I’ve just finished Sherwood Smith’s Coronets and Steel. The first thing I have to say is thank goodness there’s a sequel planned or I’d be quite annoyed; it ends on a cliffhanger, one that is both hopeful and worrying – hopeful for what’s actually written, worrying given that the book is an homage to The Prisoner of Zenda.

I confess I’ve never read Zenda. (I need to go get it from Librivox, because it sounds like a good book for erging.) What this really reminded me of, though, was early Elizabeth Peters – where the American heroine goes to Europe and ends up swashbuckling around castles and inheritances and in some cases long-lost relatives. It’s not a surprising resemblance, since a lot of Peters’ books are heavy on the Ruritanian allusions as well. (The first Vicky Bliss book, not originally intended as a series, is a good example.) Smith’s heroine Kim is as brainy as Bliss and her sisters in adventure, achieving a level of recondite piffling last seen in Lord Peter Wimsey, and she’s more competent at the swashbuckling parts for reasons well set up in the story. She does a few stupid things, but nothing unreasonably so.

Unfortunately I have no idea when the sequel is due; I don’t expect to enjoy the wait. And I really hope the sequel doesn’t carry on the plot of Rupert of Hentzau!