The Necromancer’s Grimoire (Elysium Texts Series)
In 1495, a woman and nine men are riding on a road near Rome. The group includes five Templar Knights. The knights had helped evade a party of French soldiers who sought the woman, Nadira. She sits astride behind an English baron, Montrose. He had rescued her, much earlier, from a life as a Moor slave girl in Barcelona, and wishes to marry her. She is a linguist and also possesses magical and supernatural powers acquired reading the Hermetica: Egyptian-Greek wisdom texts. The group will board a vessel in Naples for Istanbul. Although Montrose and the Templars journey together, they have separate agendas and demands of Nadira. The Templars wish to exploit Nadira’s abilities in recovering their lost treasure. In Istanbul, they plan to reacquire a Grimoire – stolen from their Order about 200 years ago – whose power is being used by the sultan’s necromancer, Farshad, to raise the dead. Thus, they want Nadira to “use its spells to harrow hell” and bring back one of their deceased colleagues who knows where the treasure is stashed. Montrose is traveling in search of and to punish his dead brother’s murderer. He wants Nadira to accompany him to Istanbul. However, the Turks also desire Nadira, and the Templars have other secret objectives (to preclude more Christian-Muslim bloodshed).
Although this is book two of a series, Annemarie Banks has weaved the backstory seamlessly to enable a standalone reading. The novel is an exotic blend of historical fiction, romance and fantasy. It is full of surprises. Nadira’s use of her energies and her clashes with Farshad will thrill lovers of fantasy. While the romance is presented delicately, it binds the story. The ending paves the way to the next book, wherein Nadira will attempt to replicate Goddess Isis’s action. Highly recommended.