THE RAVEN (The Florentine #1) by Sylvain Reynard-a review
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 3, 2015
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel Series comes a dark, sensual tale of romance in a city shrouded in mystery…
Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery restoring fine works of Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attacker’s screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her…
When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. She returns to the Uffizi, but no one recognizes her and more disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of the events leading up to her disappearance, Raven also learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history – the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the baffled police force identifies her as its prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth about her disappearance. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets…
REVIEW: THE RAVEN is the first full length novel in Sylvain Reynard’s adult, contemporary The Florentine paranormal, romance series focusing on an ancient vampire known as ‘The Prince’ or ‘William York’, and Uffizi Gallery art restorer American Raven Wood. There is a character crossover with the series as the Prince is on the trail of Professor Gabriel Emerson and his wife Julianne from Reynard’s GABRIEL‘S INFERNO contemporary romance series. Emerson was in possession of some stolen art-art that once belonged to the Prince. You can find the background information in the prequel novella-The Prince
Told from third person point of view, the premise follows The Prince as his subjects and people continue to battle the rogue vampires who have infiltrated the Florentine Prince’s territory. An attack by the rogue vampires against a young human woman finds the Prince coming to her aid only to discover that something about the ‘Rubenesque’ woman calls to his heart and to his soul. The Prince does not do relationships; does not do love but protecting the woman known as Raven Wood becomes one of his top priorities.
The Prince is an ancient vampire; a man whose authority is final; his word is law; and a ruler who is quick to destroy anyone who questions his power. His relationship with Raven will become more complicated as the storyline develops because saving her from the rogue vampires also meant saving her from death-a death from which needed a vampire’s blood to survive. Their connection is immediate but Raven is unaware of what has transpired leaving her vulnerable and asking questions of the wrong people. When her life is threatened, the Prince offers up the only thing he can do-for Raven to become his own.
The relationship is slow to develop as the Prince is focused on a possible traitor who has left his territory exposed. Raven is a woman whose background is plagued with heartbreak, emotional and physical abuse, as well as a lifetime of low self esteem and issues of physical inadequacy and beauty. The Prince is drawn to Raven like a moth to a flame and in this Raven, quite possibly, is his downfall. Convincing Raven to leave Florence is difficult- Italy is now her home
There is an ‘old world’ charm to the world building as Sylvain Reynard takes the reader through classical Florence Italy and the dramatic underworld darkness of vampires and death. Their dangerous existence is ruled by a political infrastructure not unlike many Principalities where the head of state is the final authority on all matters concerning the law. Raven’s knowledge of art restoration along with the Prince’s intimacy with many famous paintings and artists lends to the captivating and picturesque beauty of the early Renaissance era, once again invoking an historical feel to the contemporary story.
The secondary and supporting characters include the members of the ruling vampire house of Florence-the Consilium-the governing body of all things supernatural and vampiric in the Prince’s territory. We are introduced to Raven’s friends, coworkers and an assortment of legal professionals who are also on the hunt for a possible serial killer and some missing art from the Uffizi Gallery.
Sylvain Reynard’s dark and mysterious world of The Florentine and its’ vampires is sensual, passionate and deadly. The phenomenal amount of detail with regard to early Renaissance painters and art adds an historical flavor to a paranormal storyline that is addicting and intense; a contemporary love story wrapped in a blanket of old world drama and destruction. A story that crosses the centuries in a contemporary time line.
1. The Prince
2. The Raven
Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley
Reviewed by Sandy