Beneath a Silent Moon

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Overview

The task had taken shape thanks to the end of a war and the inconvenient way secrets had of bubbling to the surface. It went without saying that it was going to be difficult. But then murder always was...

London, 1817: Beneath a silent moon, a stranger steals into London, bound to complete a grim task that began in the shadows of the past....

On that same evening, amid the splendor of Glenister House, London's haut ton celebrates, still flush...

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Overview

The task had taken shape thanks to the end of a war and the inconvenient way secrets had of bubbling to the surface. It went without saying that it was going to be difficult. But then murder always was...

London, 1817: Beneath a silent moon, a stranger steals into London, bound to complete a grim task that began in the shadows of the past....

On that same evening, amid the splendor of Glenister House, London's haut ton celebrates, still flush with victory in the Napoleonic Wars. Among the revelers are Mélanie and Charles Fraser—he, a former spy connected to the most powerful families in Britain, and she his exquisite bride, who has charmed all of society.

That night, stunning revelations pull the couple back into the world of intrigue they thought they'd escaped, forcing them to untangle a web of lies that spans generations and threatens the fate of nations. But the truth is a deadly weapon that could lead to scandal, tragedy, and murder.

An assassination, a secret society, and the dangerous liaisons of Charles's own family lead the Frasers from the lamplit streets of the city to a castle on the Scottish coast. The stakes of this game are the lives of those Charles holds most dear, and the trust of the enigmatic woman with whom he shares his name...and his bed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061473555
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/29/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Tracy Grant studied British history at Stanford University and received the Firestone Award for Excellence in Research for her honors thesis. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is on the board of the Merola Opera Program, a training program for professional opera singers, coaches, and stage directors.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Beneath a Silent Moon

Chapter One

Glenister House,
Grosvenor Square
Later the same evening

I wish he'd never come back to England, damn him."

The words, delivered in the light voice of a nineteen-year-old young lady of quality but with the intensity of a hardened soldier, hung incongruously in the rose-scented air. Evelyn Mortimer turned her gaze from the swirl of dancers on the black-and-white marble of her uncle's ballroom floor below to study the speaker. She'd had a feeling when she awoke this morning that this bid fair to be the longest day of her life. At the moment, it was looking as though it might be rather worse.

"It's no good trying to create a stir with your shocking language, Gelly," Evie said. "I'm the only one within earshot. You wish who'd never come back to England?"

"Who do you think?" Gisèle Fraser's kid-gloved fingers tightened round the etched crystal of her champagne glass. "My odious brother."

Evie gripped the gilded wrought-iron balustrade in a vain attempt to still the unease roiling through her. The candlelight shimmered over the scene below, glinting indiscriminately off real diamonds and paste copies, flickering over painted silk fans and starched cravats, playing off polished silver trays and crystal glasses, tapestry-hung walls and classical friezes. Yet she could feel the tension rippling beneath this spun-sugar world. A tension that stood to shatter the peace of the evening.

She spotted the tall, lean figure of Gisèle's brother on the far side of the dance floor, talking with two other black-coated gentlemen. At first glance, Charles Fraser appeared little different from any other man at the ball. His coat was cut less extravagantly than some, though he wore it better than most, and his shirt points were not as ridiculously high as the style some of the young gallants affected. But something else marked him out from the throng, a restless intensity in the set of his shoulders and the angle of his head. Like an actor who is giving a creditable performance of Goldsmith but would much rather sink his teeth into Hamlet.

Alarm prickled the back of Evie's neck. Of all the complications of the evening, it was Charles Fraser's presence that chilled her to the bone. "Odious isn't exactly the word I'd use to describe your brother," she said.

Gisèle tossed back the remaining quarter of her glass of champagne. "He doesn't belong here."

"At Glenister House?" Evie continued to watch Charles. He was leaning an arm against one of the pillars with casual ease, yet she had the sense that even here he was ready to spin round and disarm an attacker. "I hate to argue, but I went over the invitation list myself, and I can assure you he was invited."

"In Britain," Gisèle said. "I'm sure Wellington and Castlereagh still need him in Paris, stealing documents and unmasking traitors and shooting people and that sort of thing."

