Posts by Vicki J Kondelik

Little by Edward Carey

Cover of Little by Edward Carey

This brilliantly-written historical novel tells the story of Anne Marie Grosholtz, who became the wax sculptor Madame Tussaud, in her own unique voice. Orphaned at an early age, Marie learns the art of modeling body parts for anatomical study from a physician. Eventually she draws the attention of the royal family, and she tutors the sister of Louis XVI. Her business prospers in the tumultuous days of the French Revolution, but her association with the royal family leads to her imprisonment...

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Cover of Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

In the latest entry in Louise Penny's popular mystery series, Armand Gamache, former head of the Sûreté de Québec, now living in the tiny village of Three Pines, is named as the executor of the will of a woman he's never met. Soon afterwards, the body of her oldest son is found in a collapsed farmhouse. Gamache's investigation of the murder uncovers secrets, including a long-lasting family feud. Meanwhile, Gamache searches for a deadly drug he allowed to slip through, and...

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Cover of The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network tells two parallel stories, in alternating chapters. One is about a young woman who worked as a spy, in an all-female spy network, in France during World War I. The other is about an American college student who goes to France shortly after World War II, to look for her French cousin who disappeared in occupied France. These two stories intersect in a powerful way and make for a very suspenseful novel.

The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Berry

Cover of The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Berry

In this action-packed thriller, former Justice Department agent turned rare book dealer Cotton Malone searches for a cure for HIV and the lost tomb of Alexander the Great and seeks to outwit a power-mad Central Asian dictator along the way. As is usual in the series, this novel is full of exciting plot twists and turns.

The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal

Cover of The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal

This World War II mystery is the latest in a series featuring spy and cryptographer Maggie Hope. Maggie is imprisoned in a castle on a remote island off the coast of Scotland because she knows too much about the plans for the Allied invasion of Normandy and her bosses are afraid she'll reveal them if she's ever captured. Her fellow prisoners, also agents who know too much, are being killed off, one by one. Will Maggie be able to catch the killer before she becomes the next victim?

The Fire by Katherine Neville

Cover of The Fire by Katherine Neville

The Fire is the sequel to The Eight, one of my favorite books of all time (see my previous review). Both books tell the story of the quest for a legendary chess set that once belonged to Charlemagne, and which holds a secret of enormous power. The quest is played out as a chess game with the characters as pieces. The Fire takes place thirty years after The Eight, when the daughter of the heroine of The Eight finds out that the deadly game has begun again.

The Eight by Katherine Neville

Cover of The Eight by Katherine Neville

This fascinating adventure-fantasy tells the story of the quest for a legendary chess set once owned by Charlemagne, which contains the key to a dangerous and powerful secret. The quest is carried out by two brave, intelligent heroines in two different time periods: the French Revolution and the 1970s, and the novel is told in alternating chapters so it is structured like a spiral or figure 8. The Eight can be considered a predecessor of The Da Vinci Code, but in my opinion it is much better...

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