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The Black Hawk

(Spymasters #4)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,374 ratings  ·  377 reviews
He is her enemy.
He is her lover.
He is her only hope.

Someone is stalking French agent Justine DeCabrillac through London's gray streets. Under cover of the rain, the assassin strikes--and Justine staggers to the door of the one man who can save her.  The man she once loved.  The man she hated.  Adrian Hawkhurst.

Adrian wanted the treacherous beauty known as "Owl" back in his
Mass Market Paperback, Berkley Sensation, 324 pages
Published November 2011 by Penguin
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AGMaynard They take place in the same world of English spies and French spies and characters from the different books mingle but not necessary to read in order.…moreThey take place in the same world of English spies and French spies and characters from the different books mingle but not necessary to read in order...(less)

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 ·  3,374 ratings  ·  377 reviews

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Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Black Hawk is one of my most anticipated reads this year because the hero, Hawker, aka Adrian Hawkhurst, former thief, master pickpocket from the rookies of St. Giles, Head of the British Intelligence Service in 1818 Post-Napoleonic War England, has made a lasting impression based on the past three books from Joanna Bourne. The one before this, The Forbidden Rose, was a prequel set during the French Revolution, which featured Hawker as a thirteen year old grubby street boy, but one who becom ...more
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical

Their story started a few years after the reign of terror…when they were just children..
Children grew up too fast. Hammered by life and injustice. By lascivious, powerful men… By greedy governments who exploited children…



Secret lovers since teens…

… but became something more during the reign of Napoleon…

There’re a lot of thing to be appreciated here!

The writing: strangely compelling, IMHO! Here is an example:
The banyan was embroided with dragons. … One lascivious lizard curled al
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it

She was with Hawker, so she was safe. In all the world, there was no flesh, no bone, no sound of breathing she would mistake for Hawker's.

I'll have to admit, my expectations were probably way too high after reading Doyle's book. I was really looking forward to Adrian's story, and I while I really liked it... it didn't blow me away like I'd hoped. With that said though, I am still enjoying the series immensely. I am really looking forward to these last two books.
Jacob Proffitt
This is a bit along in a series (depending on if you go chronologically or by publication date). And you definitely want to read the others first. Adrian features strongly in them all and a large part of the charm of this story is seeing his culmination.

I'm afraid I'm going to be an outlier on this one because most of my friends who have read this loved it to bits. A lot of that is probably because Adrian is such a strong presence in the other books and it is very gratifying to see him get his g
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I reviewed this novel on my blog

'The Black Hawk’ by Joanna Bourne is a tale that had to be told. I have a feeling that if Ms. Bourne never intended for it, she would have been literally mobbed by every fan of her earlier tales, until she ‘put it out there’.

How can I relate to you my emotions while reading this tender love story?! Reading it I felt like Julia Roberts in that scene with Richard Gere where he dolls her all up and takes her to see her first Opera
Wicked Incognito Now
Sweet utter perfection.

My crystal ball tells me.....Nothing will live up to this for many many months.
3.5 stars. I admire Joanna Bourne's writing skills and her excellent historical research. Unfortunately for me, I'm not really a fan of spy-adventure type stories. The romance element in this book is strong, which kept me reading. Adrian and Justine are absolutely lovely together. And I loved that Adrian is (view spoiler). I've been reading the series in chronological order, and I already knew a bit about Adrian's past.

I'm not normally a fa
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I mean, I really like this author's writing style in everything she does. It's vaguely flowery and antiquated, so be warned I like that and it makes some people furious, so it might not be for you. It makes the book feel more "significant" than others in the genre, more Outlander light than frothy stuff. ANYWAY I enjoyed this book, but I think there was some tension lost in the plot construction. I mean, there was no tension because you pretty much knew the two were DEFINITELY gonna get together ...more
Megan Winget
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
You think I loved "The Forbidden Rose"?! I love this book so much that I want to start a family with this book. I want to get married and live happily ever after with this book. This book and I are meant for each other. I love this book so much it's depressing. HOW am I going to read other books?!

The story, the plot and writing - fantastic. The characterizations: spot on. Like I said in the Forbidden Rose review, these characters are SPIES. Their emotions are HIDDEN. They don't go around expres
I've given this an A for narration and A+ for content at All About Romance.

In All About Romance’s review of The Black Hawk in November 2011, Jean Wan wrote,

“Once in a while, during every reader's literary life, you encounter a book that reminds you why you are a reader. It renews your faith, if faith was lost; it rekindles your interest, if interest waned; and every word, every page, is a wonder. Adrian and Justine's story is not only such a book and it confirms Joanna Bourne is one of the best
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
May 2020: I had no problems rereading anything set in this world, which (for me, at least) is notable for this time. This world is so meticulously, impressively constructed, and The Black Hawk and Rogue Spy back to back are just - stellar.

September 2015: Reread this this morning, and it is even more fabulous than I remembered. And I think it's because there are real stakes: no manufactured drama, but two very smart people on different sides. They both do a lot of growing, and they both stay abso
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Enjoyed it but didn’t love it. On to the next in the series.
Reread 2021
I reread this and a few other Spymaster novels earlier this month, in the lead up to my read of Beauty Like the Night, the only book in the series I hadn't yet picked up.

I'm not going to go back and leave new reviews for The Spymaster's Lady and The Forbidden Rose. Let's just say I felt roughly the same way I did about them the first time around. I think I'd give The Spymaster's Lady four stars now, but I don't feel strongly enough about that to change my initial five star review. It'
Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Romance Readers
Joanna Bourne is an author who elevates historical romance to another level. She’s a master at fusing historic events with action, intrigue, danger, and romance. In The Black Hawk, Ms. Bourne’s produces a gripping love story between French spy Justine “ Owl” DeCabrillac and English spy Adrian “Hawker” Hawkhurst.

”It has always been you.”

Justine and Hawker - Their Background
Justine DeCabrillic is the daughter of French aristos who died during the French Revolution. At the age of eleve
August 2017: My review below still stands, this book is fantastic. Hawker and Justine, so great. I loved the way we got to see them at 12 and then 16 and then 21 and now at 37. So much of who they are have changed but at the same time, the core people they were have not. So that was delightful. Also what was delightful was (view spoiler) ...more
Zumbagirl - (I had to attach this link, I was thinking about this song almost the entire time I read this book, "For Your Eyes Only")
To say I Love This Book would be an understatement. There are no words to say how much I enjoyed this book - Adrian's story - finally!!! This is the last in the series, and I loved the first one (The Spymaster's Lady) but this one takes the cake - oh, my goodness, it is so delicious...
Adrian aka The Black Hawk has been my favorite character all a
Dec 26, 2011 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I have a hard time articulating my thoughts on this one, because it's not really romance novel shaped. Most of the relationship drama occurs in flashback, and the bits in the present of the novel are what would normally be a crisis and denouement. However, there's a mystery in the present that has a whole arc, with roots in some of the flashback bits but mostly taking place in the present. If that makes any sense whatsoever. So this book didn't read like the typical romance novel, whi ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is even better than Bourne'sTHE FORBIDDEN ROSE. It's wonderfully romantic, with palpable love between the hero and heroine, yet exciting as a spy adventure at the same time.

The hero, Adrian Hawker, former boy thief and pickpocket in the slums of St. Giles, years ago was recruited as a spy for England, and now, in 1818, is head of the British Intelligence Services. The heroine is Justine de Cabrillac, daughter of French aristocrats turned spy for France. They have a long history together sin
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Bloody brilliant, quite frankly. I'm always reluctant to read romances where the protagonists have the on-again-off-again thing going on for years. It never seems to convince. But this time, it's perfect, and I love the way we get to see their relationship develop when they were little more than children. Can't wait for the next one. ...more
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Finally we get Hawker’s book and it has been a long time in the making. Adrian Hawker, former thief, now mastermind spy, having trained under William Doyle. At the start of The Black Hawk, we see Adrian in his mid-30’s, and Head of the British Intelligence Service. And as goes his life, he gets drama on his doorstep. His former lover, (always his love) Justine, shows up stabbed and bleeding. Justine is a french spy, and although meeting when they were very young and cementing their union, they h ...more
Regan Walker
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-reads
Finally, Hawker! Great Installment in Spymaster Series!

