Book Jacket

 

rank 4882
word count 107798
date submitted 23.02.2010
date updated 24.02.2010
genres: Thriller, Historical Fiction, Fanta...
classification: adult
complete

Thirteen-Card Spread

James Munro

A medieval murder mystery. Paris, 1377. Alchemy, witchcraft, university students, brothels, the royal court, the King's mistress, a Hispano-Scottish heroine, and ultimately pure supernatural horror.

 

It is December, 1377, and Lady Marian MacElpin (also known as Doña Mariana de la Manga – she was born and grew up in Spain) is now an unofficial student at the university in Paris: in order to be admitted to lectures, she has to pretend to be a man. However, as a result of the very different life she has led hitherto, she seems more grown-up and worldly than her fellow-students, and it is to her that they turn when one is charged with the murder of his rich uncle, a miser and reputed alchemist. Mariana quickly discovers that this murder (and a second, related one) had their roots far away on the island of Ibiza eighteen years earlier, and involve not only alchemy and the tarot and (of course, with Mariana there) witchcraft (one of the witches turns out to have been for years the secret mistress of Charles VI, King of France, while her sister runs a popular brothel known as La Fille d'Or), but also a one-armed Albanian "king" of the Paris underworld, and such well-known historical figures as Christine de Pisan (then a girl of thirteen), and Nicolas Flamel, the alchemist.

 
rate the book

to rate this book please Register or Login

 

tags

, alchemy, medieval mystery, paris underworld, tarot, witchcraft

on 5 watchlists

19 comments

 

To leave comments on this or any book please Register or Login

subscribe to comments for this book
JohnDoe wrote 650 days ago

Hi, I'm just leaving you this comment so you get an email notification and then maybe venture back here as your work as has been selected as this week's one to watch by Rachel/authonomy. As far as I know people don't get any personal notification of this.

Here's the thread URL.

http://www.authonomy.com/forums/threads/83560/this-week-s-one-to-watch/?pagenumber=30

wespollet wrote 1387 days ago

Hi James, Great title, thats what hook me, until I got inside and began to see the plotting and evil that exists in the minds of people. I like it and I Back the book. Harold Alvin(ICON)Wesley

yasmin esack wrote 1446 days ago

Wow! starling and stunning. love your quote from Rumi.

a pleasure to back

best

Francesco wrote 1486 days ago

Backed with pleasure! Good Luck!!
A look at Sicilian Shadows would be greatly appreciated.
Frank.
If you back my work, you may also want to approach BJD (a big supporter of Sicilian Shadows) for a further read and possible backing of your book.

soutexmex wrote 1499 days ago

Original enough like Eco's 'Name of the Rose' from the same milieu. I could live with the short pitch but that long pitch needs work. Fix that and you've sold me with your gfood writing. SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get a chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key
Authonomy's #1 rated commentator

Melcom wrote 1501 days ago

Incredible start to a terrific book.

Living in France I was very keen to read this.

I'm glad I stopped by too, very polished and one of the best reads I've had the pleasure of reading for some time.

Happily shelved

Melxx
Impeding Justice

lynn clayton wrote 1502 days ago

James, I've read this before, but on another site. Loved it then and see no reason to change my opinion. Backed and very good luck. Lynn

Bamboo Promise wrote 1510 days ago

Excellent pitch. Must be good on the movie as well. Backed with pleasure. Would you like to give a thought of Bamboo Promise ?

scottkenny wrote 1512 days ago

Such wonderful dialogue James, that it could be a brilliant historical/period drama for a tv company. There are one or two places on the first page where the inverted commas are positioned wrongly or are incomplete so making the sense of who is saying what slightly difficult to follow. Easy enough to fix and worthwhile doing so. Loved it,
Scott.

JenniferThorne wrote 1518 days ago

You have very natural dialogue... but it was difficult to place your characters in time and space. A little bit of details would be nice. ie. Where are they? What are they doing? And other than her names and occupation, what about her?

I'm backing this on the strength of the dialogue and the book concept. Your heroine is great.

Barry Wenlock wrote 1518 days ago

Hi - backed and enjoyed. This is from your LP -- it's all one long sentence. It might be easier to follow as two.

