Title: The Russian Cage
Series: Gunnie Rose, #3
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: Saga Press
Publication date: February 23, 2021
Length: 304 pages
Genre: Fantasy / speculative fiction
#1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Charlaine Harris is at her best in this alternate history of the United States where magic is an acknowledged but despised power in this third installment of the Gunnie Rose series.
Picking up right where A Longer Fall left off, this thrilling third installment follows Lizbeth Rose as she takes on one of her most dangerous missions rescuing her estranged partner, Prince Eli, from the Holy Russian Empire. Once in San Diego, Lizbeth is going to have to rely upon her sister Felicia, and her growing Grigori powers to navigate her way through this strange new world of royalty and deception in order to get Eli freed from jail where he’s being held for murder.
Russian Cage continues to ramp up the momentum with more of everything Harris’ readers adore her for with romance, intrigue, and a deep dive into the mysterious Holy Russian Empire.
Call me hooked. I read An Easy Death, the first book in Charlaine Harris’s Gunnie Rose series, just a few months ago when my book group chose it for our January book of the month. Since then, I’ve been dying for more, and this month finished book #2 (A Longer Fall) and now, #3 (The Russian Cage).
For those not familiar with the series, the Gunnie Rose books take place in an alternate history in which the United States no longer exists, having broken up into a handful of separate countries in the early 1930s or thereabouts. Main character Lizbeth Rose is a gunslinger (a profession known as “gunnies”), a sharpshooter who works for hire protecting people or cargos, and using her wicked aim with a Colt when needed to carry out her job. At age 20, she’s wise and skilled beyond her years, and has had more than her share of adventures.
Lizbeth lives in the country of Texoma (the lands formerly known as Texas and Oklahoma), and her life has a distinctly Wild West feel to them. Her adventures in the past two books left her entangled with Russian magicians — grigoris — and here in The Russian Cage, the entanglement continues.
Our California and Oregon, in the world of Gunnie Rose, are the Holy Russian Empire, ruled by the Tsar and filled with an odd mix of Russian refugee descendants and former Americans. The HRE is the home base of most powerful grigoris — and Eli, the man Lizbeth loves, just happens to be one of these.
As The Russian Cage opens, Lizbeth receives word that Eli is in danger. He’s been arrested and imprisoned, but no one in his family seems to know why. Lizbeth is determined to do whatever it takes to set Eli free, and travels to San Diego, the HRE capitol, to carry out her dangerous plan.
Once there, she quickly becomes involved in unraveling the political forces at play, protecting Eli’s family, and ingratiating herself with the Tsar and Tsarina, among other crazy events. Lizbeth is determined to not just save Eli, but to ensure the safety of his entire family, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals.
The action in The Russian Cage is exciting and fast-paced, and I loved the mix of personal connections and perilous escapades that make up the bulk of the story. Lizbeth and Eli continue to have amazing chemistry, and their love story is the true payoff for this action/adventure story.
At this point, I absolutely have to continue! As soon as book #4 is available from my library — tomorrow, perhaps? — I’ll be diving in. I love the world Charlaine Harris has created in these books, and I adore the characters.