cover image Key to Forever

Key to Forever

Christina Skye. Avon Books, $6.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-380-78280-2

An excess of plot twists and a cast of willfully odd or relentlessly over-determined characters--human, animal, otherworldly--burden Skye's latest addition to her Draycott Abbey series (after Bride of the Mist). A night of passion comes back to haunt antique-weapons expert, Joanna Russell, when she re-encounters Alexei Cameron, the handsome, broad-shouldered, half-Gypsy, earl of Greywood ("" `a Chateau Lafite. Or maybe you'd prefer a Chateau d'Yquem '55.' ""). After pages of verbal sparring, Joanna and Alex join forces to unearth the priceless Cameron claymore--a rare two-handed sword. ""For centuries the Cameron sword has been a curse to all who possess it,"" says guardian ghost, Adrian Draycott to Gideon, his faithful cat companion. But now, it's time for him to lift the spell that has shielded the sword from discovery, and let Joanna and Alex find their destiny. While Skye's poetic prose makes this offering readable, the story is so overwritten it dilutes the magical charm that has informed her previous books. (Mar.)