Iceman ups the ante on the adrenaline and the passion in the return to the shadowy Conscience world. Without A Conscience is a solid sequel that pursues the ongoing story of a man trying to walk away from his past to embrace the love of a woman also trying to build something new in the present.
Without a Conscience is book two in the Conscience series. It is best if it is read in order behind Denial of Conscience. In fact, if the reader plans to read the series, I’d suggest not reading the rest of my review so you don’t encounter any incidental spoilers. Also, I’d suggest not neglecting the Guilty Conscience collection of vignettes that falls between the two books giving insight into what comes in this book.
The story opens with retired Obsidian assassin, Fitzwilliam ‘Iceman’ Darcy enjoyed married bliss with his Liz at his family’s estate, Pemberley. Raising and training horses and polo ponies while Liz putters around with her orchids in the Conservatory keeps them busy and content, yet both of them hope that they can hold onto the peace and happiness they fought so hard to obtain. Liz is convinced that she is not enough to hold her husband’s attention and that he will eventually leave her to go back to his high-octane life and the fast women. At the same time, Darcy worries that some evil from his past will show up and snatch away his happiness with Liz.
Far away, an enemy plots to draw Iceman out in the open where revenge can finally be had for a past Iceman kill shot. He meticulously sets his trap involving a dangerous black widow lover who specializes in poisons, human traffickers, and deals with dirty government operatives. The trap is baited with the capture of Richard Fitzwilliam, head of Obsidian, but more importantly, the Iceman’s cousin. Darcy is torn between honoring his promise to Liz to never go back to Obsidian and his need to rescue his cousin. Liz has to decide if she really trusts in her husband or if her fears will rule her as he goes back into action once again.
Alright, this was an explosive story on so many levels. There is always the fear that a sophomore book in the series won’t live up to the foundation laid in the first book. However, from the beginning, this one blew away those doubts. The complexity and layers of character and romance development over action and suspense plot easily pulled me in and kept me reading on. I was lost in the world of this tribute to the old-style spy story with it’s daring black ops team members, hi-tech gadgetries, exotic locations, and super villains. And beyond that, it is the ongoing love story of a pair who are past the first blush of love and must learn how to make an ongoing relationship work built on trust, respect, and sigh…communication.
There are multiple viewpoints used to tell the story and I loved hopping heads to get to know many of the players in this large and colorful cast of characters that surround Iceman and Liz. I was tickled that the ladies were actually more big and bad than the gents in this one much of the time. Though, I did feel Liz was more lucky than good and a few times I wasn’t sure she got what was really going down around her. She led with her emotions. She and Darcy both made some mistakes, but I enjoyed seeing them want what they had together so badly that they fought for it and overcame their barriers.
The story is not the end of the series. It finished at a good place leaving the reader with a sense of the main plot finished in a mission accomplished way, but there is also the set up for what is to come in the next story segment for Iceman, Liz, and the gang. Those who enjoy the old-style spy thrillers and a sultry love story should give this series a look-see.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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