Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Books: Son of the Morning

I won Son of the Morning by Linda Howard over here from the lovely Zeek. And I have to say it was a wonderful surprise. I have been burned by novels with medieval Scots folks. (I know just enough that I cannot watch "Braveheart", the commercials make me cringe. I'm thrilled that it makes all these people happy, but I had to study and diagram that battle a gazillion times. I wrote more than one paper on it. The details are now fading but I am not yet in a place where I can let go and just enjoy it.) So, since part of this story is about Niall, a medieval Scots, I likely would have avoided it. But mail it to my door, and well.
Now this book is a perfect example of why back cover copy annoys me. Yes, most of the things it tells you you can figure out if you have read a book or two, but it is still in violation of my personal rule about giving anything away (even if you know it will likely happen) that happens after the first third of the book.
So - this is what I would tell you. Grace St. John is an ancient manuscripts scholar in Minneapolis who is happily married to an archaeologist. While translating documents about the Knights of the Templar, a killer decides that the information documents contain secrets they have been searching for and that she must die. On the run, Grace must find out what information the documents contain, and discovers she has a strange a connection to Black Niall, a knight from medieval Scotland, who is mentioned in the documents.
Now, I had several concerns. First, my vaguer by the minute Scottish history was not offended by anything here. I'm sure someone better versed may be able to find something, but I was happy. Second, knowing that Linda Howard tends to write romances (although this book is marked clearly as fiction, and would fit in happily in the mystery section also) I wasn't so surehow I was going to feel should some time crossing love connection show up. I am completely happy with how everything was handled. And third, bookish scholar on the run, I was cringing in anticipation with all the silly running away mistakes. But, Grace, while certainly not perfect, was smart and actually applied her smarts to her running away strategy. Sure, she happened upon some streetwise with a heart of gold folks but there was never a situation where she was only saved because of someone else's intervention. I was impressed.
So, the back cover copy. Don't look if you wish to remain truly spoiler free (I know BCC isn't considered spoilery, but I think this one kind of is.) (Stolen from here.)

New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard captivates readers in the deeply romantic tale of a contemporary woman who unravels an extraordinary mystery from the past . . . by living it.

A scholar specializing in ancient manuscripts, Grace St. John never imagined that a cache of old documents she discovered was the missing link to a lost Celtic treasure. But as soon as she deciphers the legend of the Knights of the Templar -- long fabled to hold the key to unlimited power -- Grace becomes the target of a ruthless killer bent on abusing the coveted force. Determined to stop him, Grace needs the help of a warrior bound by duty to uphold the Templar's secret for all eternity. But to find him -- and to save herself -- she must go back in time . . . to fourteenth-century Scotland . . . and to Black Niall, a fierce man of dark fury and raw, unbridled desire. . . .


So, here it is again with me totally taking it apart. (Again, stop reading if you don't want to be spoiled.)
New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard captivates readers in the deeply romantic* tale of a contemporary woman who unravels an extraordinary mystery from the past . . . by living it**.

A scholar specializing in ancient manuscripts, Grace St. John never imagined that a cache of old documents she discovered was the missing link to a lost Celtic** treasure. But as soon as****
before she deciphers the legend of the Knights of the Templar -- long fabled to hold the key to unlimited power -- Grace becomes the target of a ruthless killer bent on abusing the coveted force. Determined to stop him, Grace needs the help of a warrior bound by duty to uphold the Templar's secret for all eternity. But to find him -- and to save herself -- she must go back in time . . . to fourteenth-century Scotland . . . and to Black Niall, a fierce man of dark fury and raw, unbridled desire. . . .

*This book is marked as Fiction
**Giving away too much
***It's a Knights of Templar treasure. The knights were not Celtic. Just because this one guy is Scots doesn't change the origin of the treasure. Yes, I am nitpicking.
****Disagree with the timeline.
Now, I agree this is not the worst BCC ever. And I realize that some people like a little bit of a roadmap as to where the story is going. And I get that it's really easy for me to pick apart the work of other people. But, these issues highlight why I stopped reading back cover copy. I want enough information to figure out if this is my kind of story, but I don't want you to spoil all the twists. Sure, and reasonably intelligent reader can figure out if there are two main characters in a story, they are going to meet up even if they are separated by a couple of centuries. But, if it doesn't happen - or even occur to either of the characters until two-thirds of the way in, don't talk about it on the back.

1 comment:

Zeek said...

opps! Missed this!

Well, Glad you enjoyed despite the spoilers!! (It's one of my treasured favs.)