first-rate. Anyone who loves history, especially literary history, cannot fail to see Ms. Alexander’s appreciation of it in her books. The plot lines feel like they are running low on steam though. Emily’s wit is charming, as ever, but the stories feel a bit tired. Emily’s first husband has been “resurrected” a few times now, and Colin and Emily’s romance is no longer new and vibrant. This is not at all uncommon in long book series, but I’d like to see Emily join in on Colin’s work as a queen’s agent rather than continuing these family intrigues. I feel like Emily’s life cannot possibly provide more fodder than it already has, and it’s time to turn to a bigger stage with fresh blood and more exciting situations.
The review for the previous book in the series, “The Adventuress”, can be found here. I have reviewed roughly half of the other books in this series. Search for “Alexander” on the home page to get the full list.
Amazon link is here.