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Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters
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Borrower of the Night (1973)

by Elizabeth Peters

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8552810,586 (3.45)30
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This was a decent mystery but I didn't love Vicky the way I love Amelia Peabody. I've heard that the series picks up after this one so I'm definitely up for further reading. ( )
  CCleveland | Nov 27, 2013 |
I hope this isn't representative of Elizabeth Peters' work, 'cause I was looking forward to reading her stuff, but I felt kinda like I was reading a novelised Scooby Doo episode. I suppose it's not that far from Mary Stewart's work, in a way, but the narration just made it feel cartoonish, more than anything else. And I don't think Mary Stewart ever set anything in a gothic sort of castle with ~mysteriously moving~ suits of armour.

Not to mention her protagonists are usually a lot more likeable and don't waffle on about how smart and beautiful they are so much. Some of the narration was fun -- her description of herself as a "bouncing Brunhild" was a pretty perfect way to say it -- but mostly... nah.

So, yeah, I'm not going to read anything more about Vicky Bliss, even if I might try Amelia Peabody. ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Aug 18, 2013 |
So many things about this book bugged me. In fact, I'm struggling to think of what I DID like about this book. I guess the ambiance was nice. Set in an old castle in Germany, all the crawling about in the ruins and discussion of history. I liked that. But...

The characters were not engaging. Our heroine and narrator, Vicky, was a smart, independent woman of un-delicate proportions (her self-description as being a "bouncing Brunhilda" was pretty funny) and competitive spirit. She has declared that she will never marry, but seems to be in some kind of baffling relationship with a fellow professor named Tony. Tony is a total asshat who treats Vicky with disrespect and has an out-of-control ego. Vicky's attitude and actions never make a lot of sense to me. One minute she's cursing Tony and trying to one-up him, the next she is simpering and trying to soothe his ego. The other characters are kind of like white noise - there, but not contributing much.

The mystery was also odd. They were searching for a lost work of art which they happened to read about in a book. Apparently everyone else in the world incidentally read the same book the exact same week because everyone was looking for this thing independently. The art had been lost for 500 years, but this week everyone remembered to look for it.

And the archaeologist in me sobbed at all of their techniques. Trained historians should know better. They're just snatching and grabbing and smashing antiquities right and left. Europeans obviously find the medieval period of little value (the Americans and volunteers were always assigned to the medieval levels on my digs in the Netherlands) but... gah!

And when the heck was this story set, anyway? Telegraphs and kerosene lamps suggest early in the century, but Vicky's wearing pants and working as a professor, so that seems less likely. Germany has zero apparent concern about war, either, which leaves me absolutely lost.

I guess I'll go back to Amelia Peabody. ( )
  Snukes | Jun 14, 2013 |
The story was slow to start, but it got better. Still, I'm glad I started the series with book number two. Would have been nice to have read this before no. 4, since Tony shows up there, but it's not importent for the plot. ( )
  Aelianna | Jun 5, 2013 |
This is the first of the Vicky Bliss series - great narration by Barbara Rosenblat - witty, suspenseful, and a good mix of history. Definitly a good series to recommend. ( )
  jmoncton | Jun 3, 2013 |
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When I was ten years old, I knew I was never going to get married. Not only was I six inches taller than any boy in the fifth grade except Matthew Finch, who was five ten and weighed ninety-eight pounds -- but my IQ was as formidable as my height. It was sixty points higher than that of any of the boys -- except the aforesaid Matthew Finch. I topped him by only thirty points.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380733390, Mass Market Paperback)

Meet art historian Vicky Bliss, She is as beautiful as she is brainy--with unassailable courage, insatiable curiosity, and an expertise in lost museum treasures that often leads her into the most dangerous of situations.

A missing masterwork in wood, the last creation of a master carver who died in the violent tumult of the sixteenth century, may be hidden in a medieval German castle in the town of Rothenburg. The prize has called to Vicky Bliss, drawing her and an arrogant male colleague into the forbidding citadel and its dark secrets. But the treasure hunt soon turns deadly. Here, where the blood of the long forgotten damned stains ancient stones, Vicky must face two equally perilous possibilities. Either a powerful supernatural evil inhabits this place. . .or someone frighteningly real is willing to kill for what Vicky is determined to find.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:51 -0400)

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Vicky Bliss goes in search of a medieval treasure supposedly hidden in a German castle during the Peasants' Rebellion.

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