Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Barker & Llewelyn #2
Publication Date: 12/27/16
Number of Pages: Audio Version
I came into this series with the eleventh book, and I enjoyed that one so much I’m now reading through the earlier books in the series. I’m so glad I’ve started doing that because I am getting a much better feel for the characters and what makes them tick. Barker is definitely an enigma. He seems to know everything there is to know; Has experienced everything there is to experience; He’s very private, maybe secretive even. He’s also kind, considerate, and patient with Llewelyn. Llewelyn, on the other hand, is just happy to be here. He’s very smart, learns quickly, is a bit naïve, and is so very grateful to Barker for hiring him when no one else would.
I thought Anthony Ferguson, the narrator, did an excellent job of portraying the very strait-laced, proper speaking Victorian gentlemen – Barker and Llewelyn. There was a wide range of accents – Scots, English, Irish, Welsh, American, French, German – and the narrator was excellent with each of them – he made each very distinctive and it was easy to distinguish which character was speaking. His pacing was excellent and his voice was soothing. Definitely the right narrator for this series.
I love the historical accuracy of these books – and I love that they don’t sugar-coat or skirt-round the political issues of the day – they hit them head-on. In this book, we have the Irish fighting for independence by fair means or foul. Our story deals with those who were using the foul means, of course.
Thomas Llewelyn has been employed by Cyrus Barker for a mere two months when London is rocked by two bomb blasts. Those blasts destroyed large portions of both the Junior Carlton Club and Scotland Yard – which houses the Home Office and the newly formed Special Irish Branch which was created to deal with the Irish Rebellion. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it is Irish Terrorists who set the bombs. What they don’t know is which faction is behind it.
Barker immediately offers his and Llewelyn’s services to identify and bring the faction to justice. Of course, the SIB doesn’t want them on the case and they’ll do their best to thwart Barker and Llewelyn at every turn. Barker will go undercover as a famous explosives expert and Llewelyn will go as his assistant. They’ll infiltrate the faction, find the incriminating evidence, and call in the authorities to make arrests. Sounds simple – right?
Tensions are high among the terrorists and Barker and Llewelyn are in grave danger throughout the entire operation. They both know the terrorists would just as soon murder them – savagely – as look at them. Each must pay close attention to stay in character and not give anything away – while making bombs – real bombs – and then manage, somehow, to render those same bombs inert.
While we learn, early on, which faction set the bombs, we aren’t sure who is the mastermind behind the plot until the very end. Can Barker and Thomas solve the puzzle before the culprit escapes?
This was an exciting, page-turning read and I just couldn’t stop listening. I hope you’ll read/listen and enjoy this book as much as did.