by Patricia Veryan
***In this last volume of the series many mysteries are revealed. This review contains spoilers but I have included a warning when these parts come up***
The Tales of the Jeweled Man series comes to a rousing, fitting, and satisfying conclusion with the Mandarin of Mayfair. Patricia puts our hero through the usual unbearable torture and suffering and considerable violence before he has finally suffered enough to expiate past wrongs. In this case however, part of the dues he has to pay, at least in the guilty amends he makes to Jamie, is humorous and justified. Veryan ties everything together by reaching back to threads in her first books.
**Spoiler** Patricia revisits her first book in The Golden Chronicles, Practice to Deceive, to provide the identity of one of the traitorous ruling council. I hope you were paying attention way back 12 books ago! We also have the reappearance of her first hero, Quentin Chandler, up to his usual foolish and reckless tricks. She also brings in happenings in the prequel, The Wagered Widow (one of my favorites), to explain the motivations of another one of traitors. **end spoiler**
This is should be a five star book, but I must take away half a star, because of the unwarranted and controlling (disguised as protective) behavior of August Falcon towards his sister Katrina. His opposition to the sweet relationship between she and Jamie Morris throughout the series is just absurd. Oh, he tells a sad story of his grandmother’s tragic marriage, but it’s not enough justification. His Grandmother’s tragedy has nothing to do with Katrina and Jamie. He refuses to listen to Gwen’s common sense, and it generated feelings of exasperation and even hostility towards him on my part. ”The Smallest Rossiter” says it best: “ Four lives ruined: four chances for happiness shattered, only for the sake of your selfish and foolish would-be nobility!” But he stubbornly insists on guaranteeing the ruination of four lives in order to prevent the dubious possibility of the ruination four lives. Totally nonsensical.
On the other hand, I do honor Patricia for introducing the difficult theme of racism in this series. I like how even in the final scene of triumph in front of King and the elite of England, she shows that the Falcons and their spouses will always have to deal with it. It doesn’t just fade into the background. It remains an issue. His fear of the Ton’s racism and it’s effect on their future happiness also prevents him from proposing to Gwen.
**Spoiler**For some reason, when Gwen finally proposes to him, all doubt and fear is magically wiped away and we have our completely happy ending. I was like, “Huh? Is that all she had to do?.” Should have done that 50 pages ago, Gwen.**end spoiler**
Of course even if the satisfactory resolution of their romance is a foregone conclusion, I was delighted that Veryan did surprise me with a few happy and unforeseen twists and happenings. One thing for sure: In order to fully appreciate Patricia’s books, they simply must be read in order!
In conclusion, in the immortal words of Jamie Morris, “Tis’ a lazy dog that leans it’s head against the wall to bark.” Never forget that!
Final rating: ****4 1/2 stars****
October 2, 2018