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This is the third and final volume in Penny Vincenzi's Spoils of Time Trilogy, and we are now following the children and grandchildren of Celia Lytton, still the matriarch of the family and still ruling over her brood. As ever, Vincenzi's storytelling is compelling and the historical detail is excellent. The Lytton family is now very large, but we still follow characters from all branches whose stories are intertwined. In my reviews for the first two books, No Angel and Something Dangerous, I wrote a lot about Vincenzi's masterful storytelling and the history that each book is set around. I don't want to repeat myself too much, so I will just say that all of that applies to this novel too, except we are now the 1950s and the world has changed, as has the Lytton family publishing house. This is my least favourite of the thre novels, but by no means does that mean that I dislike it. The reason I say it is my favourite is because of the era that it is set in - I prefer the ones which are set in the first half of the century, and although in this novel the family is still dealing with the after effects of World War II (injury and loss), time has moved on. I think the reason I like the earlier ones is because they really are a different time, values and the class system were different, and of course they deal with the effects of the two World Wars. That said, I still love this novel. The story is excellent, and the historical detail very well researched. And of course, once you have read the first two novels, you can't help but finish the trilogy!
The Second World War is over, peace has been declared but the ravages remain and the Lytton family must confront the future and themselves. Kit Lytton, blinded in his early twenties in service for the RAF, is coming to terms with the fact that his father is not Oliver Lytton, as he thought, but the famous children's author Sebastian Brooke. His sense of betrayal is immense, but worse is the discovery that the woman he loves is his sister. Barty Miller is now in the curious position of owning a majority share of Lyttons, the publishing house belonging to the family that brought her up. Now rich and powerful, though alone, Barty is far from the cowed slum child rescued by Celia Lytton years before. But how will she act now towards the family who always made her feel she did not belong? And what secrets in the Lytton past remain to be discovered?