One look at the centuries-old document she receives from a mysterious stranger is all it takes to plunge Lola Sanchez—a brilliant bibliophile and owner of the Red Lion bookshop—into the adventure of an already adventurous lifetime. The ancient writings tell of a stolen fortune in Montezuma's gold—and of the thief's transformation from conquistatore to alchemist . . . to werewolf.
Riches beyond imagining possibly await the stalwart globe-trotter who can solve the intricate riddles hidden in the artifact's crumbling pages. But a deadly curse is buried there as well. On a dangerous quest through the dark shadows of history, Lola and her dashing companion, Eric, will have to unravel the twisted strands of her own family's fantastical past—and stay a step ahead of the villainous treasure hunters who would eagerly kill for the secrets she possesses and the Aztec gold she seeks.
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Yxta Maya Murray is the author of The Conquest—winner of the Whiting Award—and The King's Gold, the second novel in her acclaimed Red Lion series. She is a professor at Loyola Law School and lives in Los Angeles.From AudioFile:
From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com The King's Gold is the second outing for Yxta Maya Murray's feisty Lola Sanchez, a California bookshop owner with an encyclopedic knowledge of South American history and a weakness for swashbuckling adventure. The first book, The Queen Jade, was a madcap tale of mad colonels and Guatemalan jungles; this time, the locations are no less exotic, and the plot hardly less fantastical. The book opens as a mysterious stranger pays a visit to Sanchez's Red Lion bookshop with a couple of monosyllabic goons and a letter apparently written by a Medici prince containing a series of cryptic clues that will, the letter claims, lead the successful solver to a stash of Montezuma's plundered gold. Matters are complicated by the knowledge that the prince in question was no ordinary evil conquistador. According to legend, Antonio Medici was not only a would-be alchemist but also the victim of an Aztec curse that transformed him into a werewolf. Though Lola is due to be married in two weeks, she is, of course, unable to resist the lure of such a challenge. Two hours later she's on a plane to Florence, and the stage is set for a romp of a treasure hunt through the finest churches (and gloomiest catacombs) of Renaissance Italy. The King's Gold is an exuberant confection of exploits, as thrilling as they are far-fetched, a page-turner of serpentine plot twists and tongue-in-cheek wit. Lola Sanchez is a female Indiana Jones, a thoroughly 21st-century heroine who combines boldness and brilliance with a wry awareness of the cliches of the adventure genre and a nice, self-deprecating humor. "As the Fiat continued to skid down the Roman roads," she muses at one point, "a familiar but still very disturbing idea that perhaps I am not normal flitted through my mind." Fortunately for Sanchez, she's not the only unusual person on this quest. Soon she's joined by her bearish professor of a fiancé, who declares the hunt "an archaeologist's dream! Except for the depressing death part." The result is an irresistible blend of crime caper, 16th-century legend and the traumas of wedding planning set against the backdrop of Italy's most famous antiquities. But, while the plot moves at a cracking pace, it's the sparkling interplay between these larger-than-life characters that lends the novel such verve and originality.
Copyright 2008, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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