I was thoroughly impressed with Ms. Hoyt's work in The Serpent Prince. In the third book of the series Hoyt explores a plot that swiftly turns markedly darker than the two previous books that came before it. In The Serpent Prince, we meet Lord Simon Iddesleigh and Ms. Lucy Craddock-Hayes. Lord Simon is found soundly beaten at the side of road by Lucy's home in Maiden Hill, a village a 1/2 a day's ride away from London. Lucy takes him in to her home and as he recovers it becomes rather clear that they have the quite the hots for each other. The plot thickens when we learn Simon is on a single-minded quest for revenge against his brother's murderers which threatens to destroy the budding relationship between Simon and Lucy.For the first 2/3rds of the novel, Hoyt for the most part is able to create interesting and three dimensional characters. Serious, direct and innocent Lucy is described as an angel- an Old Testament angel- who sees through Simon's facades and witticisms to the man beneath. This scares the hell out of Simon but he can't help but be attracted to her. Simon's arrival only brings home to her how boring and empty her life has been. Simon, let's face it, is honestly a creep in my opinion. Hoyt is unafraid to show his ugly side (oh and there are many) and most of the time Simon is obnoxious, stubborn and at times reprehensible. It is difficult for me to love Simon, particularly as he continuously shows a lack of honor, selfishness,and a narrow minded stubborness. At the same time, though, Simon is a complex character, one who deeply loves his wife. I really wish that Lucy took a more active role in the plot and in many ways this seems more Simon's story than Lucy's story.