SHADOW AND SILK
by Ann Maxwell

January 1997
ISBN: 0-8217-7331-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback
Rating:



Professor Danielle Warren is an academician. An expert on antique textiles, her field trips take her to unusual places, but surely none so alien as Lhasa in Chinese-occupied Tibet. A moment’s conversation in a darkened market place sets Dani’s feet on the path to danger, adventure and romance, but she isn’t aware of any of them as she grasps a strong hand and allows herself to be rescued from a sniper’s bullet.


Ex-mercenary Shane Crowe is extremely good at what he does. And at that moment, what he does is make a choice – save the woman or save a priceless piece of antique silk! Luckily for us, he chooses Dani! Shane is a top ranked operative for Risk Unlimited, a small but mercilessly efficient organization, operating independently, that “takes care of” things! Things like guarding a national treasure – like a certain piece of antique silk. The fact that it was stolen on Shane’s watch has made him very unhappy. Shane and Dani are thrust into the dangerous world of high crime and stolen artifacts and before you can say “international intrigue” this book is off and running!!


Whether writing as Elizabeth Lowell or Ann Maxwell, this writer’s style is very distinct. Her research and the abundant information she relates to the reader through her stories, is of a uniquely high caliber. Her romantic suspense tales always leave her audience with an increased knowledge of the subject matter, whether it is precious gems (the Donovan series) or the antique textiles featured here. The lectures are subtly woven into the framework of an exciting romantic adventure – maybe textbook authors should take note! Unlike her Donovan books, however, the romance between Shane and Dani is a gentle, growing thing. Both are cautious; Shane has an esoteric past, which includes savagery and mysticism. Dani has put a bad marriage behind her; they both have a long way to go before they can act on the obvious tension between them.


But the adventure is spellbinding, and it’s a pleasure to go along for the ride as Dani and Shane outwit the worst of villains and thwart a major criminal venture. The secondary characters are wonderful; I couldn’t help wondering if there’s another book out there that might feature some of them – I’ll have to check! The level of polish on this novel tells me that Ann Maxwell is very comfortable with her writing abilities; she smoothly handles plot twists, intricate relationships, diverse characterizations and boundless information with the deft skills of a seasoned juggler. We are shamelessly lured by the adventure, and we dash headlong into it, alongside Dani and Shane. If you are in the mood for a cracklingly good suspense story with a nice helping of romance, then this is definitely a book you should try!


Reviewed in April 2002 by Celia.

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