The long-awaited prequel to Koen's beloved Through a Glass Darkly, Dark Angels is a feast of a novel that sparkles with all the passion, extravagance, danger, and scandal of seventeenth-century England. Alice Verney is a young woman intent on achieving her dreams. Returning to England after a messy scandal forced her to flee to Louis XIV's France, Alice is anxious to re-establish herself by regaining her former position as a maid of honor to Charles II's queen and marrying the most celebrated duke of the Restoration. But all is not as it seems in the rowdy, merry court of Charles II. Since the Restoration, old political alliances have frayed, and there are whispers that the king is moving to divorce his barren queen, who some wouldn't mind seeing dead. Alice, loyal only to a select few, is devoted to the queen, and so sets out to discover who might be making sinister plans-and if her own father is one of them. When a member of the royal family dies unexpectedly, the stakes are raised. As Alice steps up her efforts to find out who is-and isn't-true to the queen, she learns of shocking betrayals throughout court, and meets a man who she may fall in love with-and who could spoil all of her plans. With the suspected arrival of a known poison-maker, the atmosphere in the court electrifies, and suddenly the safety of the king himself seems uncertain. Secret plots are at play, and war is on the horizon-but will it be with the Dutch or the French? And has King Charles himself betrayed his country for greed? Unforgettable in its dramatic force, here is a novel of love and politics, of romance and betrayal, of power and succession-and of a resourceful young woman who risks everything for pride and status in an era in which women were afforded little of either.
Karleen Koen is the author of Now Face to Face and Through a Glass Darkly, which was a New York Times bestseller and featured a much older Alice Verney (known in that novel as the Duchess of Tamworth). The author lives in Houston, Texas. Visit her online at karleenkoen.com.From the Hardcover edition.