When Serena inherits some rare pages from the mysterious Book of the Learned, she discovers that someone is willing to kill to keep their secrets under wraps. Of course, this being a novel by a doyenne of romantic suspense, Serena also gets involved with the man set to appraise her valuable inheritance. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Romantic suspense/historical romance luminary Lowell (Midnight in Ruby Bayou, etc.) returns with a love story-cum-mystery that skips from the British Isles to the California desert, and from the cruel rituals of the ancient Druids to the even crueler practices of modern art collectors. In a familiar plot refreshed by historical and artistic detail, Lowell's modern lovers hear echoes of past lives. When her grandmother falls victim to arson, weaver and free spirit Serena Charters inherits a charred cabin, a piece of cloth, a warning to trust no one and eight pages from a brilliantly illuminated Celtic manuscript. Serena sends copies of the pages to two appraisers who recognize it as the Book of the Learned, passed down for centuries through the first-born women of Serena's family. One appraiser, Norman Warrick, a curmudgeon billionaire surrounded by the greedy relatives and toadies of the House of Warrick, claims the pages are fraudulent, but stops at nothing to acquire them. The second appraiser, Erik North, is a dashing art investigator as adept at cliff climbing as at deciphering archaic texts. Erik hides from Serena his longtime obsession with the book as well as his own family connections to it. Working with the ingenious researchers, negotiators and security specialists of Rarities Unlimited, a company devoted to the preservation of art, artifacts and the fortunes to be made from them, Erik offers to help Serena solve the murder of her grandmother and prevent her own while uncovering layers of history in the priceless palimpsest. But can Serena trust Erik or his employer? Lowell poses questions the reader can easily answer. Yet her evocation of the modern business of ancient artifacts is so sharp one can only hope she will bring back Rarities Unlimited for the inevitable sequel. (July) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.