Sunday, March 31, 2019

ARC Review: The Ghost Manuscript by Kris Frieswick

The Ghost Manuscript
Author: Kris Frieswick
Publication: Post Hill Press (April 2, 2019)

Description: Rare book authenticator Carys Jones wanted nothing more than to be left alone to pursue her obsession with ancient manuscripts. But when her biggest client is committed to an asylum, he gives Carys an offer she cannot refuse. In exchange for his entire library of priceless, Dark Age manuscripts, Carys must track the clues hidden in a previously unknown journal, clues that lead to a tomb that could rewrite the history of Western civilization.

But there are people who would do anything to stop Carys from finding what she seeks—for reasons both noble and evil. The hunt takes Carys to places she never thought she’d go, physically and emotionally; first to Wales, her estranged father’s homeland, then to bed with Dafydd, a mysterious Welshman who agrees to help her with the search, and finally, deep inside her own psyche, when the monk who wrote the journal 1,500 years ago appears and assists her in her search.

My Thoughts: Carys Jones is an expert on medieval manuscripts. She works for an auction house authenticating texts. When the son of one of her biggest clients tells her that his father has been committed to a psychiatric hospital and that he is planning to liquidate the collection, Carys is called in to authenticate the texts and check the catalog.

Carys meets the housekeeper who tells her that there is one manuscript not in the catalog. It's a journal of a monk who wrote of his employer who was a battle chief fighting the Anglo-Saxon invasion. That's when Carys learns that her employer is just another Arthur chaser and she loses respect for him. That is, she does until she does until she reads the diary herself and starts having hallucinations where the author Lestinus gives her clues that may lead to the grave of Riothamus Arcturus who would become the legendary King Arthur.

But Carys isn't the only one on the track of Arthur and the massive fortune including Excalibur that was buried with him. Her boss George Plourde has his own scam going - blackmailing clients to part with items that will yield him massive commissions. He is also working with an antiquities dealer named Martin Gyles who has his own scam going but has gotten himself in trouble with jihadists and needs the tomb to get himself out of it.

Carys is an interesting person who considers herself broken. She has major abandonment issues. Her father left her family when she was seven. Her mother committed suicide when she was fifteen and her father left her with family friends rather than taking her into his new family. Her relationships hit the wall at about three months because of her inability to share anything of herself but her body. The only constants in her life are the manuscripts that are part of her work.

As Carys travels to follow the clues Lestinus left, she travels to Wales where she meets a new guy and where she meets her father again. Both are instrumental in finding the tomb which has been emptied but for another journal, some seeds, and a small amount of ancient jewels. And the search continues with bad guys trailing behind.

The action was fast and furious. The villains were truly dastardly. The treasure hunt was intriguing. And the book ends on a cliffhanger...

Favorite Quote:
"Latin isn't like English. It's very formal. People generally didn't use it to express their emotions. There were so few people who could write back then that they normally saved it only for recording official things. But to find a personal journal - to find two of them - it's like a magic window. Like climbing into the heads of people thousands of years ago. But mostly what you see when you read words that old is that humans haven't changed a bit over all the centuries. I'm not sure if that's comforting or disturbing. It's all the same - pain, anger, fear, joy, passion..."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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