A large golden disk called the Almha was created in Egypt's 18th Dynasty by Kiya the Queen, one of the lesser wives of the Pharaoh Akhenaten. Kiya created the Almha for Akhenaten as an icon of reverence for the sun god Aten. But Nerfertiti, Akhenaten's primary wife, persuaded the Pharaoh to use the Almha as a symbol that would be worshiped in the Pharaoh's name and not Aten's as it was intended. Betrayed by her husband, Kiya took the Almha back and buried it, sure that she would not survive the wrath of both the Pharaoh and Nerfertiti. Kiya decided that the Khamsin would guard the Almha and its hiding place forever. Kiya's lover, the Khamsin's leader Ranefer, held her that night, knowing that it would probably be the last night the two would be together. But not even death could end the powerful love that Kiya and Ranefer shared. They promised that they would one day be reunited again and they will finally live in the peace they both deserve.
It's 1892, centuries later, and Elizabeth Summers has come to Egypt to prove herself. Not only is she an American woman who can do anything a man can do, perhaps even better, but she also knows she can help excavate the important archeological site with the best of the men. While she would love to sketch the different artifacts they find during the excavation, what she really wants to do is dig. Most importantly, she wants to find a certain artifact, the Almha. The Almha is an ancient artifact said to be inscribed with remedies for different respiratory ailments. Her precious grandmother has been sent to a tuberculosis sanatorium and besides Elizabeth's uncle, Nana is her only living relative. Finding the Almha may be Nana's last hope and Elizabeth's last chance to finally save a family member in danger, a prospect that is especially important since she lost her parent's so long ago. Since modern medicine can't seem to cure her, Elizabeth is willing to do whatever it takes to find the Almha-even if that means matching wits with the infuriating Asim, the man who is supervising some of the dig. Asim reminds Elizabeth of another infuriating man, the Khamsin tribal leader Jabari, who tried to make the team of diggers leave the site. Elizabeth begins to feel the same curious attraction to the exasperating Asim that she felt to Jabari. And suddenly the dreams she's been having about being swept away by a dashing desert marauder doesn't seem so far fetched, but very fetching indeed...
Jabari is absolutely furious. As sheikh of the Khamsin warriors, it's his duty and responsibility to protect the Almha. He certainly can't do that if the Englishmen persist in constantly digging in the sand to find any ancient artifacts that are suspiciously close to where the Almha is rumored to be buried. Worried that someone may find the Almha, and knowing that threats of bloodshed have been ignored if the dig isn't abandoned immediately, Jabari decides to go "undercover". As Asim, a common worker, he can keep an eye on what goes on at the site. It should be just that simple, but it isn't. Jabari constantly has to argue with Elizabeth Summers and that is taking up all of his time. Jabari knew during his first encounter with Elizabeth that she was just as infuriating as all of the women he had encountered outside of his tribe. But now being with her every day, Jabari is beginning to be distracted by her more and more. Not only are they sharing stories of their lives but Jabari constantly finds himself attracted to Elizabeth and he can't understand the reason why. He of all people should not want a woman like Elizabeth. But he does...and when Elizabeth commits an unforgivable act, an act that is only punishable by death, Jabari does the only thing he can do-He kidnaps the spirited young woman! Jabari knows that he wants Elizabeth madly but he is unsure of what he is to do with her.until the signs begin to appear. And suddenly all the signs point to the coming of the greatest love Egypt has ever known and no one, not even the strong warrior Jabari or the spirited Elizabeth can fight it.or maybe they don't even want to!
Without a doubt THE FALCON & THE DOVE is the best book I have read this year. It's unbelievable to me that this is a first book by a brand new author! The book is rich with vivid history, it has a terrific, unique storyline and two of the most wonderful, enigmatic characters I've ever read about. The author was able to provide every single aspect needed for a great romance story: the story is unique with a great storyline set in Egypt which isn't typical, meaning that the author was able to really take the reader away for the ride. Ms. Vanak also used some interesting true facts to add to the story, which helped to make everything more realistic and believable, even though the storyline itself has a slightly paranormal feel. It's the mark of true storyteller when you can bring realism into a paranormal story. Then you add in two wonderful characters, interesting secondary characters, humor, romance, adventure, eternal love.you have all the ingredients for the essential romance story that every romance lover must read.
Elizabeth was a wonderful heroine! A spirited, feisty woman who wasn't about to take orders from a man, I really admired her for sticking up for herself when she did but it was good to see her back down sometimes too. Jabari was the hero of the year as far as I'm concerned. He is strong, honorable, and resilient but he also has this sweet soft side that is just so endearing. He is a perfectly drawn hero and I wish that I could find more heroes like him in stories today. For Elizabeth and Jabari, there are many obstacles that they must overcome before they can be together. I don't want to give away too much of the story because I don't want to take away any of the enjoyment that I know you will feel once you read the book. Plus I'm way over my personal paragraph quota, I could go on and on about this book all day! :)
If you are looking for a wonderfully written romance, full of spirit and humor, terrific characters, lush history and a unique setting, you just cannot miss THE FALCON & THE DOVE by Bonnie Vanak. I am so impressed with Ms. Vanak's first offering and I am so looking forward to what she has in store for us in the future. I love books that take you on an exciting, romantic journey and this story is just that. If you are looking for a complete page turner romance, you won't go wrong with THE FALCON & THE DOVE. I just can't recommend it highly enough. So be sure to run out and pick up a copy immediately and settle in to be thoroughly entertained.
Carla Hosom, November 2002
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