Thursday, July 05, 2007

'The Splendor of Antiquity' by Cheryl Anne Gardner

Title: The Splendor of Antiquity
Author: Cheryl Anne Gardner
Price: $9.95, paperback
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-1-4303-1412-7, paperback
Publisher: Lulu
Point of Sale:

Buried along the coast of the Black Sea, a long dead Babylonian god awaits a woman to discover his existence, joining his soul and body once more. She fiercely resists any affection, preferring the uncomplicated company of people long departed and ritualistically buried. A mortal man also desires this woman, though lacks words and the suitable actions to attract her passions. This mummified deity inadvertently sets in motion the union of two wayward lovers.

Joliette is a renowned archaeologist, tenacious in her pursuit of ancient artifacts. Like a dog unearthing a bone, her keen intuition leads to their resting places, where decayed human remains wait patiently for discovery. However, that perception does not apply to relationships that are more intimate. Joliette knows about Olivier’s many indiscretions, breaking off their relations immediately after the India excavation ends. Since then she avoids him, until her major find in the Altari Mountains.

Also an archaeologist, Olivier “Olie” Botton is a suave French playboy whose specialty is – along with women - medieval weaponry. His attraction evident towards Joliette, the pleasing liaison during the India digs proved their compatible intellect and personalities. Olivier’s past dalliances overshadows what they shared. Even though she dumped him, he continues to hope to renew their relationship. Whether she incites a challenge or true love in him, only Olivier can discern.

As related through the ethereal voice of the mummy, “The Splendor of Antiquity” is an intricate though eerie story laced with a subtle but lucid romance. As Joliette reconstructs his face from clay, he senses her every emotion while listening to her idle chatter that fills his lifeless hollowness. She senses an uncomfortable bond forming between her and the mummy, infiltrating even her dreams where they come together in lust.

Ms. Garner’s characterization is at times complex though adds depth, pulling the reader tighter into the dynamic plot. Jeopardizing their painstaking efforts, Olivier shows proof that the artifacts recovered with the body do not match the age of the corpse. Hours upon hours of research leaves them with no way of linking the artifacts to the body. Tired and frustrated Olivier invites Joliette to his apartment for dinner, promising to keep his hands to himself. As the mummy claims…Olivier lies. Rekindling their romance leaves Joliette convincingly uncertain, and feeling the weighted burden of loneliness.

“The Splendor of Antiquity” is a simple, though exquisitely multifaceted romance without the conventional angst. What unadulterated turmoil exists moves smoothly, while building the romance between Joliette and Olivier. The in depth archaeological backdrop does not distract from the story, instead creates a more affluent reading experience for this lover of romance.


Reviewed by: In August of 2006, Pamela broke into book review writing with Erotic Escapades, but writes for The Erotic Bookworm, The Muse Book Reviews, Romance At Heart, and now POD People. Her own web site, Chewing the Bone exhibits book reviews in multilple genres, including children and young adult fiction. With all that she has going on Pamela finds time to dabble in flash-fic writing. Although, she doesn't aspire in becoming a published novelist, because it would take valuable time away from her first love... reading.

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