Friday, December 5, 2008

Legend of the Jewel by Nancy Campbell Allen

"Former Pinkerton spy Isabelle Webb needs a vacation. The broken leg she suffered while trying to warn President Lincoln of his impending assassination has mended a little, but her grief over his death has not. She and her young charge, Sally Rhodes, have an open itinerary when they board a steamer ship to Bombay. But upon meeting Utah blacksmith James Ashby, the two women opt to join the search for his younger brother Phillip, who's traveling abroad with the ill-reputed Thaddeus Sparks in search of a mystical treasure. Upon arrival in India, other passengers are interested in taking up the search. But the seeming good will of some soon turns dark on the streets of Bombay. As murder and kidnapping tears the group apart, James and Isabelle race to uncover the hidden motives and harrowing connections that threaten not only Phillip's life, but also their own."

It took me about twenty pages into the story to realize that this was a spin-off book from N.C. Allen's popular "Faith of our Fathers" series. It has been a few years since I read that series, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and while reading this book it made me want to revisit that series and read up on Isabelle. I've read and enjoyed all of N.C. Allen's books, she always has interesting story ideas. "Legend of the Jewel" was a fun, quick read. It takes place in India right after the Civil War in America ended. I learned a lot about India and its history while reading the book, and thought it was a great setting for a mystery. Isabelle and James and their new relationship is fun to read about. It ends a bit too abruptly, without all the loose ends being tied up. I suppose this was done to better lead into the second book. I liked the story, although it wasn't my favorite of her books.

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