The latest installment in Bourne’s Spymaster series is a good one. Finally we have Adrian’s (Hawker) story. We met Sir Adrian Hawkhurst in prior episodes, always a charmer, always a man who loved women. We also caught a glimpse of the French girl, Justine DeCabrillac. Both are spies and once they were lovers. She was in the French Secret Service and Adrian, now head of British Intelligence, worked for England. After being separated for over
Brandy Painter
Wow I hate this cover.



As I have said in every review I've done for this series so far, I just couldn't wait until I got to this story. Adrian was my favorite part of each of the first three books and I adored Justine in The Forbidden Rose. I was a little concerned because often when there is a much beloved character in a romance series who gets to be the hero of his own book, I end up being disappointed. I was also nervous because I wasn't thrill
Aug 02, 2015 rated it liked it
**3.5 stars**

It's clear that Ms. Bourne likes Hawker as a secondary character and maybe didn't have something in mind for him but felt obliged to write his story. This book was very disjointed with lots of flashbacks from the French Revolution - while the Napoleonic Wars were just glossed over - with some part in the present, which was 24 years after Hawker and Justine had met.

I got why Justine was originally for Napoleon but it was glossed over why she still kept with him when he showed up his
This is my least favorite of the series thus far, but I did not dislike it enough to not continue. I will be moving on to read book five.

I do not recommend listening to this book. The narrator was good, but there are a lot of shifts in time and flashbacks. It became confusing to me to figure out where and when we were in the story.

I like the enemies to Lovers Trope, but I found it difficult to swallow enemies and lovers at the same time. I agree that Hawk and Owl are soulmates and should be to
Oh maybe 4 and 1/2, just because I wanted more more more, especially at the end. It was achingly romantic. It is simply the best redemption/healing/sensual first encounter I've ever read and I'm wondering if it's because 'Awker and Owl knew each other so well. Both so courageous and loyal and patriotic, yet always with a care to the other. I loved it.

Now when's Pax's story and have we met Camille before?
Jeannie Lin
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keeper
I just finished reading an ARC of this book and I have that happy, afterglow feeling you get when you finish a rich and satisfying story. It's Joanna Bourne's best book yet. Adrian Hawker is just an absolutely fascinating character, one of the best in romance, and he's matched with Justine who is totally his equal in complexity. ...more
Margaret Mallory
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I should not have started this when I'm close to deadline for my next book. I am LOVING it!!!! Bad me, I was up until 3:00 a.m. reading. ...more
Pamela Shropshire
Since I read The Spymaster’s Lady, I have been looking forward to reading Adrian’s story and boy, does it ever live up to my expectations!

In the “present”, he is known as Sir Adrian Hawkhurst, having been knighted for his service to the Crown and given the responsibility as Head of British Intelligence Service. He has seen and done unbelievably horrific acts. His parents are unknown; he doesn’t know the date or even year of his birth; he was a thief under Lazarus, criminal overlord in London. H
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is more like a 4.5, but all the other books have been 4 stars and this one just stood out among the rest. It was worthy of being rounded up. The emotion, the character development... this book consumed me. I'm really glad that I read in publishing order and not chronological order. This was all just set up perfectly for me. ...more
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly wonderful book. As soon as I finished it I went back to the beginning and started it all over again. The characters have taken up residence in my brain and I think will be there for a long time to come.

Readers have been demanding Adrian's book ever since we met him in Bourne's first book, Spymaster's Lady, and this truly is his book. A lot of it is written from his point of view, for one thing. But more importantly, Bourne manages to have us watch Adrian grow up from 12 to 19 to
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Joanna lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge with her family, a medium-sized mutt and a faux Himalayan cat.

She writes Historical Romances set in England and France during the Napoleonic Wars. She's fascinated by that time and place - such passionate conviction and burning idealism ... and really sexy clothes.

Other books in the series

Spymasters (6 books)
  • The Spymaster's Lady (Spymasters, #1)
  • My Lord and Spymaster (Spymasters, #2)
  • The Forbidden Rose (Spymasters, #3)
  • Rogue Spy (Spymasters #5)
  • Beauty Like the Night (Spymasters, #6)

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