Welcome to the most notorious address in London…

Beneath the airs and graces of the Ton lies The Underworld – London’s most scandalous gambling hall.

The only thing darker and more debauched that the hall itself? The proprietor, Max Sinclair. As mysterious as the corners of the city he stalks, Max has vowed to take revenge against the men who murdered his mother. And The Underworld attracts London’s darkest characters – the perfect partners in crime.

But when Lady Vivienne Beaumont enters The Underworld, Max’s life becomes more dangerous than he ever thought possible.

Titles in the Bastards of London series include:  The Den of Iniquity – Into The Hall of Vice – The Last Gamble – Return To The House of Sin

Title:  The Den of Iniquity
Series:  Bastards of London #1
Author:  Anabelle Bryant
Genre:  Regency Romance
Published:  January 11, 2017
Publisher:  HQ Digital
My Rating:  5 stars

The Den of Iniquity, Anabelle Bryant’s first novel in her new series Bastards of London has a quite different feel to it from her other Regency novels.  This setting is darker, grittier and, in many ways, even more intriguing as we are taken to a part of Regency London that is usually only hinted at, spoken softly of with a quick look over the shoulder – now, we’re about to experience it face to face.

Max and his partners Luke and Cole, all born on that wrong side of the noble blanket, run one of the most successful and perhaps most notorious gambling hells in London.  A place where the rich rub shoulders with the man on the street – both willing to bet that they can walk away with their cash and add to their coffers as well.  I wouldn’t take that bet myself, but for a gambler with a fire in their blood, the Underworld is the perfect place for gambling, drinking and other activities.

Our three friends have other… talents… aside from running the Underworld establishment.  And in time we will get to understand their motives and passions.  For now let’s concentrate on Max and his wolfhound, Ransom.  Max has one purpose in life.  Revenge.  He’s a man who has the need to seek his revenge up close and personal…and he doesn’t mind the mess involved.

Vivienne is a lovely,proper young lady who has recently lost her mother to death.  Although her mother remarried shortly before her death, Vivienne’s step-father is a man of means and secrets.  The official year of mourning has passed and suddenly she is no longer comfortable in his presence.  His attentions unsettle her, and it almost seems as if he’s trying to form her into her mother’s image.  She spends as much time away from him as possible and taking up the mantle of her mother’s favorite charities is the best way to remain out of the house and out of his sight.

It is through a meeting for one of those charities that Vivienne first encounters Max… well, she’ll be frightened by Ransom first and quickly rescued from the wolfhound’s intent to trap her in place as a threat to his master.  Max is at the grave of a man who has escaped his revenge through death – and not at Max’s hand.  As he rushes to deal with whatever it is that Ransom has cornered, Max has no idea that his life is about to change or if he even wants it to.

I found The Den of Iniquity to be an intense, even wicked look into a part of Regency London that we rarely get to visit firsthand.    On the surface Max and Vivienne are such opposites in both society and outlooks on life.  Max is dark, sinful and has a precise, single minded intensity that the reader can feel through the pages.  And when that intensity is focused on Vivienne the pages smolder.  While a part of me lusted after Max, another part wanted to take Vivienne under my wing and make her my new best friend.  She is… becoming something that she never knew even existed in her world.  And Max is certainly caught up in her innocent spell as well.  I liked them together, they fit with enough opposite qualities that eventually merged into a believable couple.

There is danger, steamy moments, secrets, villains and a love worth fighting for in this story.  Colorful and intriguing secondary characters bring their own magic and teases of stories yet to come.  I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of this series to uncover even more secrets.

I would highly recommend this story and series to any Regency reader, especially those that always wondered about the other side of London.  Take a risk and explore the darker, gritter side of Regency London in The Den of Iniquity.  I believe you’ll be caught up in these characters lives and be waiting for more to come.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this story.*

Available for the Kindle