Hugo Marston must figure out what lies hidden inside an old sailor's chest before a 200-year-old blood promise is revealed and claims another life.
In post-Revolution Paris, an old man signs a letter in blood, then hides it in a secret compartment in a sailor's chest. A messenger arrives to transport the chest and its hidden contents, but then the plague strikes and an untimely death changes history.
Two hundred years later, Hugo Marston is safeguarding an unpredictable but popular senator who is in Paris negotiating a France/U.S. dispute. The talks, held at a country chateau, collapse when the senator accuses someone of breaking into his room. Theft becomes the least of Hugo's concerns when someone discovers a sailor's chest and the secrets hidden within, a
and decides that the power and money they promise are worth killing for.
But when the darkness of history is unleashed, even the most ruthless and cunning are powerless to control it.
My fourth time around the block with Mark Pryor and his series character – US embassy security guy, Hugo Marston. Marston has to babysit an American senator during some talks over a French territory. During the night the senator believes his room has been broken into whilst he was asleep and cries foul. His French host proves difficult in allowing any investigatory access to his family and guests deeming it insulting. A cursory investigation follows…..a few fingerprints taken and some staff members quizzed.
Interestingly the prints provide a match to a set lifted from a robbery-homicide elsewhere in France. An old lady died and a family chest went missing. Hugo believes the chest was one he saw at the chateau where the talks are being held. On return, the chest has vanished and soon our American senator starts behaving peculiarly.
Another enjoyable read, interesting characters – a lot of them repeat from earlier books and whilst I like the main man and his sidekick Tom, I don’t despair or share his sense of disappointment over his off-off relationship with his reporter girlfriend. I’m not fully sold on him yet – maybe one more book and you never know. Without spoiling, we say goodbye to one repeating character and possibly usher in another new one.
Decent mystery, decent plot. Great setting – Paris and a few points beyond in the French countryside. A bit of French and American history thrown into our back story and it all hung well together.
A small scene at the end where all and sundry stand solemn faced over the fresh dug grave of a two-hundred year old corpse, had me scratching my head. FFS…. Really? It’s the little things like that that just have me slightly at odds with the author…….maybe I just lack human empathy, who knows?
3.5 from 5 so probably getting rounded to a 4 when I post this elsewhere.
Link to my earlier reviews of Mark Pryor’s work and Hugo Marston are below. The Blood Promise is the 3rd Marston book published but sits after The Crypt Thief as The Button Man was a prequel.
5. The Reluctant Matador (2015) – yet to be read!
He has a new book out a standalone in Ocotober – Hollow Man.
The author’s website is here.