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Summary

Meet Adam Brandon...acutely intelligent and master swordsman but gradually realizing that he isn’t yet ready for the future he had previously planned. 

Victim of a cruel deception, Camilla Edgerton-Foxe has a jaundiced view of the male sex and a tongue as sharp as her wits...but she also possesses an extraordinary talent. 

A peculiar encounter offers Adam the kind of employment for which he is uniquely suited and that will exercise his mind as well as his muscles. The fly in the ointment is that Miss Edgerton-Foxe comes with it...as does Rainham, viscount and master of disguise, with a frequently misplaced sense of humor. 

From Paris, via London, to the mists and mysteries of Romney Marsh, these three are sent on the trail of something darker and infinitely more dangerous than the kegs of brandy that come ashore at the dark of the moon. 

©2021 Stella Riley (P)2021 Stella Riley

What listeners say about Under a Dark Moon

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Wonderful Escapism

Having read all of Stella Riley’s books and listened to Alex Wyndham’s recordings of those available, this is up there with the best. Alex has achieved an extra dimension with his rendition, I will never look at my collection of cheese graters in the same light again, his character voices are believable but then he had superb material to work with. I loved it.

5 people found this helpful

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An Absolute Triumph

Book 2 of Stella Riley’s Brandon Brothers series is Adam’s story. An intelligent man who does not waste words. He is a master-swordsman who has honour, style and dignity. He is also extremely good looking with a wonderful body – or so we are told!
The story opens in Paris where Adam is recruited into a clandestine British Government department consisting of a select group of men with the skills necessary to deal with sensitive political issues.
Within this select group there is just one woman, Camilla Edgerton-Foxe who possesses an extraordinary talent but does not feel part of this male-dominated exclusive club. Also, she has just gone through a breakdown in a relationship so is subsequently barbed and defensive with men - especially when Adam is assigned to escort her to her family home on Romney Marsh. And it is here that the story is centred.
Smuggling is rife in this part of England and local folk turn a blind eye to it. However, along with it goes the more sinister trade of espionage.
Once again Stella Riley has created characters that live off the page and Alex Wyndham, who gives a stunning performance, brings her characters to life. His interpretation and seamless transitions create a perfect narrative.
Adam and Camilla are so believable and through all the twists and turns that make this not only a love story but also a real thriller, I was captivated. Secondary leads such as Rainham, the master of disguise, Goddard, the department head, Guy, Camilla’s brother and Finch – who is probably the worst gentlemen’s valet ever – just don’t let him iron shirts! All these people Alex handles adroitly and with ease.
Then there is the setting of Romney Marsh and Dungeness. A bleak and exposed area of England that has been described as its only desert. Stella Riley’s description is so vivid and stimulating that I must make time to visit this area, which is steeped in history with its remote church’s, ancient inns and sheep!
I truly believe that team ‘Riley-Wyndham’ are a marriage made in heaven and I look forward to future productions. All I can add is to say well done to both. This audio is an Absolute Triumph.

4 people found this helpful

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My favourite book of the year

This is the best book I have read/listened to this year. It is a perfect blend of impeccable writing; deft plotting and storytelling; immersive historical background; vivid characterisation and a thoroughly gorgeous romance. I have been a fan of Ms Riley’s novels for a long time: her writing is consistently excellent and Under a Dark Moon epitomises, for me, all that a great novel should be.

Above all, it is just a brilliant story. There is suspense and intrigue, action and adventure. It is exciting, with hooks and cliff-hangers in both action and emotional plot points that draw you in and make you want to keep turning the pages. The settings, especially in Kent, are vividly depicted so that you can almost see the bare expanses of Romney Marsh and feel the waves lashing the Dymchurch Wall. The premise of “M Section” is feasible and gives the story arc an inner logic and authenticity.

However, it is the characters that make the whole thing come alive and make the reader care about what happens in the story. As always in Ms Riley’s novels there is a glorious cast of wonderfully vivid characters: from Alverston and Rainham to Coombes and Harry Finch, they are all immediately believable and add so much depth and colour to the novel. It is lovely to see cameo appearances of Sebastian and Cassandra (“My Wicked Cousin”), showing different aspects of their characters.

Ultimately, it is the characters of Camilla and Adam that hold centre stage and make the book the perfection it is. They are both so finely drawn with insecurities and vulnerabilities alongside their strengths and virtues. It is lovely to see Camilla, though completely a lady of her time, being allowed to demonstrate her intelligence, strength, resilience and courage and having these characteristics recognised and valued. I also love the way Camilla thinks her way through moments of danger in the plot. Showing is so much more powerful than just telling.

Adam is just superb. As the middle of three brothers, he has chosen to make his own way in the world and has become his own man. From the start he demonstrates his intelligence, his strength and inner steel. As we get to know him, we see his resourcefulness, his powers of critical thinking alongside his honesty, honour and integrity. We learn alongside Camilla that he is as beautiful on the outside as he is on the inside and like her, we find him irresistible.

