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REVIEW

"Fine genealogist mystery"

On a photo shoot in the Cotswold, model Bethany Marshall hires genealogist Natasha Blake to research her family tree. At that initial consultation, Bethany animatedly discusses Pre-Raphaelite model, artist, and wife of Dante, Lizzie Siddal. Also at that consultation, Natasha meets the photographer Adam Mason, who is working on an exhibition to emulate the style of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. He asks to a do a shoot of Natasha, to which she unenthusiastically consents.

Before he can take her picture, Adam informs Natasha that Bethany vanished, leaving behind an old Marshall family diary. Since her address was inside and Bethany is her client, the "ancestor detective" begins a search for the missing woman. As she learns more about her subject and the Marshall ancestry, Natasha panics fearing history could repeat itself because of Bethany's obsession with Lizzie, whose life end tragically.

PALE AS THE DEAD is the exhilarating opening debut of a fascinating "detective" whose expertise is in researching the past. The story line is cleverly designed so as Natasha learns more about her client's enthrallment and subsequently more about Lizzie, she realizes that fast intervention might be needed to prevent a repeat tragedy. The look into Dante and his age adds depth to the solid plot. Though the attraction between Natasha and Adam is mindful of the movie Suspicion, it also takes away from the haunting theme of whether Bethany will become Lizzie number two. Still this is a unique tale starring a delightful individual who makes a fine sleuth whether it is the past or the present.

Harriet Klausner

Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted June 5, 2004

SUMMARY

Extraordinary new talent Madeline Howard begins an epic trilogy of magic and power, hidden birthrights and prophecies, with The Hidden Stars, the first book of The Rune of Unmaking. In a world devastated by a cataclysmic war between the wizards and mages, the Empress Ouri#225;na has seized the throne, proclaiming herself the Divine Incarnation of the Devouring Moon. Appointing twelve priests to perform her rites, she rules with a tight rein of evil sorcery. The priests, once men, have become twisted with magic, making them monstrous -- mutated. They bring destruction wherever they ride, and one kingdom after another falls, enslaved into darkness. Yet signs and portents appear, puzzling the seers, and a tale begins to grow. A rumor of a young girl, talented and hidden, who is destined to end Ourina's tyrannous reign ... if she can survive long enough to do so. And so a brave band of wizards and heroes ride out in search of the hidden princess, pursued by the fury of the dark goddess herself.

 

The Hidden Stars
(Rune of Unmaking: Book 1)
by Madeline Howard

Eos
October 1, 2004
Available: October 12, 2004
ISBN #0060575875
EAN #9780060575878
432 pages
Paperback
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Madeline Howard

A Dark Sacrifice


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