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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning author of The Memory Painter comes a sweeping and suspenseful tale of fate and fortune.

Semele Cavnow appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, specializing in deciphering ancient texts. And when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history.

But as Semele delves further, she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred. The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele's entire life. But what happened to the cards?

As the mystery of her connection to it deepens, Semele can't shake the feeling that she's being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Brossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there's more to Semele's desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere - someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Brossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it's up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a 2000-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Gwendolyn Womack

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  • Frances
  • Webster, MA, United States
  • 08-14-17

Fascinating premise

This is a very clever, dual-time novel that takes place in present day, and then, via a discovered manuscript/memoir, takes the reader through history from 48 BC forward. It's basically a fictional (?) account of how Tarot Cards came into being.

Semle works for an art auctioneer who catalogs, evaluates, and then distributes collections of precious pieces. She specializes in ancient manuscripts. During a month in Switzerland when she is cataloguing an estate collection, she discovers a manuscript that does not appear on the list the client gave her. She is shocked to find a note from the deceased collector inside - addressed to her! He warns her "not to trust anyone now."

The storyline switches back and forth from Semle's time to the distant past, as she translates the ancient Greek manuscript. The chapters narrated by this ancient character are a memoir. She is the person, daughter of the librarian of the Royal Library in Alexandria, who finds the original 22 Tarot Cards, and makes copies of them. This is the only way they survived after the library was burned to the ground in 48 BC by Julius Caeser - in hand painted, copy form.

This book will thrill lovers of history, but the details of same dragged the story down a bit for the first 1/3 of the book. After that it had me hooked. But I must admit that if I had not been listening, but reading the book, I might have skimmed some of the detailed historical accounts that were too long to move the story forward.

History, mystery, suspense lovers, and those fascinated with the metaphysical - I highly recommend this as an enriching read.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Not much to say when an audiobook is this good. Narrator is great, story is good, and I wished it would never end.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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good performance but just an OK story

The narration of this book was good, and the premise interesting, but it left me hanging. I don't know if it's intended to be a series, but I dislike books that fail to achieve some degree of resolution.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

I am so glad I chose this book. The narration was on point. And the story was so very good. I'm sorry it's over.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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i really enjoyed this one.

i listen to over a hundred books a year and most run together. Not this one though. I'll be on the lookout for more from this author.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

I really enjoyed this book and the audible narration. The narrators are very good.
the storyline could be a little hard to follow at times but it was all in all a great read. I could not stop reading it - at bedtime I wanted to stay up and finish this book. Couldn't get enough of it. I am interested in listening to more from these narrators.

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Wishing it was better written

What a great idea for a novel. I loved this story, which spans many centuries. However, it was poorly written in many places, and / or poorly edited. For example, in one section a main character talks about seeing a deck of tarot cards, and the impression is that it is the first time she has ever seen a deck of cards like this. In the next sentence, however, she goes home and out of nowhere a relative shows her another pack of tarot cards. She responds that it is the most beautiful deck of tarot card she has ever seen. How is that possible, when in the previous sentence you have been given the impression that she has never seen any cards like these before? This is just one example of the poor writing. I really did love the idea of the story, but very much wish that it had been better executed.

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Not Great

I could not wait for this book to end. The story had some initial promise but eventually went downhill and never stopped. It goes back and forth in time from Ancient Greece to present day and shoves a lot of History into a small space. The mystery was not good, the love story was unbelievable and not set up well, and the main character was tiresome. I didn't quit because I had already invested too much time in it before it went downhill. On the plus side the narrators were good!

  • Overall

Amplified while driving in a winter snow storm.

Hooked at the very beginning. The plot unfolded in a timely fashion, about generations of gifted women whose visions are of great power ( and proof) to unlocking the secrets of time. Was thought provoking while driving through a winter storm over VT mountains.

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kept me enthralled

I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. I like how they were multiple stories within a story and that they were parallels between the lives of the Storyteller and the main character who was reading the story. The characters were believable as was sorry. I like that it was adventurous and suspenseful at the same time.