As a fan of Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey series, I look forward to her novels. I thought my passion for Nicholas Brisbane was high until I discovered Andrei Dragulescu in The Dead Travel Fast. Raybourn always does a fantastic job of creating evocative moods in her novels.
Do you sense a “but” coming? Because there is one.
But … this book. I just couldn’t.
The plot is as convoluted as they come. Our heroine, Evangeline Starke, is a “famed aviatrix,” which means she goes barnstorming and barrel rolling around Europe. Currently on an aerial tour of the seven seas of antiquity, she finds herself enjoying a brief pit stop with her elderly Aunt Dove when the two come across representatives from a group of archaeologists who are digging for … something … in Damascus.
Evangeline becomes interested in them, largely because she has received a photo of her husband Gabriel on a Damascus dig. The photo strikes her as curious because Gabriel died on the Lusitania five years before the photo was taken.
And so Evangeline heads for Damascus, where she immerses herself in local history, local Bedouins, and the search for what really happened to Gabriel.
Maybe that doesn’t sound so convoluted, but trust me, IT IS. There are different factions searching for the same artifact, different agendas driving those people, and Evangeline wondering what is the truth about Gabriel.
I was, dare I say it, bored.
Yes, bored. BORED by a Deanna Raybourn book.
I didn’t particularly care for Evangeline, who seemed alternately supercilious and super silly. Whatever happened to Gabriel, I’m sure his reasons for faking his death were valid. Perhaps boredom was one of them …
If you are interested in a historical treatise on the peoples in Arabia, this is the book for you. There is occasional mystery, occasional – or should I say, frustratingly infrequent – romance, and a whole lot of history.
I’m giving it three stars because when it’s good – such as the sub plot with the German doctor and the mystery surrounding Gabriel – it’s interesting and fun. There just isn’t enough of that.