India Black

India Black

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by Carol K. Carr
     
 

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When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing

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Overview

Read India Black's blog and other content on the Penguin Community.

When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 1876, Carr's breezy, fast-paced debut introduces feisty India Black, who runs a London brothel catering to gentlemen, many of whom recognize the reference to the Tennyson poem in the brothel's name, Lotus House. When a patron turns up dead at Lotus House, India plots to dump the corpse elsewhere to preserve her business's reputation, but her efforts are interrupted by the shadowy Mr. French, who assumes responsibility for disposal of the body. In exchange, India agrees to go undercover at the behest of the prime minister himself, Benjamin Disraeli, to prevent highly sensitive documents that the victim was carrying from falling into the wrong hands. The dead man proves to have been Sir Archibald Latham, of the War Office, and the missing documents regard England's readiness to fight the Russians in the Balkans. Readers should be prepared for formulaic plot twists involving numerous escapes and gunfights. (Jan.)
Library Journal
When a War Office official dies in a London brothel, the chief concern of the madam, India Black, is discreet disposal of the body. Unfortunately, the important papers he carried have disappeared, along with a prostitute who is a Russian operative. Enter French, a spy for Prime Minister Disraeli, who threatens to shut down India's establishment unless she helps recover the documents. Disraeli explains the need to hide Britain's military weakness from the Russians to deter them from invading the Ottoman Empire. Loss of face might also bring his archrival, Gladstone, to power. Most of the novel revolves around India's and French's complex and generally unsuccessful plots to outwit their Russian counterparts. An extended chase over snowy countryside in worsening weather draws India and French closer physically, while they continue verbal sparring. They are shadowed by Victor, a resourceful but malodorous street urchin who pops up at opportune moments. India punctuates her account with caustic comments about men, morals, and politics and disparaging remarks about the "bints" she employs. Her closing comments hint at sequels.Verdict More espionage than mystery, this debut novel will appeal to readers who favor action over detection and clever narrative voice above introspection.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato
Kirkus Reviews

A clever madam finds herself defending Her Majesty Queen Victoria's government from international intrigue.

India Black is the proprietress of Lotus House, an upscale London brothel serving the finest of England's civil servants and military men. When one such upstanding gentleman, known as Bowser, keels over dead in the midst of a particularly embarrassing session, India aims to leave his body for discovery far from her house with the help of Vincent, a filthy street urchin. They're stopped in their tracks by a dark, handsome stranger, Bowser's colleague at the War Office, who's happy to help remove the corpse to a slightly less disreputable setting so long as they turn over a portfolio of government documents Bowser had on him. But Bowser's case has gone missing, along with his tart. This development bodes ill for England—so ill that India is grabbed off the street and brought to Prime Minister Disraeli's office to hatch a plan to retrieve the case from the Russian embassy. With the help of Vincent, a fellow lady of the evening, and the handsome gentleman from the War Office, India dodges Cossacks and a meddlesome vicar, proving herself resourceful, stubborn and amusingly cynical, even as she risks death for the gratitude of her country, plus a new gown and furs.

With a heroine reminiscent of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacyseries, this saucy debut is a satisfying amusement, with the happy promise of more to come.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425238660
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/04/2011
Series:
Madam of Espionage Series, #1
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
281,819
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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