Reading A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White felt like the ending of an era. It’s the third book in The Codebreakers series, but the series built off of the previous series, Shadows of England, and even touched on a character or two from the previous series Ladies of the Manor. It was a fitting and beautiful culmination to this group of books.
Zivon Marin, one of Russia’s top cryptographers, fled to London after the October Revolution, aiming to work against Lenin’s Red Army. An accomplished linguist, he can be of help among the English cryptographers in Room 40, if the Brits can trust him. Yet behind all the intrigue, his heart is hurting over significant personal losses.
Deep in the basement of the Old Admiralty Building, Lily Blackwell plies her trade. A photographer with the added skill of being able to manipulate the pictures themselves, she’s invaluable to the spy game. Nevertheless, she stays hidden, even from those who work in Room 40, especially because even her mother doesn’t know of this particular way she aids the war effort.
It is Lily’s father who introduces Zivon and Lily, wanting his daughters to meet fine young men in order to marry one day. Zivon is captivated by how Lily captures beauty with her camera lens. Lily is intrigued by Zivon’s ability to see and anticipate patterns. Yet woven through this chance at a future is the world of spies, rebellion, and war.
I absolutely loved this story. The characters are so real. The philosophical challenges so difficult. The decisions so life-altering. Not just for Zivon and Lily, but for every person caught up in Word War 1 and the Russian Revolution. It is the conclusion of an epic tale and yet the personal is at the forefront so much so that it will make you cry. At least, it did for me.
A Portrait of Loyalty can be a stand alone book, but the depth of the story comes with it being the third book in the series. And, honestly, to get the full emotional impact, I suggest reading the one, even two previous series before ending with this one. Six books, perhaps nine, yes, but those books will make this one feel like the swell of the climatic end to an opera. So worth it!
Spies and war, intrigue and deception, personal loss and the quest for love. A Portrait of Loyalty has it all. And you should definitely give it a read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.
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