Right. This is what my love of spy novels does to me. :)
India Black could have been a fantastic book. I loved the wry humour and typical British arrogance of it, I chuckled at Madam Black's observations and at her amusing associates, the descriptions were so vivid I could easily see what was happening.
However, the plot was silly. After reading Joanna Bourne's spy novels and admiring the brilliant minds of British spymasters, sadly I found French, the actual spy in this book, lacking. He doesn't think things through, he is clumsy and he continues to make silly mistakes. This is what his department reduced to? A brooding gentleman with a cane, a whore and and a dirty street urchin?
At some point the whole involvement of India in this affair became ridiculous. In the beginning she is blackmailed in helping Ministry of Foreign Affairs to extract some documents from the Russian Embassy in London. When the plan fails, the blackmail is lifted and she is free to go. Why would any normal woman want to chase some Russian spies just for the thrill of it?! Is she an adrenaline junkie? Does she value her life so little?
Frankly, I don't know what was more surprising, - her insisting on being involved or Disraeli and French caving into her demands.
My last pet-peeve is the amount f info dumps. Yes, Russians want to fight Turkey to protect Serbs and to gain a foot hole in the region. Yes, England needs to prevent them from doing it to protect their own interests. Do we need the detailed descriptions and bloody maps? No. Does India needs it? Hell, no. However, Disraeli and other two gentlemen patiently explain everything to her in the age when women were considered too feeble minded to understand politics.
Sorry for my long rant, peeps. The book is entertaining at least, and if you're able to put the aforementioned issues behind you, you'll enjoy it much more than me.