Mariana quickly discovers that this murder (and a second, related one) had their roots far away on the island of Ibiza eighteen years earlier, and involve not only alchemy and the tarot and (of course, with Mariana there) witchcraft (one of the witches turns out to have been for years the secret mistress of Charles VI, King of France, while her sister runs a popular brothel known as La Fille d'Or), but also a one-armed Albanian "king" of the Paris underworld, and such well-known historical figures as Christine de Pisan (then a girl of thirteen), and Nicolas Flamel, the alchemist.

Best wishes, Barry (Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys)

Perryn Blood wrote 1519 days ago

This is undeniably mesmerising. Wholly hypnotic. You have achieved so much just through, mainly, dialogue. Which is such a gift. I have read, without being able to stop, chapters one and two. The opening paragraphs of one were rivetting, and I fail to see how anyone could stop there. It's like being sucked into a vortex. The use of the language, the clear use of voice, the inner dialogue, all are excellent. Chapter two, also excellent...the reading of Nathalie's character and hand, the deft questioning, all was engrossing. But I did think that the chapter was too long and might be better served to be halved in length or perhaps cut into two just after Marianna returns to her home and the boy enters the kitchen.

I would normally have said that there were too many characters in the opening scene. Usually that can be a source of confusion for the reader. But you have so deftly captured the intensity of the scene, and caught the character of each just through their speech and Marianna's impressions that it was more one of those superlative scenes of life such as is found in films like Le Retour de Martin Guerre.

If I might, I should have liked a bit more descriptive work in chapter two, something which would have given me a greater impression of the house of M. Guillaume le Breton...because I should very much like to 'see' it.

Best - PB

August74 wrote 1519 days ago

Love the premise and really enjoyed what I read. Personally I found the pitch a bit too much to take in, so much information. It might be worth editing it a little, we don't need to know everything, and also split it up in to two or three paragraphs. I do seem to be the only person who feels this way so I could be off.

Love the title, that's what got me. I'm very much looking forward to reading more.

Alethea

Pia wrote 1519 days ago

James,

Thirteenth-Card Spread - Rumi quote, ah.
A who-done-it tale packed with mystery. I enjoyed the dialgues, initially there were many names, I'm not good at that, so I stuck to the narrative, but I found Maranna's thoughts and observations engrossing, she is a unique a character. Promising of Marianna's talents - and lovely - the one to one dlalogue between Marianna and Jaquet, in prison. Your short pitch, for the hurried eyes on this site, rather than listing the themes of the novel, I thought, could include your MC, she has such a beautiful name, and it would entice to identify with her character from the start. Very satisfying read. Best success. Pia (Course of Mirrors)

LittleDevil wrote 1519 days ago

My husband often says, 'there's a good film on telly, come and watch it.' I turn my nose up, not something I'd usually watch, but I make the tea, dig out some munchies and after a while get into it.
This is exactly what I did with this. I've come to the conclusion it's not always about the story, but the teller. You have a knack.
Best wishes
Sue
A Boy Called George (please take a look if you have time)

John Booth wrote 1520 days ago

Hi James
This reads like a published novel. I am massively impressed but it doesn't allow me to offer any advice.
Except to get published.

Shelved, Naturally

John Booth

Carla_Anne wrote 1520 days ago

Hello James, Your pitch is excellent, your first paragraph you have it nailed - breathtaking - this book looks like a delicious read with thrills and spills at every twist and turn. It is fantastically presented in a uniquely interesting style. I do think it will do well here as it is one of the most alluring stories i've come across thus far. Backed.
Carla
The Last Gift

Suzannah Burke wrote 1520 days ago

The pitch lured me in as it was intended to do of course...the writing held me attached to the story woven with a clever gift for narrative and dialogue. The research into the time and place is well done with no glaring errors in ettiquette or speech. The reader is caught up in a murder and mystery in a time when the laws were brutal swift and irreversible.

The MC is a delight, Mariana is a warm character well fleshed out with depth and color. The pace is good, the premise wonderful and the writing well crafted.
Backed with much pleasure
Suzannah Burke

AlleJo wrote 1520 days ago

Medieval murder mystery, Paris 1377!

Fascinating setting, strong story and real voice.



1