In 1811 England, the Napoleonic Wars have finally ended. Soldiers wounded in mind and body have been drifting back to an England that is in the middle of a political power struggle between forces that support the demented King George and those who support his dissolute son, the erstwhile Prince Regent. Into this incipient chaos comes Sebastian Alilstair St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin and former military officer who carries war-related nightmares of his own. Brilliant and with uncanny powers of sight and hearing, St. Cyr finds himself the main suspect in the rape and murder of a popular actress who was also the mistress to several members of a shadowy political cabal that surrounds the throne.
Before he knows it, St. Cyr must rely on his considerable wits to escape capture and likely execution. An odd assembly of characters is committed to helping St. Cyr. These include a young street urchin named Tom whom St. Cyr reluctantly adopts. Tom quickly proves an invaluable ally as St. Cyr employs ingenious disguises, labyrinthine strategy, and brilliant deduction to finally identify the true killer from among suspects as diverse as an Italian portrait painter and the possible next prime minister of England.
Harris does an excellent job of weaving together engaging characters and a realistic portrayal of early 19th century England. The plot is solid, with excellent pacing and suspenseful action. St. Cyr makes an unusual and compelling hero, flawed and honorable. The impish Tom is a perfect foil for the highly educated, handsome Viscount with a sense of humor. What Angels Fear is an exciting read and ably prepares the way for more books in what is sure to be a great series.