"Is that what diplomats do?" Was it too much to hope that Charles might decide to leave the ball early? Yes, it probably was. "And here I thought they filled their days with dull things like signing treaties and shuffling papers."

"Charles wasn't a normal diplomat. Only he won't talk about what he really did during the war and I'm not supposed to ask questions. Not that I want to talk to him. After nine years, we really don't have anything to say to each other. Which is why I wish to heaven he'd stayed on the Continent, instead of coming home and dragging that wife of his along from Spain -- "

"Portugal." Evie mentally cursed herself for allowing the conversation to take this turn. Discussing Charles Fraser's marriage was like stumbling into an ever more treacherous mire. "He was at the embassy in Lisbon when he married her."

"But she's Spanish. And French. She has those exotic looks that gentlemen find annoyingly attractive." Gisèle twisted one of the pink silk roses on the left shoulder of her gown. "Everyone says she married him for his money."

"It's always difficult to know why one person marries another," Evie said. The words seemed to hang in the air, cutting like a knife through the pastel fabric of the evening.

"I can't imagine why Charles married her," Gisèle said. "She's very pretty, but he treats her more like a junior attaché than the woman he loves. I've scarcely seen them within ten feet of each other all evening. Of course, the whole concept of Charles being in love seems self-contradictory."

Evie glanced down at the ballroom again. Even amid a fair share of London's Upper Ten Thousand, Mrs. Charles Fraser stood out like a poppy in a posy of hothouse roses. It wasn't her looks, though her dark hair and pale skin were undeniably dramatic. Or her gown, though she had plainly brought the narrow, clean-lined creation of spider gauze and silver satin with her from Paris. It was the way she held herself, with a graceful ease that seemed out of place in an English ballroom.

It wasn't easy to be an outsider in this world, as Evie knew to her own cost. For an instant her mind was flooded with the memory of her uncle's crested black traveling carriage, arriving late one night to take her away from the crowded, dingy house that was the only home and family she'd ever known.

She swallowed, so hard that she felt as if the life was being choked out of her. Absurd. It wasn't the past that mattered now, it was the present. She needed her wits about her to get through tonight with all the key players still in one piece ...

Beneath a Silent Moon. Copyright © by Tracy Grant. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2009

    Great book!

    I stumbled onto this author and loved both of her books! There's not a lot of overt romance, but the author conveys the underlying feelings of Charles and Melanie very well. Great historical read. I can't wait for more stories of their adventures together!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Great Historical Mystery

    The characters in this novel were very compelling. They were well developed and the ending was definately a surprise, but the "who-dun-it" kinda came out of nowhere, it would have been better if this characters story was emphasized more.
    The plot was excellent, i didnt want to put it down and read it in only a few days. The love story was also very cool and great that not too much is given away, which makes the sequel great as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2006

    Very well written

    I loved this book as much as the first one! I even wrote Tracy Grant to tell her how much I loved her books! She resopnded back like 4 times! I love Authors who return their messages!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2005

    Awesome!!!

    I loved this book just as much as the first one. Tracy Grant is my favorite author!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    tremendous Regency suspense thriller

    Charles Fraser met and married Melanie when they worked cloak and dagger against supporters of Napoleon on the continent. After four years of danger, the couple accompanied by their two children comes to London to take their place amongst the Ton. Now in the safety of post war England, Melanie wonders if her spouse has doubts about their relationship and loves Honoria Talbot who shockingly is marrying Charles¿ widowed father Kenneth. A cohort from their espionage days, Francisco Doro, notifies Charles and Melanie that he wants to meet them. They rendezvous only to have a sniper kill Francisco and wound Charles. Managing to escape this trap, the duo remains caught in the middle of deadly intrigue involving their past and his family. Beneath THE SILENT MOON is a that contains some romance elements, but the exhilarating story line focuses on the intrigue. The return of the Frasers in a prequel (see DAUGHTER OF THE GAME) will delight readers as the couple retains their mystery and charm though more doubts about their relationship exists this time then in last year¿s novel. Tracy Grant provides richly textured historical intrigue that brings to life London just after the Napoleonic Wars. Harriet Klausner

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