cover image The Wild Baron

The Wild Baron

Catherine Coulter. Jove Books, $7.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-515-12044-8

Charade meets Raiders of the Lost Ark in this Regency-period romantic adventure from the author of Rosehaven. Coulter, renown for off-the-wall plotlines, offers a little of everything--spice, mystery, murder and the search for the Holy Grail--as she tells the story of the Carrington clan. The Carrington brothers are not what they seem; Rohan, famed for his debauchery, is actually quite saintly. His late brother, George, thought to be a scholarly wimp, had been a heartless rake. When commoner Suzannah Hawlworth announces that she is George's widow, her life is threatened by someone who believes she possesses a valuable map. To protect Suzannah and her young daughter, Rohan brings them to his London townhouse and marries her. They soon discover that a locket George had given her contains not only a map, but a key to a cask that holds a magical chalice and the future of humanity. The sudden switch from Jane Austen to Steven Spielberg is disconcerting to say the least, but Coulter's sense of humor and solid writing manage to make it work in the end. (Apr.)