Dreams of Empire

Jeanne Mackin, Author
Jeanne Mackin, Author Kensington Publishing Corporation $21 (0p) ISBN 978-1-57566-020-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-1-57566-133-9
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Lord Elgin, Napoleon Bonaparte and the Egyptian Pharaoh Shepseskaf are but three of the world-renowned figures with whom Mackin (The Queen's War, 1991) enlivens this exemplary historical romance. Lovely Marguerite Verdier survived the Terror in France with her beloved husband, Michel, but finally flees his philandering in order to serve as an illustrator for one of Napoleon's archeologists in Egypt. In August 1799, Michel shows up in Cairo, choosing a fateful day on which to reclaim his wife and to pursue a mission for Talleyrand: that evening, a young Arab sickens and later dies of coffee poured by Marguerite for the future emperor, who declined the cup. Jailed, Marguerite must trust Michel to prove her innocent. The dead man's father, meanwhile, contemplates revenge, as does his widow, who plans to draw the murderer into completing an antiquities transaction for the legendary artifact ""Woman Carried Away."" This stela, its history recounted in tantalizing flashbacks to ancient Egypt and Rome, becomes the common thread that ties past to the novel's present, and sundry personages to a dangerous appointment in the Valley of the Caliphs. Plenty of romance and intrigue, vital characters and exquisite details of both period and place ensure a vigorous and satisfying read. (Apr.)
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