After his father is murdered in a mysterious fire, Malcolm Ramsey learns of the curse that plagues his family because his ancestor stole an emerald from an Egyptian tomb 200 years ago. He changes his name to Blackfriars, finds a position with a London map-maker and continues his search for his father's killers.

The Paris Rebellion of 1848 forces Ariana Levesque to flee to England. Ariana has been haunted by dreams of a lake, a Scottish castle, a sea serpent and a handsome stranger. In England she is closer to understanding the fortuneteller's warning and her nightmares.

Malcolm and Ariana appear to be drawn together by fate when he saves her from a near-fatal accident. Ariana is pulled into his quest, and along with a jeweler, a bookseller, a mapmaker and a pair of foreigners searching for the Loch Ness Monster, they risk their lives to find the key to the treasure.

Brandewyne appeals to the readership of Across a Starlit Sea with a lush novel brimming with rich historical details and written in the grand tradition of the Victorian gothic, complete with a huge cast of characters, a stolen gem, a curse, a mystery and a love story.

More engrossing mystery than pure romance, it unfolds slowly luring the reader in as each character is brought into this carefully constructed and intriguing tale (à la Dickens) that will captivate gothic fans. SWEET (Sep., 451 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin