Chloe Gong Secret Shanghai fans are READY for the epic conclusion in Foul Heart Huntsman! But in case you need a refresher, here’s what your favorite characters are up to, and what all went down in Foul Lady Fortune, before you read Foul Heart Huntsman!
Shanghai is in the midst of a civil war. Nationals and Communists fight for power while the Japanese try to get a foothold. When people in Shanghai start getting mysteriously murdered by poison, the Nationalists pair up spies Rosalind and Orion to infiltrate a Japanese newspaper and root out the murderer. Oh, and they’re going to have to fake a marriage to look more legit!!
Who do we love?
Rosalind Lang (Lang Shalin) is presumed dead. She goes by Janie Mead but her code name for the Nationalists is Fortune. She is an immortal assassin (thanks to a life-saving concoction given to her by Lourens) who no longer ages, doesn’t need to sleep, and works for the Nationalists to sooth her guilt for getting Roma & Juliette killed. Rosalind fake marries Orion (code name: High Tide) for the mission and while they both know they’re hiding things, they begin to fall for each other. Swoon.
Orion Hong (Hong Liwen or Mu Liwen as his married alias) is the middle son of Nationalist General Hong, and his mother, Lady Hong, who left after his father was accused of being a traitor. He tries to uphold the family name by being a good Nationalist operative, codename Huntsman. Orion starts to fall for his partner-in-spy-crime, “Janie,” who he discovers after a bit of digging, is Rosalind, gasp! (FYI they finally kiss on page 402: this is very important.)
Phoebe Hong (Hong Feiyi) is Oliver and Orion’s younger sister. She’s not technically an agent (they think*) but she runs messages for Dao Feng. She’s also nosey (like Alisa! Little sisters!) and is excited when Orion sends her to find out more about Liza (Alisa) in the hopes of finding out more about “Janie.” This results in Phoebe, Silas, & Alisa teaming up, despite being on opposite sides, for various shenanigans.
Oliver Hong is the oldest brother – he defected to the Communists and is Celia’s mission partner. He’s also Priest’s handler (the Communist’s most notorious sharpshooter assassin). Oliver loves Celia and isn’t afraid to tell her (in the middle of a mission no less)!
Celia Lang (Lang Xīlìyà) is Rosalind’s twin sister who is working for the Communists with Oliver in a photography shop outside the Shanghai city limits. Celia and Rosalind pretend like they’re not in contact, but they def are. Sisters before political parties, amiright. Celia and Oliver discover a suspicious warehouse teeming with Nationalists that’s getting the Japanese newsletter delivered. When Oliver and Celia bring what they’ve found about the mysterious warehouse to Orion and Rosalind, we get the fraught family reunion we’ve dreamed of (Oliver and Orion are at each other’s throats, Phoebe is like BOYS PLEASE and Rosalind and Celia are pretending they’re not twins lol)! They can’t quite figure out WHAT is going on with the mysterious warehouse or who is the blame, but at least everyone we love is working together.
Alisa Montagova is a Communist spy, code name Liza Ivanova. She is also working undercover at Seagreen Press, gathering intelligence. She and Rosalind team up together to uncover info at the Press, even though they’re on opposite sides and know each other’s secret identities. At one point, Rosalind gets Alisa thrown in jail but sends Phoebe and Silas to break her out. Friendship ensues.
Silas Wu (Wu Xielian) is like a brother to Orion since they grew up together in England. He is a triple agent, working for the Nationalists as Shepherd while pretending to be a Communist, all the while trying to uncover the identify of Priest. Silas has a crush on Phoebe, who is pretends not to know, but actually she loves it. This will be important in book 2.
Dao Feng is Rosalind’s handler. He is stabbed by the mysterious poisoner (NO) but Rosalind is able to get him to the hospital. But he escapes from the hospital because turns out, he was a double agent (WHAT)!
Jiemen works at the Japanese newspaper, Seagreen Press but SURPRISE he’s also working for the Nationalists and is High Tide’s new handler with Dao Feng out, despite his young age.
How does it all go down?
Celia realizes that the chemical murders aren’t supposed to be murders – someone is testing a chemical weapon on people! Meanwhile, Rosalind is staking out the killer and discovers it’s…ORION??
Orion stabs Rosalind. NO! He comes out of a trance and is very sorry but Rosalind doesn’t trust him, because HE JUST STABBED HER! Alisa shows up, sedates Orion, and explains everything to Rosalind (Celia called Alisa and gave her the deets). Our hero!
Rosalind isn’t ready to give up on Orion (because love). She smuggles him home and takes some leftover potion to a scientist, who says it looks a lot like what made her immortal. To buy them time, Rosalind tells Silas that Haidi was the killer, and he passes that info along to Jiemen.
Rosalind and Orion have a very heated reckoning where it’s revealed that Orion is also an experiment, although he has no memories of the murders. He reveals that he knows who Rosalind is. She doesn’t trust him so he’s like “shoot me, I love you.” She can’t do it.
There’s one last pressing mission to be done. Rosalind, Orion, Silas, and Phoebe head to the Cathay Hotel but things go south and Alisa, Orion, and Rosalind end up arrested by Jiemen for “murder and conspiracy.” Rude.
Phoebe figures it all out (obvi) and gets Silas to help enact a rescue mission, but Alisa has already broken them all out (obvi) after a tender moment between Rosalind & Orion.
The three of them (Rosalind, Orion, and Alisa) head off to Warehouse 34 to stop the actual bad guys. But there, they’re attacked by enhanced soldiers and almost don’t make it out, except Priest is there! Their opposition, saving them?? Why? Whatever, they’ll take it. They’ll also take a green vial, which Alisa whisks away to take to Celia for safekeeping.
But then Lady Hong walks in. Orion’s mom? What! She made Orion like this? What! Rosalind pieces together that Lady Hong was working for the Nationalists but they pulled her funding so she took her research to the Japanese and experimented on her own son. Orion needs routine doses of the green potion, or he’ll die, but Rosalind is like, I’m still destroying these, they’re bad. And Lady Hong is like, well fine, Orion, attack Rosalind!! They fight, Orion is stabbed, Rosalind is shot by Lady Hong, and Orion comes back to himself and begs Rosalind to flee and leave him behind. She reluctantly does so. Lady Hong injects Orion with a red vial. This can’t be good.
Alisa takes the green vial to Celia, where she confronts Oliver about Orion and their mother. She doesn’t feel like she can trust Oliver so she takes the vial into safekeeping herself. Rosalind is outed as Lady Fortune, and her secret mission days are over. But she’s determined to get Orion back, and then she gets this note:
I can help you get him back.
Find me in Zhouzhuang.
WHO IS JM?? (Read Last Violent Call and you’ll know!!)
Meanwhile, Phoebe meets with Dao Feng and it’s revealed *SHE IS PRIEST!! Wow. (need more Phoebe? Read the short story, The Priest and the Shepherd now!)