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The Code of Love    by Cheryl Sawyer order for
Code of Love
by Cheryl Sawyer
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Cheryl Sawyer is the author of such acclaimed historical romances as The Chase, Siren and La Creole. With the release of The Code of Love, the author once again takes readers on a journey to exotic locales, where she embroils her hero and heroine in adventure and intrigue - this time set against the backdrop of England's war with Napoleon.

The story opens on the island of Mauritius where Delphine Dalgliesh finds her interest piqued after the re-capture of a British prisoner named Gideon Landor, who 'had shown how different he was from the other prisoners of war, most of whom lived amongst the French colonists in a spirit of understanding'. When she and Sir Gideon finally meet at her family home, theirs is a mutual and undeniable attraction. Even so, Delphine knows she could never consort with a double agent just as Gideon refuses to allow his emotions to be swayed by a woman who is surely nothing more than a beautiful 'Parisian trifle'.

Gideon escapes the island, returns home to England, and is swept up in the Peninsular War where his orders are to crack the Grand Paris Cypher, a complicated code created for Napoleon. Delphine in the meantime has an audience with the Emperor himself, who wishes to dispatch her on a delicate mission to deliver a letter to his brother Lucien, who is living under house arrest in England. Delphine is well aware of the risks. But as she'll do anything to save her family home and help her country, she agrees to deliver the message. Through various encounters, she and Gideon come to realize their true agendas and that first impressions can often be misleading. Will their love survive the turmoil of war, as well as the treachery and lies seeded by others close to them?

This is a beautifully written and richly detailed story - a rare and wonderful treat for readers who've been finding that the old fashioned historical romance is becoming something of a scarce commodity. Sawyer imbues every scene with lush historical detail and creates a cast of memorable characters, especially her two leads, Delphine and Gideon. Their struggle to serve their countries and to deny their love is involving and believable. The Code of Love offers romance and adventure on a grand scale, a story you'll want to read again and again.

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