THE ROSE LABYRINTH by Titania Hardie


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The bestselling British author of guides to charms, spells and other white magic makes her fiction debut with a religious caper about a young woman who receives a transplanted heart—and a mysterious legacy from Elizabethan alchemists.

Having contracted a rare heart-wasting disease, beautiful TV producer Lucy King receives a new heart from Will Stafford after his untimely death in a motorcycle mishap that may not have been an accident. Shortly before his death, Will walked the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral and began to understand the meaning of the mysterious key and collection of riddles he’d inherited from his mother, a bequest usually handed from mother to daughter. The key once belonged to Elizabeth I’s advisor John Dee, an alchemist, Rosicrucian and follower of a heretical version of Christianity. Soon Lucy, who feels a strange bond with Will, begins a romance with his handsome brother Alex, who happens to be one of her doctors. While boating down the Thames on Halloween, they pass through a time warp and briefly cross paths with Dee, who quotes the same riddle Will left behind. Meanwhile Will’s former girlfriend has begun to date a Stafford cousin who has conveniently popped up from America. Handsome but creepy Calvin is mixed up with powerful, politically connected Christian fundamentalist Fitzalan Walters. Believing Dee’s key and manuscript can lead him into The Rapture, Walters will stop at nothing to obtain them. In contrast to Walters’s dastardly fundamentalism, Lucy and Alex study the papers for an understanding of Dee’s complex philosophy and teachings. They realize their romance is foretold, a case of destiny and the triumph of faith and pure love. Sure there’s a kidnapping and some pretty hot sex, but Lucy, Alex and their friends are mostly excited by each others’ long-winded explanations of their research.

The Scotch-taped plot and dull romance will be irrelevant to those who want to play with numerology, spiritualism and questions of Christian intrigue.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4165-8460-5
Page count: 392pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2008


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