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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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

16 of 16 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.

19 of 23 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Janet
  • Asheville NC
  • 02-23-18

captivating story

this was a very captivating story. It really kept me wanting to know the next part of the story. I enjoyed the history and the backstory behind the characters. The narrator did a very good job portraying the different accents.

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Eliza D.
  • Bay Area, CA United States
  • 04-23-18

Loved the historical bits at least

This novel weaves together past and present in the sub genre of “found a mystery manuscript” (side note: having worked in an archive, it’s funny this is now a profession in thrillers). The past story and narrator do a great job illuminating the story as it unfolds. The present day protagonist and her problems/romance were just a little silly and less engaging for me. Overall though it was a decent enough audiobook.

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Phenomenal

To be fully submerged in a fictional story, a writer needs to create landmarks based in fact, and Ms. Womack has done her research ! This book is utterly fascinating, absorbing and you can research it's contents. It is superbly written and holds the reader 100% throughout the book. Crushing that it ended ! Don't hesitate, you will not be disappointed. I just cannot wait for this to be a movie. It will be a blockbuster. I'm now on her other book, The Memory Painter......Wow. Lisa Flanagan brought this fully to life and I will seek her out again, too.

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What a great story

This is such a good tale that I didn’t want it to end . What a great imagination the author has and I enjoyed her trip thru time .

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absolutely AMAZING.<br />

I love, love, LOVE this book! This story is perfect for us that love that hope that magic is real, filled with interesting historical facts and delicious mystery that kept me guessing until nearly the last chapter. I must say, I haven't been this taken with a novel for a long time.

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story moves along with no side track.

Loved it. Narrators were true to characters. Fast pace with no extra boring monologue. Great read (listen).