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Congress of Secrets

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  205 ratings  ·  70 reviews
In 1814, the Congress of Vienna has just begun. Diplomats battle over a new map of Europe, actors vie for a chance at glory, and aristocrats and royals from across the continent come together to celebrate the downfall of Napoleon…among them Lady Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English widow. But Caroline has a secret: she was born Karolina Vogl, daughter of a radical Viennese ...more
Paperback, 347 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Pyr
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  205 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Nov 01, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
My new book - and it's out today! Eeeeee!!!!! :)

This is both my darkest and my most romantic book. It's my love letter to Vienna (my favorite city in the world). It's full of disguises, deception, dark alchemy and an unexpected romance between a powerful, ruthless, manipulative heroine (my editor described her as having "a spine made of steel") and a charming conman hero in the middle of his biggest-ever gamble, all set at the glittering Congress of Vienna.

I am so happy to finally be able to sha
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love a well written, well thought out historical. Add some fact with fiction and just a touch of magic and you have something that I take notice of.

Congress of Secrets was such an interesting, unexpected read. One that left me eagerly turning the pages curious at what would transpire next. What truths and deceit would unfold and what the author had in store for our main characters. There were twists, turns, darkness, and light. It was fun, entertaining and with just a touch of romance, it rea
Sherwood Smith
Burgis takes on a complicated, fascinating period of history--the Congress of Vienna--as the backdrop for this dark historical fantasy romance, as a troupe of actors attempt to find fame among the glitterati at the end of the Napoleonic wars, and a pair of con artists, separated since childhood, pursue their own goals among those gathered to dance, gamble, flirt, and negotiate the borders of Europe as they play the game of kings.

The story is at its best with the actors, at least for me, especial
katayoun Masoodi
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, ebook, fantasy
thrilling and interesting story; great writing, interesting characters, though maybe the secondary ones were not as fleshed out, alot of times it felt like they were props, acting in a certain way just so the main characters could react to it and the story could go a certain road. that said, really liked the whole story and would recommend it to friends.
☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer)
The year is 1814 and all the aristocrats and royals from across the continent have converged on Vienne for the Congress of Vienna to celebrate the downfall of Napoleon. It is a celebration but also a week of high politicking as each diplomat hopes to control again or be granted lands within the new map of Europe.

Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English widow, is among the guests and hopes to gain the Emperor’s ear. Caroline is not at all who she seems, although she plays the role to perfection. She w
Jaime Moyer
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
I was lucky enough to be asked to read an ARC for this book.

No spoilers, but you want this book. Dark magic, plots within plots, so much good stuff.

Pre-order now!
Jan 21, 2018 added it
since this is a historical fiction there’s an amount of political maneuverings and manipulations.

so my only negative thing? not enough alchemy.
Dark Faerie Tales
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: All the of world is a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.

Opening Sentence: “Of course, I could never go back to Vienna,” Michael Seinhuller said.

The Review:

Michael is a con man or a player on the world stage and he has a play to set him up for life, he just needs some help getting into Vienna so he can get land, title, and money. When he runs into a troupe headed into Vienna he knows how to get them to help him. Once he is in, h
Y.S. Lee
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Short of time-travel, this is the best way I know to spy on the intrigues of the rich and powerful at the 1814 Congress of Vienna. Burgis's pacing is impeccable, the plot taut to the point of inevitability, and her characters beautifully drawn. There's a lovely parallel here between the high-stakes political negotiations of historical politicians and the personal schemes of the novel's protagonists, Caroline and Michael. The conclusion was moving and pitch-perfect. This novel is sending me scram ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A sumptuous and romantic tale of two ordinary people caught at the confluence of history, politics and dark alchemy, CONGRESS OF SECRETS will have you turning pages late at night.
Lynn Williams
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
strong 4 *
Having fairly recently read and enjoyed Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis I had no hesitation at all in putting in a request for Congress of Secrets. This book definitely does not disappoint and in fact I personally enjoyed it even more than Masks and Shadows. Using real historical events and people Burgis once again brings to us a story that weaves together magic and mystery in a most compelling way.

The year is 1814, Napoleon has fallen and the Congress of Vienna is being hosted b
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Last April I read Stephanie Burgis’ Masks and Shadows , her first novel for adults and fell absolutely in love with her writing. So I after I finished the book, I was really happy to discover that she had a book set in the same variant of our world coming out in November of last year. Congress of Secrets was everything I hoped it would be and more, taking what I loved about Masks and Shadows and improving on the things that niggled me. Burgis enchanted me once again with Caroline’s tale and I ...more
I think I just read a reskinned version of Masks and Shadows, only set during the Congress of Vienna (~40 years later). A somewhat more polished version of Masks and Shadows because there were fewer POVs, but still...

Widow of questionable nobility wields flirtation as a weapon at court while an unconventional love lurks in the background, spies use alchemy, a theatre troupe gets twisted up in it all, and the great reveal is on stage.

I still like though.

Recommended for fans of Mary Robinette Ko
Kathy Martin
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It is 1814 and the Congress of Vienna has made Vienna the place to be for schemers of all sorts. The kings, emperors, and diplomats are scheming to divide up Europe now that Napoleon has been deposed. The well-to-do from all over Europe are gathering to be part of the social scene.

Two others have come to Vienna again for their own purposes.

Caroline, Lady Wyndham, is searching for her father who was arrested for political dissent when she was eleven. She fell under into the control of the Austr
LynnDee (LynnDee's Library)
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
I didn't like this one as much as I liked Masks & Shadows. I think the ending just kinda blew it for me, and there were other aspects where I was just like, what? Not my favorite.

**EDIT 12/8/16**

Review originally published in Booklist on October 15, 2016.

