Madelynne Ellis is a talented writer who clearly takes her work seriously. The depth of research she has employed for Passion of Isis is apparent throughout the novel. More than just knowing about the geography and location she also displays a broad understanding of the politics of architectural digs, the unglamorous labour involved and the reality of searching for treasure and finding old junk. And none of these details detract from the splendour of her description or the thrilling and arousing narrative.
The story glides smoothly forward from the first page, introducing ambitious young Adie Hamilton who wants to make a name for herself in Egyptology by locating the discovery of a lifetime.
We meet Adie as she overhears the details of an opportunity to work on a dig at Saqqara and labour under the eminent Egyptologist Killian Carmichael. For someone with Adie’s aspirations this is a dream come true and she plays a heavy hand forcing a cherished employer to put her forward for the vacancy.
Warnings about the danger of working with Carmichael hold little sway with the strong-willed Adie. Reminders that she will be the lowliest member of the team, and expected to do all the menial chores, have little influence. She is an unstoppable force in pursuit of her goal and determined to dirty her hands in Egypt’s historically rich soil.
Consequently, Adie is enlisted as a member of Carmichael’s team and her adventure begins.
But Madelynne Ellis is a strict mistress when it comes to delivering her storyline. She teases us with details about Adie, shows us that our protagonist is confident with her sexuality and relatively uninhibited, and makes us want to learn more.
And then the story moves onto the machinations of its principle antagonist: Dareth Sadler. Dareth is surprisingly likeable for a villain, a sexist, self-serving opportunist who is also headed toward Saqqara. Armed with good looks, too much charisma, and an enviable absence of morals, he is one of those characters who could have dominated the entire book if it had been written by someone with less discipline than Madelynne.
The Egypt in Passion of Isis is not a gold-tinted land of fairytale Pharaohs: it’s a very realistic world where the excavation work is demanding, the natives are potentially hostile, and the chances of finding genuine treasure are pragmatically described as “unlikely.”
And Adie makes for the unlikely heroine of a romantic story as she repeatedly lets her libido rule her actions even though her heart is committed early on in the tale to a character who appears too cold, self-involved and kinky to be a suitable match.
Peripheral characters are not neglected as Madelynne clashes Adie’s acerbic personality against lovers and colleagues and heroes and villains. And the story is built to a tense and exciting climax that is perfectly executed.
Black Lace books are renowned for producing quality writing from quality authors and this title is no exception. For anyone who likes their fiction intelligent, compelling and arousing, this latest release from the gifted pen of Madelynne Ellis is a must-read. Her descriptions are fluid and vivid; her characters reach beyond the page; and each erotic episode is brought to life with a memorable style. The Passion of Isis is a fantastic follow-up tale from the author of A Gentleman’s Wager and should make every reader hungry for her next book.
Go out there, buy the book, and make the discovery for yourself.
© 2006 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.