He was watching once again at the railing, and as my mother played at death he leaned toward her and his jacket gaped briefly and showed a holstered pistol on his left side. I wished ardently that I was carrying my own. From the early days of my reporting career I got close to a fair number of criminals. Tough guys, all of them. Tempered-steel tough. But I'd heard a number of them talk about their mothers, think about their mothers, and inevitably these tough guys turned into simpering idiots of a variety of sorts, from weak to reckless. So it was that even as I wished I had my own pistol with me I was grateful I didn't. I felt trigger-itchy at that moment and it was possible my hand would have drawn my Mauser and would have pushed the safety button and would have waited for the slightest movement of this lug's right hand toward his pistol, with the wrong kind of look on his face, and I would have shot him. Maybe not aiming to kill. Maybe just to disable that right arm. Without this option, however, I clearly understood that shooting him would have been the wrong thing to do. At least till his pistol was out and coming to bear on her. And then I would have simply killed him.
"[A] thrilling historical series. . . . Mr. Butler does a terrific job of depicting both the journalist's facility for teasing information from his subjects and the spy's incessant fear of being discovered. There's something almost magical about the way the author re-creates this 1915 milieu.Wall Street Journal
"The Empire of Night is a cracking good spy thriller, with a cast of memorable characters and a terrifically suspenseful plot that will have you casting the movie as you read. And Butler's elegant writing elevates the bookhe is a master of everything from lyrical description to believable dialogue.Tampa Bay Times
"The Empire of Night is a smart and layered yarn . . . propulsive reading . . . Butler has developed a knack for snapping off taut, Hammett-esque sentences at tense moments. . . . Butler is determined to show that genre fiction can be intellectually rich.Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)
"Butler combines fascinating historical detail about the pre-WWI period with genuine suspense and a tongue-in-cheek wit that gives the whole a uniquely tart flavor. The multilayered, adversarial relationship between Kit and Isabel grows more fascinating with each installment and will leave readers eager to learn more.Booklist (starred review)
"[An] elegant thriller. . . . A meticulously researched page-turner that will appeal to spy novel buffs and lovers of historical novels, as well as any general reader intrigued with the power struggles of World War I. If you've never read a novel by Butlerone of the great stylists writing todayyou're in for a treat with The Empire of Night.Huntington News
"Butler's continuous pressure on the suspense makes the novel a page-turning, nail-biting experience, and his use of short, crisp sentences magnifies the tension.Readers Unbound "An engrossing thriller. Cobb's traversal of the German countryside is tension-laden, and the finale wrongfoots with unexpected twists. Well-acted, center-stage entertainment.Crime Book Beat
"Deliciously captivating. . . . I can hardly wait for the next in the series.Arab Voice