Scoundrel - Zoe Archer If I had to pick a word to describe Zoe Archer’s Blades of the Rose series it would have to be Epic. Because there is just something larger than life about her stories of adventure and romance. It’s partly because they draw on a rich literary and film lore to form the background, or flavor, of the adventures. But it’s also partly because the books are just plain fun to read.

I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy Scoundrel more than the first book in the series, but I did! Bennett Day is definitely a scoundrel. He’s perfectly content mixing business with pleasure and is particularly happy when he gets to use seduction to further the aims of his group, the Blades, in their quest to keep their enemies, the Heirs of Albion, from pushing British Colonialism onto unsuspecting people using magical repositories known as Sources. He will fight when necessary, but he’s equally at home using stealth or his ability at decoding ciphers.

His insouciance is rattled, though, when he discovers that his quest needs London Harcourt to succeed. And she just happens to be both the widow of a man he killed and the daughter of one of the Blade’s worst enemies. Even worse, they have a scorching attraction and chemistry that rattles his love them and leave them way of life.

Pardon me while I gush: Wow. I loved, loved, loved this book. Even though this book is set in Greece, while the previous one was set in Mongolia, the setting is just as richly drawn. You can imagine it perfectly. There is an authenticity to the culture and landscape that just rings with believability.

I think what made me love this one just a tiny bit more than Warrior was the series of adventures Bennett and his crew undertake. While firmly rooted in the Homeric tradition, with a little mythology mixed in, there was also a dash of Sinbad and more than a little Errol Flynn. The pace was nearly breakneck as Bennet, London, Athena, and Kallas must keep ahead of their pursuers and confront each new obstacle that stands in their way.

My only quibble is that I felt like the detailed love scenes were almost unnecessary. I don’t mind steamy scenes, but to me, the ultra descriptive scenes weren’t really needed here. The intimacy and heat was more than apparent without them. I know it's expected in today's romances and normally I'm not bothered by it, but for this particular book, I think it was a little jarring.

Although this could easily stand alone, I think the reader would get far more out of it having read the first book in the series. This book picks up right where Warrior leaves off, although some necessary back story is included for those new to the series. Personally, I can't wait for the next installment in the series, thankfully being released in just over a week, because these books are so much fun to read. They are definitely going on my keeper shelf, because I can see myself rereading them often.

My Grade: A