Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Review: Cybele's Secret

A companion novel to Wildwood Dancing, this book takes place six years after the events of its predecessor and is told from the viewpoint of Paula, one of Jena's younger sisters. The scholarly Paula has been chosen to assist her father on a business trip to Istanbul to obtain a long-lost yet valuable artifact known as Cybele's Gift. Upon arrival, Paula and her father learn that one of their business associates has been killed, possibly in connection with the artifact--they aren't the only ones who want it, and apparently some bidders are prepared to pay any price to obtain it. Number one on Paula's list of suspects is the dashing pirate Duarte Aguiar, a man of ill repute in the city. Paula's father entreats her to hire a bodyguard to keep her safe during their stay, and she eventually hires a man named Stoyan. Stoyan is muscular and well-built, an excellent bodyguard. His previous employer, however, was the business associate that was murdered while Stoyan was away, so Paula questions his motives. While trying to learn whether she can trust Stoyan, Paula is invited to the house of a wealthy independant woman named Irene. It's not safe for women to walk the streets of Istanbul alone, so Paula must have an escort to get there-- either Stoyan or Irene's steward, the eunech Murat, while her father tends to business. The quest for Cybele's Gift is filled with danger, and Paula and her friends will be tested to their limits. Who can Paula trust? Who will stop at nothing to obtain the precious artifact? And why does the pirate Duarte seem so interested in Paula? The story that unfolds is interesting and exciting, but nowhere near as good as its predecessor. It's still a good story, however, and I'd give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. [424 pages.]

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