Monday, June 16, 2008

Blood and Memory - Book #3

Book #3 for the Once Upon A Time Challenge was Blood and Memory, The Quickening Book Two by Fiona McIntosh. The second book in a series, I waited a year to read this one. Far too long! I spent the first 50- 75 pages trying to catch up to what happened and reconnecting threads of the story. But the first story had been so compelling that I knew it would be worth the wait - and it was. This story is indeed a bridge from book one to the last and closing book but I enjoyed the backstory, the political wranglings and pondering for myself what could happen.

Handsome, but evil King Celimus is intent upon ruling not only his kingdom but all around him - either through marriage or conquest. Any who oppose him, or who might possibly oppose him are ruthlessly dealt with. Queen Valentyna, of neighboring Briavel, is his intended wife, uniting two kingdoms that have warred for generations. But Valentyna is in love with another and that is a definite obstacle. Celimus has the rival murdered.

But there is a problem for Celimus' s plan; Wyl Thirsk can't exactly be killed. Instead his soul and identity enter the body of whomever kills him. In this way, he has become first another man and then a female assassin. Quite a twist to a tale! He now needs to visit a powerful mage; one who might be able to explain this strange curse or gift. Meanwhile; Valentyna faces increasing pressure from her own people to consent to the marriage and end the threat of war.

The concept of the "curse" which requires Wyl to take over the body of those who kill him has powerful fantasy potential. Author Fiona McIntosh has also created an intriguing fantasy world with medieval-style warring kingdoms, strange magic and a forbidden forest. While this book was not the strong book that the first one was, I still enjoyed the journey. I love the character Wyl, appreciated the struggles of Valentyna and found new characters equally engaging. I'm anxious to finally finish the series and see how the author twists the tale next!!


Book signings and lectures are a pleasure for me. I love hearing an author share their insights of the writing experience and rubbing shoulders with those who share my loves and passions. This weekend Douglas Preston appeared at The Poisoned Pen and I talked not only my husband into a free date, but also my son and his girlfriend into joining us.

Douglas Preston's new book, The Monster of Florence, is based on the true life serial killer who murdered lovers in their cars in the Tuscany Valley of Italy from 1974-1985. Mr. Preston became involved when he found out that the house he was living in was next to one of the old crime scenes. He began a lengthy research collection that lasted for years. He and his Italian co-writer were eventually threatened and his co-writer was imprisoned and Mr. Preston was arrested and indicted. He had 12 hours to leave the country! The story was quite riveting and the slide show he presented made it all the more real. He is an extremely personable man and Rich and I talked to him at some length before the event began. The Poisoned Pen was packed with interested readers, the audience had good questions, there was plenty of food and a summer's night of good company was a plus. Barbara Peters, the owner, is so knowledgeable and she and Douglas Preston talked about some of his other books - really whetting my appetite for some I've missed. We were there for at least two hours and it truly flew by.

Father's Day celebrations included a homemade Dark Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake for Rich! Quite an event! But he loved it and that's what was worth it - and he really appreciated the efforts! We went to Ben and Jenn's for Father's Day dinner and it was super. The little kiddos were funny and happy. The food was delicious and I didn't have to cook! Wahoo! What a fun day. Rich also loved it. He was proud as could be of the kids and their tribute to him. We are having a Father's Day/birthday celebration next Saturday morning. All of the kids are coming over at 6am to help spread gravel in the front and back yards and will help him move the tool bench to the new shed. I will make a huge breakfast - breakfast pizza, bacon and eggs, cinnabon casserole, fresh fruit, hash browns and smoothies. The benefits of having a great family are great mealtimes together. Yum!

Summer is winging by and I've not gotten a lot done - cleaning, studying Spanish, surfing the net and reading. What am I talking about - this is great!!


Susan said...

I've heard of Douglas Preston, but never read anything by him. He (and his book) sounds really interesting.

Okay, I have to ask - what is Cinnabon casserole? Just the name has me drooling :)

Inside A Book said...

Douglas Preston typically teams up with Lincoln Child and they write as a team. As an individual author he has written several varied books.

Cinnabon casserole is just as good as it sounds too! I found the recipe again at
I haven't made it in years but the recipe and photos reminded me to do it again. Yum!

Hope your summer is going swimmingly!Gaye