The developing romance between Adam and Camilla allows us to see all this and more about these two lovely characters. There is physical attraction on both sides but also distrust and dislike at the start of the story. I really enjoyed how the exigencies of the plot forced them together and through dealing with these necessities they demonstrated different and deeper aspects of their characters to each other. Their slow journey into love is exquisitely portrayed with wit, honesty and such tenderness that melts my heart each time I think about it. They are one of the best fictional couples I have ever read.

I love listening to audiobooks and always have one on the go. There is such immediacy and intimacy in listening to someone telling you a story. However, the quality of the narration is always a crucial factor in the enjoyment or otherwise of the story. I always enjoy Alex Wyndham’s performances of Ms Riley’s novels and he does an excellent job with Under a Dark Moon. His voice is very smooth and pleasing on the ear; his rhythm and pacing are pitch perfect and I like his differentiation of characters. His portrayal of Rainham is particularly good and he deals well with female characters. Mr Wyndham’s sensitive understanding of the text brings an added resonance that I find very appealing.

This is a wonderful audiobook written by a very talented author and performed with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. This is my book of the year and I heartily recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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Practically perfect in every way.

From the second Adam appears he is a wonderful hero - quiet yet dashing, daring yet humble, kind yet forceful. Swoonworthy, actually. Reminds me of classic Patricia Veryan hero's. And Camilla is his match in all the ways. I loved her sharp tongue, sharp wit and very sharp brain. She is a delight and their journey from caution, to friendship to love is exquisitely told. Great adventure as well as romance, my only quibble is I really wanted Adam to have to actually fight with his sword not just practice... oh well, can't have everything I suppose. Ms Riley has delivered another super tale, full of humour and wonder as well as place and setting, and Alex Wyndham has given another wonderful delivery. Such a great array of characters all perfectly presented to the reader/listener. Thank you for hours of pleasure.

3 people found this helpful

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Delightful and captivating romance and mystery

The story of the second Brandon brother, Adam, is not only a delightful romance set in the Georgian era, but also an exciting mystery story of smuggling, spying and crime.

In the first sentence, the listener is already drawn into the mystery when Adam Brandon notices that he is followed. The result will be a strange employment leading to the encounter with Camilla Edgertone-Foxe, a young, heartbroken lady with remarkable abilities and a journey to Romney Marsh, the land of intense smuggling and other criminal activities. The two main characters start off with a hostile relationship that is slowly transformed into one of collaboration and trust as the hunt for criminals goes on, and eventually into love. But the journey to this point is long and not without dangers, so be ready for adventure, suspense and unexpected twists.

The world of the novel is populated by a wide range of characters, some resourceful, sympathetic, others weak or wicked, under cover members of the aristocracy, people who are not who they seem to be, all wonderfully portrayed by Stella Riley and made even more alive by Alex Wyndham’s excellent ability to portray characters with his voice.

As a fan of the Rockliffe series, it was a pleasure “to meet” again some of its characters, among them Sebastian Audley and his wife Cassandra (The Wicked Cousin) and, for a brief moment, many other characters from the duke of Rockliffe’s entourage.

Have a wonderful time listening to the audiobook!

3 people found this helpful

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Riveting

This story just kept me hanging on every word looking for the next twist and turn. You get drawn into the period as if you are actually living it. Alex's narration is as always brilliant.
This book has it all, mystery, excitement, location and love.
I would recommend this book most definitely.

2 people found this helpful

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Stella and Alex win again

This is a glorious tale set in the Romney Marsh of Smuggling,Kidnap and dark deeds. Adam Brandon and Camilla Edgerton-Fox are the perfect are perfect fir each other in spite of an inauspicious first meeting. Alex Wyndham as the narrator brings the characters vividly to life as Adam and Camilla find love in a superbly written tale. More please.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it.

This is Adam's story, book 2 of the Brandon brothers. I won't give a synopsis, as others have already done so.

I loved Adam, such a good, honourable, brave and very competent man. Camilla was a great foil for him, not only talented and intelligent, but as courageous as he. I loved the slow development from dislike to love and mutual respect for each other. This is a partnership that you know will last.

One of the things I love about Stella Riley's writing is her secondary characters, all of whom are well-rounded and fully 3-dimensional, solid characters in their own right. It reminds me very much of my long-loved favourite author Georgette Heyer, (55 years and counting) who had the same facility of making all her characters believable, not just the principals.

I've never been to Romney Marsh, but her ability to build word pictures has enabled me to visualise the bleak, loneliness of the place, not somewhere you'd want to be lost on a long winter's night!

Finally, we come to the narration. In a word - superb. Alex's ability to make clear distinctions between different characters, without ever coming close to caricature, is something many narrators could learn from. He and Stella are as much a match made in heaven as is Adam and Camilla.

