Thursday, January 7, 2010

Moving Target

Moving Target by Elizabeth Lowell
“When you read this, I’ll be dead.”

The troubling message from Serena Charter’s late grandmother appears in a package containing four pages of a centuries-old illuminated manuscript—a strange inheritance that hides many secrets…and has already cost many lives. Seeking answers, Serena turns to Erik North of Rarities Unlimited, a reclusive manuscript appraiser with a passion for the past. Without warning, they are thrust together into the center of a lethal firestorm that rages between two worlds—one long dead, yet living on in an ancient text, the other chillingly alive and fraught with peril. In the blink of an eye, Serena and Erik have become targets of an unseen and determined stalker as they get closer to shocking revelations about Serena’s legacy, the cold murder of an eccentric old woman in the heat of the Mojave Desert…and just how far a remorseless killer is willing to go. And now their only slim hope of survival is to keep moving.
--Moving Target by Elizabeth Lowell, copyright © 2001 by Two of a Kind, Inc.

When Serena Charters’ grandmother dies, she is left with four beautifully illuminated (to decorate a manuscript, book, etc. with colors and gold or silver, as was often done in the Middle Ages) pages and a mystery. She sends off photocopies of the pages to the House of Warrick, one of the world’s largest auction houses, and to Erik North, an independent appraiser who works for Rarities Unlimited, a company that specializes in the valuation and brokering of art. The House of Warrick is quick to make an offer based on the photocopies and contracts Rarities Unlimited to get the job done, their reason being that the pages are fakes and they want to get the pages out of circulation.

Erik’s not so sure. His own connection to a tome called The Book of the Learned leads him to believe Serena’s pages are real and that they come from The Book of the Learned. He is determined to uncover the truth about the pages and where they come from. And to figure out the ages-old connection between Serena and himself.

When owners of other pages believed to come from The Book of the Learned start dying the same way her grandmother did, Serena’s and Erik’s lives become endangered and they must keep moving in order to survive, figure out the history of the pages, and find the rest of Serena’s legacy, The Book of the Learned.

This is not my first Elizabeth Lowell story and it certainly won’t be the last. She crafts a great story with deeply interesting characters (not just the main characters, but the supporting ones as well) and a plot that keeps the story moving to the very last page. There is a lot of detail about the intricacies of Erik and Serena’s occupations, about the inner workings of Rarities Unlimited and the antiquarian book trade in general, but it’s these details that make Moving Target such a great read. Moving Target is also a romance, but the romance is not the central focus of the story, the mystery is, and I personally like that in a story. I also like a story that takes for granted the intelligence of the reader and the reader’s ability to follow a long, somewhat twisty plot line.

I give this book four stars out of five.

No comments: