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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.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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*THE* one!!

If you are like me you set aside an hour or so to sit down and review audibles offerings looking for The Book. The one where you don’t have to say “hmmmm. This might do” and add it to your wishlist while you search on looking for the THE BOOK. THIS IS THAT BOOK. The book had me by the second paragraph and I was so very thankful I had a 9 hour drive ahead of me to just sit back and be transported through time with the family. The narration is wonderful - zero complaints or ‘maybe if they’d done it this way’.... thank you for an amazing adventure!

11 of 11 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.

20 of 24 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Awesome Book

Almost like a Deborah Harkness novel but with its own spin and weave of stories across time. Just listen and let the author weave her magic in story telling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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twists &-turns

This book was very well read. I think it would also make a great movie

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

4 of 6 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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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful