by Cynthia Pratt

January 2003
ISBN: 0-8217-7488-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Cynthia Pratt blends together intrigue, romance and strong characters to bring us The Black Mask. All of London is talking about the exploits of the Black Mask, a most unusual thief. Rather than steal from the richest citizens, the Black Mask has a very exclusive list of victims - he steals from those who prey on others, then uses the information that he gathers to bring them to justice. Rose has hopes that she may encounter the rogue, and convince him to retrieve her brotherís IOUs from Sir Niles Alardyce.

Sir Niles Alardyce has obtained the debts in order to shield her family from more misfortune. Her brother Rupert gambles badly and is in financial straits. Since he admires Rose for her independent spirit and strong character, he hopes to keep Rupert from more trouble. When Rose is placed in danger, Niles does not hesitate to act.

Even though this is a rather tame novel, in terms of the content, I really enjoyed the characters and found the plot well constructed. Niles and Rose are not the run-of-the-mill hero and heroine. Rose is unconventional and Niles is not larger than life, like so many romantic characters. The book is fast-paced with plenty of action. There is a charming secondary romance that adds interest, and brings out the best in the characters.

Reviewed in April 2003 by Paula.

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