Much Ado about Rogues is the final book in Kasey Michaels' "Blackthorn Brothers" series - three brothers who are the illegitimate sons of a marquess and an actress. While it didn't have very much of the humor Michaels is noted for, it turned out to be my favorite in the trilogy. "Black Jack" Blackthorn had an air of mystery about him in the other books; a shadowy figure who worked for the government - work best not mentioned. We finally learn his full story and see him paired with a woman every bit his equal.
Jack does covert work for the crown, but he is ready to step down. He is tired of living in the shadows and is ready to retire, but he has one more job to do: His mentor, the French Marquis Fonteneau turned English spy, has gone missing. He has too many secrets to be allowed to wander free and Jack must find him and eliminate him. Complicating matters is Jack's history with his mentor's daughter, Lady Tess, with whom he fell in love and planned to marry. However, four years ago, a job went horribly wrong and Tess's twin brother died. Tess blamed Jack and they parted in bitterness and acrimony.
It doesn't take long for Jack to find Tess and for them to decide they must work together to find the Marquis. Along the way many truths are told and secrets unburied - including the fact that Tess has a three year old son who looks remarkably like Jack. Jack and Tess admit, to themselves at least, that they are still in love, but there are many obstacles to overcome before they can begin a life together again. There are issues of trust and worthiness, betrayals and suspicion, unexpected - and unwanted - revelations. There's a lot going on here and Michaels navigates it all with pathos and small touches of humor.
Much Ado about Rogues is a great way to wind up the Blackthorn series and a fitting story for the series' most enigmatic character.
Reviewed by Cheryl Sneed, April 17, 2012