A Restless Truth is the second entry in Freya Marske’s beloved, award-winning Last Binding trilogy, the queer historical fantasy series that began with A Marvellous Light.
Magic! Murder! Shipboard romance!
Maud Blyth has always longed for adventure. She expected plenty of it when she volunteered to serve as an old lady’s companion on an ocean liner, in order to help her beloved older brother unravel a magical conspiracy that began generations ago.
What she didn’t expect was for the old lady in question to turn up dead on the first day of the voyage. Now she has to deal with a dead body, a disrespectful parrot, and the lovely, dangerously outrageous Violet Debenham, who’s also returning home to England. Violet is everything that Maud has been trained to distrust yet can’t help but desire: a magician, an actress, and a magnet for scandal.
Surrounded by the open sea and a ship full of suspects, Maud and Violet must first drop the masks that they’ve both learned to wear before they can unmask a murderer and somehow get their hands on a magical object worth killing for—without ending up dead in the water themselves.
My thoughts: I didn’t think this would be better than A Marvellous Light, one of my favourite books of recent years, but oh it is. I loved Maud, I loved Violet, I even like grumpy Hawthorn. Basically I adored this book. A sapphic murder aboard a ship with magic and hijinks and lots of Maud getting a very private education from Violet. And it’s so, so, so good. Elements of Tipping the Velvet, Titanic (do not tell me the hiding in the car scene wasn’t a huge nod, that ended very differently), Agatha Christie style crime novels (made me think of the recently published A Fatal Crossing and Miss Aldridge Regrets) and just tremendous fun.
Maud is undercover, when the lady she’s accompanying across the Atlantic is murdered and she needs to solve the crime, identify the piece of the very important Last Contract, and avoid getting murdered herself, so she can report back to Robin and Edwin safe and sound. So obviously she recruits a team – an actress, a Lord and a reporter/jewel thief, and those are just the people who know they’ve been recruited (there’s a menagerie involved too – cheetahs at sea!)
I loved this and I can’t wait for my fancy Illumicrate edition to arrive and sit next to its siblibg on the bookcase and there’s still a book three to come and I am very excited as you might be able to tell…
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.