The Cover Caught My Eye...

The Cryptographer
The Second Sons series #1
by Alice Wallis-Eton (GoodReads Author)
Kindle Edition, 254 pages
Published August 11, 2015 by author (first pub Jan 1, 2015)

GoodReads Summary:
Everybody has a secret, but some are harder to decipher...

England, 1813. Aster Tanner is alone in the world and keeps a roof over her head by working the one asset she has - her mind. She needs her job; she does not need a Scotsman underfoot, making her heart flutter with heated glances and impertinent questions.

Iain McIntyre, Captain in the Second Dragoons, has a confidential assignment: find a list rumoured to name traitors working against England. He is looking for anything unusual -- like a woman working as a secretary. He tells himself his fascination with the lass is because she holds a man's position, and nothing to do with his rising desire to know the sharp mind hidden behind her darkened glasses.

When Aster is targeted by those intent on recovering the list, she must decide who to trust. She has seven encrypted names. But whose? Meanwhile, Iain is on the trail of a double agent. Time is running out, and secrets must be decoded before lives and hearts are sacrificed.

My Review:
First response: What a great story! Love the concept of this book. Full review to follow!

The first time I saw the cover of this book, I wanted to read it. I bought it immediately. The artwork on the cover is rich and three dimensional. It drew my eye immediately. The mixed media is wonderful. The dark, threatening clouds used in the background. The handsome young couple on top. Then the torn and worn handwriting. The wonderful fonts used for the title and the author's name. Then the red wax seal with white pen writing on it. Marvelous! But it was the story that held me engaged.

I'm hoping the rest of this series is as well done and that I get an opportunity to read it. This story is based in a series about second sons. Iain McKintyre is a Captain in the Second Dragoons, Scotts Greys. This is a division that has been held back and used for various covert assignments, but are generally laughed at for not being in the battle. Iain's older brother has recently died, so now he is the heir to the Earl of Kinloch, but not very happy about it. 

Aster Tanner, along with her dog Dougal, work in the Records office for Sir John Warrington. He has a reputation for being impossible to work for because of his quirks. He likes everything just so and gets quite irate if things aren't the way he likes them. Sir John has severe OCD. Something which really wasn't recognized at the time. But since Aster has a form of it herself, she understands it and can work with it in Sir John. But it's this OCD that enables them to work the codes as they do. They presently have a coded list that isn't cooperating for Sir John. When Sir John disappears, the list comes to Aster and she doesn't know who to trust until she can get that list decoded. And one of the names could be Iain McKintyre.

Ms. Wallis-Eton has created a really interesting situation inside the intelligence community of the time with fairly well-developed characters. Iain isn't as well-drawn as Aster, I felt. But this is a good solid story line and there are really interesting quirks in the characters. It makes for a good read. I recommend this for those who like the brainy heroines, because this one thinks circles around the guys!

I acquired this book from Amazon and this is an honest review for which I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions are fully my own.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review


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