17 January 2015

The Prince by Sylvain Reynard

 The unveiling of a set of priceless illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy at the Uffizi Gallery exposes the unsuspecting Professor Gabriel Emerson and his beloved wife, Julianne, to a mysterious and dangerous enemy.

Unbeknownst to the Professor, the illustrations he secretly acquired years ago were stolen a century earlier from the ruler of Florence’s underworld. Now one of the most dangerous beings in Italy is determined to reclaim his prized artwork and exact revenge on the Emersons, but not before he uncovers something disturbing about Julianne …

Set in the city of Florence, “The Prince” is a prequel novella to “The Raven,” which is the first book in the new Florentine Series Trilogy by Sylvain Reynard.

“The Prince” can be read as a standalone but readers of The Gabriel Series may be curious about the connection between The Professor’s world and the dark, secret underworld of “The Prince.”
Sylvain Reynard has such a poetic literary voice.  Seriously, these books are a step above the norm for me.  They encapsulate art and sex and mystery and love and they seem to do it on a much deeper level than just through the telling of a story. These books seem to have an aura all their own.
This is a novella that is meant to serve as a bridge between the world of Gabriel’s Inferno and the world created in the new Florentine series.  It is a novella, but doesn’t read like one.  In this book, Gabriel and Julianne are in Florence for the unveiling of illustrations from Dante’s “Divine Comedy” at the Uffizi Gallery.  Turns out that these illustrations were stolen more than a century before from the Prince of Florence’s underworld…so they will come at a price.  A price to Gabriel, a price to Julianne…all to exact revenge for past wrongs.
This book surprised me.  It has a bit of a paranormal flare that I really wasn’t expecting from this author.  The way that the two backstories of this book are interwoven to create a cohesive story is utterly impressive.  Makes me feel smarter just having read it, honestly.  I think it takes a lot of talent to create a story at this level and have there be no plot holes.  And what’s REALLY impressive is that this is just the introductory novella!  Bring me the first full length novel…like yesterday!
This story is storytelling at its best in my humble opinion.  Gabriel is intense, as always, and the way the story is told is so poetic and beautiful and intriguing and immersing…it’s wonderful.  5 stars.
The Prince is an intense introduction to Mr. Reynard’s new paranormal romance series, The Florentine, which also overlaps with his Gabriel’s Inferno series. Although I have yet to read the final book in the Gabriel’s Inferno series, I didn’t feel as though there was any information revealed in The Prince that would serve as a spoiler for Gabriel’s Redemption. On the contrary, it merely served to stoke a strong desire within me to buy the book so that I can spend some more time with Gabriel and Julianne because while The Prince may find Professor Emerson to be insufferable, I do not.

Because The Prince is a cross-over novella, there are two storylines playing out. The first involves a set of Botticelli illustrations that the professor owns, illustrations that were stolen from The Prince over a century ago, illustrations that The Prince wants back and is willing to kill for. No, not willing to kill for, but rather he intends to kill for. During these parts of the novella, fans of the Gabriel’s Inferno series get to catch up with the couple – presumably after the third book – and see how their relationship continues to move forward. This storyline – The Prince’s revenge – does not play out in its entirety and fans must read The Raven to learn more.

The other storyline is actually the introduction of Florence’s otherworldly underworld and its ruler, The Prince (and yes, that is the only name by which he is referred to or addressed as in the book). While it is clear that The Prince is not human, the book never comes out and states exactly what he is. That said, all hints, clues and innuendos point to him being a vampire and apparently a very old one at that. After a terribly executed and failed assassination attempt on his “life,” The Prince must prepare for war… And thus the stage is set for The Florentine series and my countdown to the release of The Raven begins.
 In the distance, the Prince could hear voices and muffled sounds.
He approached silently, almost floating across the floor.
Desperate groans and the rustling of fabric filled his ears, along with the twin sounds of rapidly beating hearts. He could smell their scents, the aromas heightened due to their sexual arousal.
He growled in reaction.
The corridor was shrouded in darkness but the Prince could see that the professor had his wife up against a window between two statues, her legs wrapped around his waist.
Her voice was breathy as she spoke, but the Prince tuned out her words, moving closer so he could catch a glimpse of her lovely face.
At the sight of it, flushed with passion, his old heart quickened and he felt the stirrings of arousal.
It was not his custom to observe rather than participate. But on this occasion, he decided to make an exception. Careful to remain in the darkness, he moved to the wall opposite the couple.
The woman squirmed in her lover’s arms, her high heels catching on his tuxedo jacket. Her fingers flew to his neck, undoing his bow tie and tossing it carelessly to the floor.
She unbuttoned his shirt, and her mouth moved to his chest, as murmurs of pleasure escaped his lips.
The Prince felt more than desire as he watched the woman’s eager movements. He caught a glimpse of her exquisite mouth and the toss of her long hair that would no doubt feel like silk between his fingers.
She lifted her head to smile at the man who held her close and he could see love in her eyes.


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