cover image Reckless


Amanda Quick. Bantam, $7.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-553-29315-9

Bestselling author Quick's ( Rendezvous ) latest lovers are a pair of bibliophiles whose engaging qualities should help her many devoted fans overlook this work's fatal flaw: it is an unconvincing attempt to draw a parallel between a Regency romance heroine and a medieval hero on a quest. Lady Phoebe Layton's ``quest'' is to track down the person who killed her suitor, Neil Baxter, and to ``bring the villain to justice.'' Neil was making his fortune in the South Seas, where he reportedly was killed by a pirate who stole an old and valuable book she gave him; rumor says the book is back in England. Ignoring the fact that real questers don't delegate, Phoebe persuades fellow book collector Gabriel Banner, Earl of Wylde, to find the rare tome and the murderer. Phoebe's growing attachment to Gabriel prompts him to consider using her to seek revenge on her father, who, eight years earlier, ruined Gabriel and drove him out of England--to the South Seas. Quick expends little effort on this revenge scheme, which is in no danger of coming to fruition; as a result this fantasy castle seems built on a foundation of sand. (Dec.)