Highly recommended, and I can't wait for book 3.

2 people found this helpful

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The perfect combination!

Once again Stella Riley's amazing writing blends faultlessly with Alex Wyndham's narration.
I cannot wait for the next book delivered by these two is ready! long nay this partnership last.

2 people found this helpful

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Don't miss this Riley & Wyndham collaboration!

This is the second in the Brandon Brothers series, but do not worry if this is your first foray into reading Stella Riley's books. It is a good standalone story and I guarantee you will be drawn in to wanting to read and listen to them all.
I have to admit to reading the story first and then listening to the audio version, in fact I have done this for all of the series and find Alex Wyndham's narration an absolute treat. He has a voice that would make the phone book interesting and here where he has a fabulous story to work with then you need to turn notifications off on your phone, grab a mug of coffee and lock the door so you can be undisturbed and become absorbed in listening and transported to the marshes of Kent and the slow simmering romance between Adam and Millie.
Stella has a wonderful skill of writing characters that you care about, the historical detail is accurate and effortlessly woven into the story. I love encountering characters from previous books and it is a rich world that Stella has created that is lovely to be a part of.
I look forward to all of the Stella's book narrated by Alex and have listened to them multiple times. I hope that in itself is the best recommendation.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Beth B
  • 15-10-21

A banquet for the senses

Once again Stella Riley has delivered a sumptuous story, layered and delicately written, about two people who don’t fit in their society but must make their way through it. They start as solitary figures, who really have eschewed the social scene and have become strong and independent in their own right. This of course is much harder for the woman who does not conform, as there is a much more rigid code, but Camilla has developed a very tough skin and due to a failed romance has withdrawn entirely from the social circle, to live in her very isolated country estate. Her family are concerned, as they understand but feel she has shut herself off. Camilla (Milly) as she is called by family and old retainers, is prickly and resentful of any measures to bring her back, so her first few meetings with Adam set them at loggerheads. Adam is instructed to accompany her to her home, which Milly considers intrusive and unnecessary. Adam is at first frustrated, but he too is used to being in charge and soon they begin the process of gradually starting to admire the characteristics that each possess. This is a nuanced journey as always in any book Stella writes, which I love.

Adam and Milly are not just two people falling in love however, as they below to a secret group of operatives headed up by her Uncle Hugh a powerful aristocratic spymaster. Hugh has tasked Adam with stopping a smuggling ring, who are believed to be involved in treason as well as treading on the toes of the East India company tea business, by importing large amounts of contraband tea. Both Milly and another operative, Viscount Rainham, who goes by multiple names and disguises get involved in trying to discover who funds and controls this lucrative business, as no-one in the gang has ever met the leader. While Adam and Rainham are thwarted in their attempts at first, Milly who plays a less active but crucial roll, is also concerned by the dangerous and unruly behaviour of her brother Guy, who unknown to her, has actually become a part of the smuggling gang The mystery is nicely complicated and as they struggle with solving the identity of the leader, they learn to compromise and rely on each other for understanding and acceptance of each others strengths. The atmosphere of the story is charged and quick paced and completely enjoyable. The uncovering of the puzzle is unexpected and interesting. An additional plus is the sense of humour that breaks through and lightens the mood. I particularly like the interaction between Adam and his would be valet the ham handed Finch, who is excellent in a fight but hopeless as the valet he aspires to be.

I love the length and well researched detail of Ms Riley’s writing, which does not rush one through the story but is also never slow or too long. Each character is filled in beautifully and so well written that it truly is a banquet for the senses. As soon as you start the audiobook you are drawn in by the incredible voice of Alec Wyndham, whose sensual and character driven narration brings each person and every detail of the story to life. This truly is the icing on top of the decadent and delicious cake and will leave you very satisfied.



2 people found this helpful

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  • Barb
  • 14-10-21

Perfect pair

Once again Stella Riley brings us a story with a strong female character, and a man who we all dream about when the book ends. The wit and banter of these characters, and the detail of this time period just draws you in. I can honestly say that this story is definitely brought to life by the wonderful narration of Alex Wyndham. He brings each and every character to life with his performance. Stella Riley and Alex Wyndham are the perfect pair - for this book, and the many others these two have together.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Opehlia
  • 30-11-21

could have been great

It was too loooong. all characters talk the same, same tone, same pitch. it gets too monotonous

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  • Lynn
  • 09-11-21

Exciting, Delicious

Full of strikingly individual characters, perfect 1700's details, smuggler villains, action, adventure, and brave, intelligent, talented romantic leads. Sensuous and at times funny, a great listen read by the incomparably romantic Alex Wyndham. More of the Brandon Brothers soon please.

