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Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Master of All Desires" by Judith Merkle Riley~HFiction Romp!


"A delightful blend of history, romance, and the supernatural, served with generous helpings of wit and humor."—Booklist

"Another darling mix of history, romance and the occult from Riley, a writer who excels at getting the background right and creating strong, intelligent heroines."—Kirkus Reviews

Lady Sibille never goes looking for trouble, but trouble always seems to find her. When she inadvertently becomes the master of the ancient cursed head of Menander the Magus, she has the power to grant any wish—at a steep price. Bound to the most powerful magical object in medieval France, Sibille finds herself thrust into an action-packed world of occult intrigues, political gamesmanship, Nostradamus, and star-crossed romance. With the help of the handsome Nicolas Montvert, Sibille must discover a way to free herself and France from Menander's malignant powers.

Judith Merkle Riley delivers once again with endearingly quirky characters, accessible historical drama, and magically induced mayhem. A divine treat from start to finish, you do not need a tarot reading to foresee that The Master of All Desires will delight from start to finish.

"Mixing history and fantasy with élan, Judith Merkle Riley offers a tightly woven, suspenseful, and fiendishly funny novel...Lush period detail and sprightly dialogue laced with humor and courtly pomp anchor Riley's romantic adventure with stylized whimsy and historical plausibility."—Publishers Weekly

Produced by:  Sourcebooks
Pages:  480
Genre:  Historial Fiction
Author:  Judith Merkle Riley
Purchase:  Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Other
Website:  http://judithmerkleriley.com


Judith Astria Merkle was born on January 14, 1942 and grew up in Livermore, California. She died on September 12, 2010. Read her obituary.

Her great-uncle was the famous baseball player Fred Merkle, her father, Theodore Charles Merkle ran Project Pluto, and her brother Ralph C. Merkle is a pioneer in public key cryptography, and more recently a researcher and speaker on molecular nanotechnology and cryonics.

Riley holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught in the Department of Government at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. From 1988 to 2007, Judith wrote six historical romance novels.

She was married and has two children.

"At her best here, Riley has concocted a delightful blend of history, romance, and the supernatural...." —Booklist

"Another dazzling mix of history, romance, and the occult from Riley....." —Kirkus Reviews

"Again mixing history and fantasy with elan, the author of The Oracle Glass and The Serpent Garden offers a tightly woven, suspenseful, and fiendishly funny novel....Lush period detail and sprightly dialogue laced with humor and courtly pomp....." —Publisher's Weekly

A millennium novel set among the magicians, astrologers, and prognosticators of the renaissance court of Catherine de Medici, Queen of France and patroness of Nostradamus. More/Less

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indie Bound


As only Judith Merkle Riley can write it, this is another one of her romping good novels filled with humor, laughter and historical romance.  She brings beauty to the genre in her descriptions of gaudy clothing, homes and castles...in the characters she gives us, and in the complicated relationships she creates amongst them.  There's no author quite like her.  Her novels always stand alone, and are easily recognized.

In this novel I was delighted by her treatment in particular of the cantankerous Nostradamus.  He is only set as one of several astrologers/magical people circling the court of Queen Catherine of Medici, but he is one Ms Riley seems to have the best time poking fun at, in my opinion.  I loved seeing him from this humorous perspective of his human weaknesses and his insecurity about his own predictions.

The ill-fated love stories in the novel keep it cooking and keep the magic flowing.  Although at times I found it too heavy and  that it seemed to bog the story down a bit, it was always funny to find the characters in their various conundrums.  Great fun to see the court of the Medici in such an uproar over love and mistress problems in Ms Riley's hands!

This isn't your ordinary historical romance novel.  It's funny and riotous.  It's filled with twists and turns somewhat like a Shakespearean play.  It reminds you of your own dysfunctional family!

If you're a fan of hers, you'll love this book.  If you've never read a Judith Merkle Riley book, you're in for a treat.

5 stars               Deborah/The Bookish Dame


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