A Most Extraordinary Pursuit

Written by Juliana Gray
Review by Diane Scott Lewis

At the death of the Duke of Olympia in 1906 England, his personal secretary, the steadfast Miss Emmeline Truelove, is commanded by the duchess to travel to Greece and locate the duke’s missing heir. Emmeline is shocked, especially when her traveling companion will be Lord Silverton, a well-known dissolute rake. Max Haywood, the deceased duke’s grandnephew and heir, was pursuing his passion for archeology on the island of Crete when he disappeared.

Emmeline sets off, voyaging on the duke’s steamship to Athens to begin her quest. Silverton is charming, and amusing, but she has scruples, and brushes off his offer of friendship. They reach Crete, and then find one of their contacts has been murdered. A mystery surrounds Haywood’s dealings at the ruins of Knossos that involves the myth of the Minotaur and the Maze. Emmeline discovers her simple search has turned into a dangerous mission where her life is threatened. She also comes to know the debauched Silverton, who is not who he seems to be.

The ending is in the realm of the paranormal. I wondered why an English duke holds the title of “Olympia,” a Greek word. The ghost of Queen Victoria (a woman she never knew) frequently appears to Emmeline to scold her over her actions—an unnecessary plot device.

Besides this, the novel is a rollicking adventure full of bright, humorous banter between the two protagonists. I thoroughly enjoyed it and understand it’s the beginning of a series. Miss Emmeline Truelove is a worthy heroine, and I hope the incorrigible Silverton will also appear in future stories. Recommended.