Ian Maddox, aka the Wraith, is happy to leave his life as a spy— as soon as he discovers who’s been trying to kill his friends. All clues lead him to the bedroom of an exiled princess. Yet Princess Juliana isn’t the simpering royal he expects, and this irresistible beauty agrees to give him the information he seeks…for a price.
Princess Juliana has never cowered—not even as she fled her burning castle in the midst of a rebellion—so she won’t tremble before the darkly charismatic man who appears in her bedchamber and holds a knife to her throat. Instead, she bargains with the infamous spy to help her retrieve sensitive documents and restore her kingdom. But Juliana quickly finds that Ian is no humble servant, and she never imagines that lessons in thievery will lead to schooling in seduction.
Rating: B for content and B+ for narration
I’ve been waiting to read or listen to this story since I read Sins of a Ruthless Rogue (Book 2 in Ms Randol’s Sinners Trio) last Spring. Ian Maddox, aka The Wraith, appeared as a secondary character in that story and immediately caught my attention with his snarky mouth and cocky attitude. I’m a sucker for a smart guy with an equally smart mouth and have been eagerly awaiting his story which is the final book in Anna Randol’s trilogy of stories of espionage and romance.
Ian Maddox is one of a group of crack British spies known as “the Trio”, all of whom had been rescued from the gallows in exchange for putting their exceptional skills to use for the Crown during the Napoleonic wars. Ian’s particular talents have to do with retrieval – if there’s something he wants, he gets it, no matter what he has to do. He’s quick and light on his feet and can find ways in and out of all manner of places without people even knowing he’s there. Blink – and you’ll miss him.
When I started listening to Sins of a Wicked Princess, I was delighted to meet Ian again. He’s just as I remembered him – super confident, irreverent, witty, sexy, and flirtatious, and new-to-me narrator Veronica Paulton’s performance definitely brought out those characteristics very well indeed.
At the beginning of the series, the war is over and the Trio is released from their service and disbanded. Ian is certainly not averse to getting his life back, but before he “retires” he wants to do one last thing – discover the identity of the traitor who ordered their deaths. His investigations lead him to suspect the betrayal came from someone in the London home of the exiled Princess Juliana of Lenoria, a small European kingdom which is the object of dispute by the Spanish and the French.
Not being one to beat about the bush, Ian sneaks into Juliana’s chamber one night and confronts her with his suspicions. She has no idea who he is or what he is talking about, and Ian, who can recognise the truth when he hears it, has to reluctantly accept her protestations of innocence.
Shortly after this, Juliana is apprised of a plot to depose her in favour of her younger brother, Gregory, who has allowed himself to be dazzled by the promises of an extremely powerful British peer. In finding out about this plan, Juliana also discovers that Gregory was the one who ordered the deaths of the Trio. She recognises that her brother does not wish her harm, but that he has been duped by the Duke of Sommet, who is now blackmailing him to ensure his continued cooperation.
Juliana can think of only one person who can help her retrieve these sensitive documents and asks Ian to teach her the skills she will need to steal them from Sommet. In return, she will tell him what she knows about the Duke’s involvement in the treason against her country and the order to kill him and his friends.
You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.