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  • April Howard
  • 28-10-21

Interesting, Suspenseful, Romantic, Well-Narrated

Another excellent historical love story by Stella Riley, expertly narrated by Alex Wyndham. The book is an entertaining divergence from the Rockliffe series, with a countryside setting, a plot centered on crime detection, and a heroine (Camilla) most notable for her intellectual prowess. The former make for less of a "society" plot (replaced by intrigue), and the latter makes for an even more sympathetic and believable female protagonist, IMO. The entirely satisfactory hero, Adam, is Gabriel Oak in values and Sergeant Troy in appearance (wait, there are even sheep...). The remote setting and rural criminal element add fun gothic flavor and make for enjoyable guessing along with the characters as they sleuth their way through the twists and turns of the plot. The "historical romantic detective" genre is a favorite of mine, and I could hope for a sequel(s) in the "Miss Fisher" or "Tommy and Tuppence" vein. Wyndham deftly navigates a omnium gatherum of characters and accents, and seems to use nearly all tools available to the human voice as far as pitch, accent and cadence to imbue the dialogue with personality, humor and pathos. If you happen to possess a semi-freakish auditory memory (*'hem!*), then, in the first minutes, the repeated narrative falling intonation (which also cleverly conveys the initial confidence/rigidity of the characters) is a little, well, repetitive, but it quickly gains variety. If you like the historical romance magic that is Stella Riley read by Alex Wyndham, then you'll surely be pleased to tuck in to this tasty dish of a novel. If you're new to their particular alchemy, then you might as well treat yourself, sweetheart. You most certainly deserve it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-10-21

Another story that cannot be put down!

Stella Riley has written another of her fabulous volumes of fast-moving story, with serious content perfectly balanced with light-hearted dialog. I had only one disappointment in this book: Adam never keeps his promise to explain the flautist comment to Camilla! I did wonder how many times Alex Wyndham had to record that little paragraph, without laughing himself! Five-star efforts by both Stella Riley and Alex Wyndham! Ms. Riley and Alex, please keep these coming!

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  • Karissa
  • 24-10-21

Another fantastic tale!

Stella Riley weaves enchanting tales of intrigue, romance and subtle humor. Non-UK readers will enjoy learning from her descriptions of English history, culture and landscape. She creates characters that one can’t help but fall in love with. With his narration, Alex Wyndham beautifully brings these characters to life. As a reader, I find it almost impossible to put Stella’s stories down while also dreading when they will come to an end. As a fan of the Rockliffe series, I have equally enjoyed the adventures of the Brandon brothers and look forward to the next installment.

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  • noagnes
  • 19-10-21

A Georgian espionage/smuggling romance

The second installment of the Brandon Brothers series, set in the author's Georgian world well known from the earlier Rockliffe books brings a new theme I enjoy very much: The protagonists are investigating smuggling and espionage on the coast of Kent. Adam Brandon, younger son of the Brandon family in Yorkshire is a swordfighting expert, can hold his own in any brawl in the deep of the night in Paris and has a taste for adventure - no wonder he gets recruited into a secret semi-official government agency under a powerful Earl. His first assignment unfortunately includes being thrown in the company of the prickly Camilla Edgerton-Foxe (no surprise that sparks fly, in all possible sense). Add some interesting helpmates, an embodiment of Heroine's Stupid Younger Brother and of course, the unique element that is Romney Marsh itself: land reclaimed from the sea and protected by a Wall, mist, rain, sheep, old churches, gruff people - a vividly described background of the mystery that gives the story its special flavor... and the result is pure delight. I should say that Adam himself is a delight too. This spinoff series seems to be characterized by capable, clever, no-nonsense, honorable and kind heroes who can help wounded heroines, appreciate their strength and integrity. Humor, kindness and true partnership creates a wonderful romance and adventure in this thoroughly enjoyable book. Alex Wyndham, as always, narrates in a spectacular way, with warmth and empathy for all characters, he sparkles with the humor, plays with accents and voice timbres masterfully, and overall, adds a new layer of delight in the listening experience of this excellent book.

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  • NP
  • 18-10-21

Another great book by Stella Riley!

Stella Riley's books are among the very best out there and I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. This latest one is no exception - wonderful original characters and an interesting plot. Not to mention the gorgeous narration by Alex Wyndham His voice is smooth, rich and seductive and he has an amazing ability to make the voices of all the different characters distinctive. Don't miss this one- and if you haven't read or listened to the earlier books I highly recommend that you do so.

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  • Cate F.
  • 16-10-21

Spies, Smugglers, Super Book

Stella Riley is one of my favorite writers and Under A Dark Moon was another 5* book. Even though I had already read the kindle edition twice, I remained unable to stop listening. Unlike most books with intelligent and independent heroines, Millie was neither annoying nor anachronistic.
This can easily be a stand alone story, however knowledge of all the previous books enhanced my pleasure.
Alex Wyndham performed with his usual elegance and subtlety.