© 2005 All Rights Reserved Readers & Writers Ink Reviews
THE BOOK OF THE SEVEN DELIGHTS
By Betina Krahn
A letter of recommendation from her father, a renowned scholar at Oxford, nets Abigail Merchant a job in the British Museum. Unfortunately, women are not readily accepted in those hallowed precincts and she finds herself relegated to the basement classifying a stupefying array of written material submitted to the museum.
Among the dross she discovers the journals of Professor T. Thaddeus Chilton, sent to the museum nearly 50 years ago in 1849. Old T. Thaddeus claims to have proof the fabled lost library of Alexandria really exists and his journals, written in code, tell where to find it.
Shortly thereafter, Abigail is on board a freighter headed for Morocco. She has invested the small inheritance received from her mother to finance a search for the library using T. Thaddeus's notes as a guidebook. Her plan is to hire the necessary people and equipment in Morocco, make the trek into the desert, find the library and return to the glory and everlasting thanks of the British Museum. Unfortunately, just about everything Abigail knows of the world has been gleaned from books and she is woefully unprepared. Her most pressing problem at the moment is surviving the worst case of sea-sickness on record.
Enter Apollo Smith, a handsome but disreputable ex-legionnaire with plans of his own in Morocco, and they don't include babysitting a naive and slightly balmy female. Nonetheless, when called upon to help the cabin steward tend the very ill Miss Merchant he reluctantly agrees. His methods are a bit unorthodox, but Abigail survives long enough to disembark the ship in Morocco, where she is promptly robbed and taken into hand by a notorious thief and all-round bad guy.
Rescued again by Apollo, albeit reluctantly, the pair join forces and set off into the desert. They are accompanied by the little cabin steward who has jumped ship and been caught up in their adventure. The trio makes its way from oasis to oasis, falling into and out of trouble with assorted natives, paid assassins, vengeful legionnaires and avaricious members of camel caravans.
It's a delightful romp reminiscent of "Jewel of the Nile" or an Indiana Jones film, with plenty of action and bad guys in pursuit. Along the way Abigail and Apollo discover their love-hate relationship includes a healthy dose of sexual interest. One thing leads to another and soon they are exchanging intimate secrets and falling in love.
Betina Krahn is a talented writer gifted with the ability to meld humor, poignancy and captivating characters into stories that completely absorb the reader. It's a delight to find an author who can blend exciting action adventure with sex scenes that are charmingly subtle and wickedly funny. THE BOOK OF THE SEVEN DELIGHTS should be on everyone's reading list.
-- Reviewed by Elizabeth Waye
Note: If using a quote from this or any Readers and Writers Ink Review, we ask that Books at ForumsAmerica.com or CompuServe Books Forum be attributed for the quotation. Please address any questions to Lynne Perednia, Review Coordinator. Reviews are linked from the CompuServe Books Forum and are archived at the ForumsAmerica Books Forum.