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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel series comes a dark, sensual tale of romance in a city shrouded in mystery . . .
Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi gallery restoring Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semiconscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attackers’ screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her . . .
When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. Upon returning to the Uffizi, no one recognizes her. More disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of her disappearance, Raven learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history—the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the police identify her as their prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and most elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets . . .
Reynard (the Gabriel Trilogy) launches a series with this uneven paranormal contemporary set in a remarkably well-portrayed Florence. Art restorer Raven Wood, who works at the Uffizi Gallery, is attacked on the way home from a party, but a mysterious figure intervenes. At the same moment, valuable Botticelli drawings are stolen from the gallery. The two events are linked by William York, the vampire prince of Florence. He has fallen hard for Raven and attempts to win her heart while fending off vampire hunters, possible traitors in his court, and the police investigation into the art theft, which he committed. The depiction of Raven's disabling limp is nuanced and thoughtful, and Reynard makes a credible attempt to subvert and critique many of the genre's clich s (though he falls prey to a few). There's nothing resembling a plot, the action scenes are muddled and confusing, and the ending is merely a pause before book two. Still, it can't be overemphasized how well this novel captures the details, locations, and long history of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.