Barbara Hambly, Author
Barbara Hambly, Author . Bantam $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-553-10964-1
Reviewed on: 07/05/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004

Hambly's brilliantly crafted eighth historical (after 2003's Days of the Dead ) brings the antebellum South so alive you could swear the author traveled back in time to observe her settings firsthand. One day a week the slaves of New Orleans gather at Circus Square (aka Congo Square): "Those who had garden plots sold their surplus produce: tomatoes and corn… and peaches whose scent turned the thick hot air around them to molten gold." Series hero Benjamin January, a former slave, and his gracious wife Rose own a fine home in which they've begun a school to educate young girls of color. But when the president of the bank where all the Januarys' money has been deposited comes to them and confides that a bank employee has cleaned out the coffers, the pair have only one choice: follow the thief and recover the money before a substantial payment is due on their mortgage. Enlisting the aid of their cultured and charming white ne'er-do-well friend, Hannibal Sefton, the two pose as Hannibal's slaves/servants and board a steamboat heading up the Mississippi River. On the boat, they find themselves amid slave runners, abolitionists and a host of interesting, unsavory and downright terrifying individuals. So when their quarry is transformed into a corpse, it's no wonder the trio have no idea who might be trusted. This riveting novel of suspense is sure to win Hambly many new fans. Agent, Fran Collin. (Aug. 3)

The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!