I have a confession to make -- I forgot all about books 2 and 3 of Kate Moore's Sons of Sins series and wasn't able to get copies when they were released. I only just picked them up recently.
Over the weekend, I decided to bring book 2: To Save the Devil on a short trip. While waiting for my flight, I was enjoying the book so much and was halfway through -- I had to put it down, afraid that it would end in a cliffhanger (about Kit) and I didn't have book 3.
The Sons of Sin are the three bastards of Sophie Rhys-Jones, a famed London courtesan. Xander, Will and Kit have had to live with their mother's infamy and their own spotted heritage while growing up -- when Kit gets kidnapped, Xander and Will dedicate themselves to searching for him.
Will thought it would be a simple mission: rescue the lady being sold at a virgin auction -- he succeeds but now finds himself encumbered by an unwanted assistant, who refuses to tell him her real name.
Helen of Troy has a mission of her own, and cannot afford the distraction caused by the enigmatic and appealing Will Jones. But she needs his assistance in locating valuable letters that could implicate her mother in a terrible conspiracy.
Will cannot afford to be distracted by Helen either -- he is on track to discovering the secrets of Archibald March, a man he believes is involved in Kit's kidnapping.
With great reluctance, the two work together -- and discover that they are after the same man. They spend their days investigating leads and spend their nights sharing the same bed -- but not their bodies.
Ultimately, the force of their mutual attraction proves too strong to resist ... and they yield.
This story has almost a metaphorical and a metafictional level -- Kate Moore uses the story of Helen of Troy to expound the characters of Will and "Helen" -- the two main characters engage in a series of interviews about Helen's life and decisions -- with each interview, Will gets deeper and deeper into knowing about his Helen.
"...Why Helen of Troy?" he asked. Her disguise suddenly seemed so incongruous.
"Helen doesn't weep, and she doesn't swoon. Everyone thinks the worst of her, but she doesn't crumble. She doesn't let them wound her."
"She ends up with no friends but Paris."
"Better Paris than Menelaus or any of those other famous suitors."
"Paris was an armor-polishing coward."
"He was a good architect, you know. He had excellent taste."
"That's what you want in a man? Good taste?"
"No. Do you want me to tell you?"
... "Tell me."
... "I want a man who sees me and knows me and wants me. For all his faults, Paris really did see me. You think I was wanted by all those other men, those famous suitors of mine, but it wasn't true -- they just wanted things that came with me -- a kingdom or victory or treasure. Nobody wanted me but Paris."
"What if I want you, Helen, just you, just your sweet self? Can you resist me?" ...
... "You don't want me. You want March."
It is ironic that neither one recognizes that they have the same need. Will needs a woman who will accept him for what he is -- a bastard born of a famous courtesan. And "Helen" wants a man who wants her and not her father's connections.
There is a sparseness to Moore's writing, to revealing in half-concealing -- and the play on metaphor can sometimes confuse the reader. The conspiracy plot also gets a bit jumbled, as well -- with names and history being presented without enough back story -- But the story rewards one in the end -- when the pieces fall into place and everything comes together.