Congress of Secrets


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 printer. When her father was arrested by the secret police, Caroline’s childhood was stolen from her by dark alchemy.

Under a new name and nationality, she returns to Vienna determined to save her father even if she has to resort to the same alchemy that nearly broke her before. But she isn’t expecting to meet her father’s old apprentice, Michael Steinhüller, now a charming con man in the middle of his riskiest scheme ever.

The sinister forces that shattered Caroline’s childhood still rule Vienna behind a glittering façade of balls and salons, Michael’s plan is fraught with danger, and both of their disguises are more fragile than they realize. What price will they pay to the darkness if either of them is to survive?

Congress of Secrets is both the darkest and the most romantic book I’ve ever written. It’s my love letter to Vienna, my favorite city in the world, where I lived for two years in my twenties (and which was my Croatian great-grandfather’s favorite city, too – he told stories all his life about the wonderful years he spent there as a tailor’s apprentice). It’s a book about survival and redemption, facing the darkness within yourself and finding love when you least expect it.

Read Chapter One now. (You can also check out these teaser-quotes from later in the novel!)

“Below the surface of Burgis’ tale of intrigue, political tension, the dark arts and Vienna’s history lies a multi-layered story that is a perfect combination of romance, historical fiction and fantasy. The lush tapestry includes fictional and historical personages, actual events and surprising elements of magic that capture the imagination and chill the soul. Burgis displays wonderful storytelling and a gift for the imaginative.

RT Book Reviews

Burgis (Masks and Shadows) delivers a rich tale that throws magic into the already-intriguing setting of the Congress of Vienna in 1814 and 1815… This capably written and captivating tale is a fine example of historical fantasy.

Publishers Weekly

[Will] delight her fans and fans of historical fiction in general with its spin on political intrigue, historical romance, dark alchemy, and romance.


Burgis paints an engaging cast and has a fine eye for the details of 1814 Vienna. History buffs will find this to be a tasty, if airy, bit of strudel.

– Kirkus Reviews

Reading Stephanie Burgis’s Congress of Secrets is like eating a piece of rich, decadent chocolate. Filled with intriguing characters in a vivid and alluring setting, Congress of Secrets weaves its own brand of alchemy, drawing you in to 1800s Vienna. I couldn’t put it down!

– Sarah Beth Durst, author of The Queen of Blood

Congress of Secrets is an alchemical concoction of Vienna, secrets, beautiful prose, and the dark side of the royal court. Highly recommended.

– Laura Lam, author of False Hearts

Stephanie Burgis uses her considerable gifts to invest the city of Vienna with dark, magical splendor. It was a pleasure to visit the brilliant lights of its opera halls and the deep shadows of its lanes and alleys. I want to go back.

– Greg van Eekhout, author of California Bones

Congress of Secrets is a feast for the lover of historical fantasy: rich, complex, beautifully researched and engrossingly told. Burgis is a new star of the genre, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

– Judith Tarr, author of World Fantasy Award finalist Lord of the Two Lands

Add on Goodreads

Check out my Pinterest board for it.

Request an e-ARC on Edelweiss (if you’re a book blogger, librarian or reviewer).

Cover design by Nicole Sommer-Lecht.