This was, in all honesty, an amazing book. From the start I was invested in the story and what would happen next.
The book takes place in London, a year after Jack the Ripper. James Heron is a constable who comes across a dead woman and sees Alun Blayney at the scene of the crime. The tension between James and Alun is intense and James believes Alun when he says he's not a killer. The intensity between the two is scorching, though, and they can't seem to stay away from each other even with their desires being punishable by death. They each have their own problems, however. More murders are happening and James is present for all of them. Alun, on the other hand, is tasked to find the killer by the local pack leader. While their relationship deepens, their feelings are put to the test when one thing after the other happens that could make James see Alun as a monster instead of the man he loves.
This was a great, well-written book. I loved the time this story is based around and the paranormal twist Alun being a lycanthrope puts on it. I loved James because of the emotions he lets himself freely feel for Alun from the start. James and Alun, however, are completely different. James comes from money and Alun is a diangen, an outcast, with no money, job or place to live. They are complete opposites and on top of their roles in society, they have to deal with their forbidden desire. Make no mistake, neither of these boys are in denial. They both know and accept their love of men. Alun is the type of character that would torture himself, instead of allowing someone else he cares about to be hurt so when his friends show up dead, it hurts him deeply. Alun is also afraid to tell James what he is because he doesn't want James to loathe him which is heart-breaking.
The mystery I thought was well done. You are curious about it and drawn into it. Wondering how this could happen, what they'll do next and how they'll handle it all. At one point, the intensity of what was happening when they found the 'killer' and tried him was excruciatingly captivating. I was on the edge of my seat with butterflies in my stomach waiting for what the verdict of it was going to be. Who knew reading about court could be so fun?! But the conflict revolving the murders was interesting while the situations around Alun being a lycan was doubly so. I loved seeing how different the lycan society was from humans. How their world is even harsher than human society. It amazed me and I couldn't get enough of it. I loved the fact that Alun worried over what James would think of him and then how James would worry about Alun leaving. I also enjoyed the secondary characters - Rob and Mrs. Dunberry - were interesting and made the story fun. This story was simply suspenseful.
There was a time or two when the repetitiveness got annoying, though. Alun's constant need to bring up the fact he was diangen, useless, outcast and how because he's diangen he'd never find a mate especially not a human one was a little too much. There were a few things left unanswered like what happened to the killer and where Rhianna is going. I'm also curious about some things like who Robin is, how it was possible for James' hands to heal so fast over night (James is even shocked his hand was fine the next morning) and how James' parents died but I still loved the story as it was.
All in all, I adored this story. The secondary characters, in addition to the main characters, were amusing and fun. The plot was engaging and the conflict regarding Alun and James made this historical paranormal a great story. I do hope there will be more books based in this setting because I would love to have one about Rob and Thad! Definitely recommended.