"Compelling Renaissance Time Travel"
This is the second book in Ms. Shannon's Heaven series. It
takes place in our time shortly after Dom and Honor (the
hero/heroine of Heaven's Rogue) are spirited back to
Renaissance Italy. Time has progressed six years in there,
to 1505. Dom and Honor are the parents of two lovely
children, a young daughter who is very ill, and small son.
Former Police officer Nick Escavido (a major side character
in Heaven's Rogue) no longer believes in heroes.
followed his conscience and it has cost him his wife, his
job, and his faith in the system and in God. No, Nick
doesn't believe in angels either, though his brother Ernie
insists he's seen one. Their other roommate, Dom's
descendant Rafe, could back Ernie up but he doesn't want to
talk about it.
In spite of everything Nick has still has a good heart. He
is his younger brother's self-appointed protector. Ernie is
a scholar not a fighter and who because of his alternative
lifestyle and slighter build is an easy victim. Nick is
worried about Ernie delusions and is on the brink of
getting professional help for him.
Ernie has been having troublesome dreams regarding Honor.
She is pleading to him for help. Her daughter is gravely
ill. Isabella, the chatelaine of Castello di Giovanni has
attempted to heal the child with her herbal remedies, to no
avail. Honor is depending on Ernie to find a way to
deliver modern medicines to this day gone by.
Ernie has spent his entire inheritance on a "magic" mirror
and Nick is deeply worried. His worry turns to shock and
wonder as an angel appears and the mirror changes shape.
His brother leaps in eagerly and Nick is not fast enough to
prevent it. Nick is at a loss as to what to do, but the
angel allows him to see what is about to occur. Ernie is in
grave danger. Poor Ernie is about to be run to ground by a
knight on horseback sporting a large lance. Without
hesitation, Nick does what comes naturally. He follows to
defend his brother.
Renaissance Italy 1505:
Imagine Nick's surprise when he unseats the knight to find
not a ferocious warrior but a stunning young woman. He is
even more surprised at the instant chemistry between them.
Isabella has enemies though, and is not inclined to trust
him. Because of her friendship with Honor and Dom and her
love for their sick daughter, she takes Nick and Ernie to
see them. This makes a believer out of Nick but he still
doesn't want to be a hero. Heaven, however, has a different
plan. Ernie is in his element in this age of enlightenment.
Even after her friends vouch for the brothers, Isabella is
not sure she wants to trust Nick. He is still a threat --
Isabella Catherine Giovanni is a woman born ahead of her
time. She is strong and independent. She alone has
protected her lands and her younger brother from the threat
of Luccio Landucci an ally of the hated de Medicis.
Landucci is power hungry and evil. He will stop at nothing
to acquire Giovanni lands and Isabella. Isabella has no
wish to be a man's possession. She does not expect to ever
wed, but if she did it would be to a man could view her as
his equal. She does not believe such a man exists. Nick
inspires altogether different feelings in her. He seems to
respect her but his protective instincts could be an
obstacle to a relationship. Nick knows he must soon return
to his own time and begins to wonder if Isabella could be
happy with him there. Before Isabella can give him her
complete trust, another occurrence makes the decision for
her. For the two to be truly happy Nick must learn to
believe in heaven, heroes, and the power of love.
I enjoyed this story very much. It was a very complete
story but left room for a third story about Dom's
descendant Rafe who did not appear much in the story but
showed a definite uneasiness about the mirror in Ernie's
room, and he's also been restless of late. I hope Ms.
Shannon will write a story for him. I love big tough,
vulnerable heroes and Rafe has definite potential. Besides
I think he needs to be a hero again to feel good about
himself. I have heard whispers of a possible futuristic
tale for him, so keep you fingers crossed.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted December 7, 2001