In “The Blood Promise,” Mark Pryor weaves a historical myth from 1795 France into a modern day murder mystery to answer the question: what really happened to the son of Marie Antoinette.
Hugo Marston, the US Embassy Head of Security in Paris, is asked to “babysit” US Senator (Presidential candidate) Charles Lake, while he’s in France to negotiate Guadeloupe’s petition to become part of the United States. The talks are arranged to take place in the country west of Paris at Chateau Tourville. While at the chateau, Hugo becomes intrigued with an antique sailor’s chest. Senator Lake is drugged and the talks are interrupted when Lake demands an investigation into who was in his room.
Senator Lake goes back to Paris and Hugo calls on his friend, Capitaine Raul Garcia, to conduct a discreet investigation at the chateau. Garcia turns up a fingerprint that ties into a robbery/murder near Troyes. The owner of the chateau refuses to cooperate in the investigation. When Garcia and Marston interview the murdered victim’s son, Georges Bassin, they discover that an antique sailor’s chest was among the items stolen. Garcia and Marston return to Chateau Tourville, but the chest is gone.
Hugo suspects that secrets within the old sailor’s chest are the linchpin to the murders. The evidence starts to point to a close friend or member of the Tourville family. As the killing begins and the leads narrow, evidence is found that confirms the antique chest contains a two-hundred-year-old secret that could destroy Senator Lake.
This book is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Hugo is a great character with good dialog and other characters are also well developed. Descriptions of Paris are vivid and the plot contains twists that will keep readers guessing the outcome of this intrigue-filled murder mystery.
FTC Full Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided by its publisher.
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