SECOND SIGHT by Amanda Quick

21 02 2011

This is my first trip into the world of the Arcane Society created by Jayne Ann Krentz, here writing as Amanda Quick. And I must say I enjoyed it.

The society “was founded in the late 1600s by a brilliant, reclusive, paranoid alchemist named Sylvester Jones,” and here we are in the company of his descendant Gabriel Jones, a clandestine psychic who seems to have inherited many of Sylvester’s character traits.

When the story opens, he has employed a certain Venetia Milton to photograph the enormous collection of arcane artifacts at Arcane House. An innovative move, photography being a very new art, for Queen Victoria is still on the throne and Victorian prudery still very much the fashion. This however does not prevent the virginal but curious Venetia from engineering her own ravishment at the hands of Gabriel when she finds herself alone with him in a stately mansion miles from the eyes of her family.

Later, circumstances oblige her to pose as a widow and, having seen a report of Gabriel’s tragic death, she decides to use his name, call herself Mrs Jones. But Gabriel’s death (like Mark Twain’s) had been exaggerated. He reappears, hot on the trail of a murderer whose next victim seems likely to be Venetia.

Great entertainment, and perfectly in period.

One gripe – the usual. An editor’s English should be impeccable – and impeccable includes, for instance, knowing the difference between “to flaunt” and “to flout”.

“Nevertheless, there are rules.” She sighed. “One flaunts them at one’s peril.”

But don’t let this put you off the book. And to learn more about the Arcane Society world, visit www.jayneannkrentz.com .

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