Set during the historical backdrop of the Congress of Vienna, which occurred after the defeat and exile of Napoléon Bonaparte, this novel is not only about the lengths political leaders will go to gain power but the lengths a daughter will go t
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it

For some reason Masks and Shadows matched my taste, or my mood at the time of reading, a bit more than Congress of Secrets, but this was still a very good read, with vivid characters and a roaring good story.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

After Napoleon’s defeat, world leaders and aristocrats gathered for the Congress of Vienna in order to negotiate peace between the world’s powers. In Congress of Secrets, Stephanie Burgis reimagines what the Congress of Vienna would be like if dark alchemy was in play.

The story alternates between two major protagonists. Caroline Wyndham is an English heiress with a secret. She’s actuall
Oct 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Once I read the synopsis for Congress of Secrets a few months ago, I knew that I HAD to read it! Historical fantasy novels are quickly climbing up my list of favorite things to read and this one looked beautiful. , it didn’t just have the looks- this book had awesome content, from the setting to the characters, to the devious plots.

I thought Lady Caroline Wyndham was superb- she was beautiful, conniving, and clever. She managed to go from a printer’s daughter to a wealthy lady of English
Patrick Samphire
The year is 1814, and the Congress of Vienna has just begun. The Emperor Napoleon has been defeated, and the great powers of Europe have gathered in Vienna to carve up Europe among themselves. Along with them have come the powerful, the deposed nobility of old Europe, and the opportunistic, hoping to grab power and wealth for themselves. Amid glittering balls, parties, and salons, the great of Europe meet, plot, and position themselves.

Into Vienna come Lady Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English wi
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
4-4.5 stars.

Finally finally finally bought this, and I am so confused as to why this book doesn't have more attention. There is an amazing historical setting (the Congress of Vienna of 1814!), fantastic characters that develop lovely and at just the right place, a romance that suits the story brilliantly and that I, for once, adored and rooted for, villains of nightmares, and alchemy (magic of a new sort to me, and I thought it was so inspired and unique).. I have no complaints.

While the first p
Brandy Painter
Another enjoyable, rich historical fantasy for adults from Stephanie Burgis. As always with Staphanie's books, I was fully immersed in the world she created. I loved the mixture of politics with alchemy. I enjoyed this slightly less than Masks and Shadows only because I felt more of a distance from the main characters. I still loved it, particularly everything about the world building and intrigue. ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Historical fiction - check. Elements of fantasy - check. Intricate caper plot - check. This book should have been right in my wheelhouse, but it just wasn't. The fantasy alchemy elements felt tacked on. It was slow to start, and I never really felt attached to the characters. Finishing felt like a chore.

The historical bits were the redeeming feature. I wouldn't mind finding another book set against the same backdrop.
Sarah Jackson
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
An intriguing historical fiction novel with just the right touch of romance and necromancy, and an informative historical note which always makes me happy!

One make-out scene that is disrupted with clothes still on (but you definitely know where it is going). This is an adult book, with some adult themes, but still much cleaner than a lot of YA (I'm looking disapprovingly at you Sarah J Maas).

Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a fun one: court intrigue, magic, history, power, revenge, and a little romance.
Feb 02, 2017 marked it as dnf
Too heavy on the historical side for my cold-medicine filled brain right now.
Heather Jones
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
It might be easy to understand why I enjoy reading Stephanie Burgis's combination of real 18-19th century history, romantic adventure, and touches of magic. She has an impressively solid familiarity with the history and manners of the era she draws from (which, if you check out the topics of her graduate education, is no surprise). The Congress of Vienna, sorting out the political consequences of Napoleon's defeat, is a natural setting for intrigues of all sorts.

Two people, neither of whom is th
Set in the same world as the author’s Masks and Shadows, Congress of Secrets takes place in Vienna, 1814 at the great Congress of Vienna which marked the end of Napoleon’s rule across Europe and the meeting of leaders from countries both subjugated and victorious in the wars that deposed him. Against this backdrop, Caroline, a wealthy English widow and tourist at the Congress ingratiates herself with the players and noble onlooker. Unbeknownst to them, she is playing a part, returning to Vienna ...more
Lepus Domesticus
This book follows chronologically after Masks and Shadows, with different characters and the same kind of magic. I loved Masks and Shadows, but Congress of Secrets took me a really long time to read. It wasn't bad or anything, but the Hero started off as a selfish jerk and it took a while for him to start to redeem himself (although I was satisfied with that redemption, and liked the HEA), and also a major part of the book involves several characters being kidnapped and tortured by secret police ...more
Amy Keeley
Set in a glittering post-Napoleon Vienna, this novel sparkles. Yes, it sparkles! Action-packed and with a wonderful romance at the heart of it, Congress of Secrets also has just enough of the politics of the era to add depth to an intriguing fantasy.

The main characters, Michael and Karolina, have their own goals, but fit so very well together. Michael aims for one last con, one big enough to gain him a secure retirement from a life he didn't really want to live. Karolina wants to rescue her fath
This book was a perfect example of how it doesn't matter whether you like an author's other books, or whether they write well, what really matters is whether you can relate to the characters and enjoy the plot.

I just finished reading Masks and Shadows, which is set in the same world of alchemy as this story, although 20+ years before, and that book I gave 5 stars because I really enjoyed the authentic characters and the plot development.

I could tell I wasn't going to like this story within the f
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I grew up in America, but now I live in Wales with my husband, fellow writer Patrick Samphire, our two sons, and our sweet (and extremely vocal) tabby cat, Pebbles. I write fun MG fantasy adventure novels (most recently The Raven Heir) and wildly romantic adult historical fantasy novels and novellas (most recently Scales and Sensibility).

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