The minute I started this I was swept away. It certainly helped that I am a huge Shape's War fan and I could immediate picture the battles and areas that Will Masterson goes through. And I loved the idea of the fighting goddess Athena, sweeping into action, so reminiscent of the Contessa, Teresa Moreno. I loved Will and Athena's story.
The story opens in the town of Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal 1809. Imprisoned in a cellar by the French, due to face a firing squad, Lord Will Masterson, along with five other men escape death by a near to miraculous route. They make a pact. Having escaped death, they would look to right wrongs from their past once the war is over. And so the Brotherhood of Rogues Redeemed is born.
1814. Athena Masterson, illegitimate daughter of an English Duke has found rest in the small kingdom of San Gabriel between France and Spain. Athena is acting as advisor for Princess Sofia when Will comes to call enroute back to England as a favour for Ducal (one of his prison acquaintances). He is temporarily leading the Gabrileno cavalry, part of the Anglo-Portuguese army, back to their home and will review the situation there for the authorities. Napoleon has abdicated and the worry is that the kingdom may be a prime target for rogue ex-French troops or Spanish guerrillas. Will finds the court stable, but unprepared for any attacks. The king and his son are missing presumed dead and Princess Sophie is ruling in their absence with Athena acting as Sofia's regent.
Will and Athena are immediately attracted to each other. Athena however has set her sights on a single life. She doesn't want the reputation of her mother to be cast over anyone she might come to care for. The story of Will and Athena's coming together is really quite wonderful.
Meanwhile Will quickly assesses the dire needs of the kingdoms and advises actions.
All is not helped by the threat of invasion from renegade a French force looking to make the kingdom of San Gabriel into their fiefdom.
Once more a son of Westerfield Academy is a central and interesting force to be reckoned with.
I am so looking forward to the remaining rogues' stories!
A NetGalley ARC