New York Times bestselling author Amanda Quick presents an Arcane Society novel that reveals the passionate—and paranormal—secrets of proper Victorian London.
Attempting to recover a relic stolen from her family years ago, gifted crystal worker Leona Hewitt secretly makes her way into Lord Delbridge’s private museum. But who she finds there is more entrancing than the crystal she seeks.
Thaddeus Ware is a mesmerist with powerful psychic energy—that doesn’t seem to be affecting the woman before him. Instead, Leona seems to exert a rather hypnotic power over the hypnotist himself. After she gives him the slip, absconding with the crystal they recovered, Thaddeus fears for her safety. For he is on assignment for the secretive Arcane Society and knows that the crystal holds the potential for great destruction. It is the key to Lord Delbridge’s membership in a shadowy group known as the Third Circle. The nobleman killed before to acquire the crystal, and Thaddeus has no doubt that he will kill again.
In Quick's (Jayne Ann Krentz's pseudonym) mediocre latest installment to the Arcane Society series, Leona Hewitt, a crystal reader, and Thaddeus Ware, a hypnotist, meet trying to steal the same relic the aurora stone from a private collection, but a murdered prostitute and a trap protecting the stone initially complicate their success. Thaddeus, hired by the Arcane Society to claim the stone, allows the plot's loudly grinding gears to ally him with Leona. Both Leona and Thaddeus are sensible and pragmatic, qualities that make for efficient sleuths but passionless lovers, and Quick has to try unusually hard to make their romance believable. The story fares better when it focuses on the crystal and its connections to secret societies, to the Midnight Monster (a hackneyed serial killer) and to Leona's personal history. When the plot threads finally pull taut and the villains' motives and schemes are completely (if clumsily) exposed, Leona is endangered in a suspenseful climax. This is unlikely to garner Quick any new fans, or even delight her devotees, but it will tide them over until the next episode.