Amanda by Kay Hooper | Paperback | Barnes & Noble


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by Kay Hooper

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A spellbinding tale of contemporary suspense that begins with a mysterious homecoming and ends in a shattering explosion of passion, greed, and murder. And all because a stranger says her name is... Amanda.

Others have claimed to be Amanda Daulton, but now a beautiful, self-assured woman has stepped out of the shadows of the past, insisting she's the missing


A spellbinding tale of contemporary suspense that begins with a mysterious homecoming and ends in a shattering explosion of passion, greed, and murder. And all because a stranger says her name is... Amanda.

Others have claimed to be Amanda Daulton, but now a beautiful, self-assured woman has stepped out of the shadows of the past, insisting she's the missing heiress to a multimillion-dollar fortune. One look is all it takes to assure the family patriarch that she's his beloved granddaughter. But others at the magnificent Southern mansion called Glory are not as easily convinced, others with much to lose from her sudden reappearance. Soon suspicion erupts in a chilling attempt on her life, and after the traumatic ordeal, she begins to have flashes of a nightmarish vision. What, if anything, happened twenty years ago to drive a mother and her nine-year-old daughter away from their privileged life? The struggle to find the elusive answer exposes a frightening trail of secrets—a trail that leads shockingly to the present and to the enigmatic woman who calls herself... Amanda.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Don't miss a story that will keep your reading light on until well into the night."
—Catherine Coulter

"Amanda seethes and sizzles. A fast-paced, atmospheric tale that vibrates with tension, passion, and mystery. Readers will devour it."
—Jayne Ann Krentz

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The return of a long-missing heiress has deadly consequences in Hooper's latest. (Sept.)
Library Journal
SF writer Dann (The Man Who Melted, LJ 11/15/84) offers a fascinating fictionalized account of several years in the life of Leonardo da Vinci. The novel opens in Florence, where Leonardo is in love with the beautiful Ginerva de'Benci, the daughter of a wealthy merchant and the inspiration for his paintings. Leonardo and his friends, Sandro Botticelli and Niccolo Machiavelli, come across as real people living in 15th-century Florence, and the reader is drawn into court intrigues and daily Florentine life. After Ginerva is found raped and murdered and Leonardo is accused of sodomy, the action switches to Persia. Forced to leave his homeland, Leonardo becomes an engineer for the caliph, for whom his creative imagination devises inventions of destruction in the war against the Turks. This part of the novel is not as compelling as the first part. The battle scenes at times seem interminable, and the descriptions of torture and beheadings are rampant. However, the reader experiences Leonardo's excitement with the creative process and his obsession with designing a flying machine. A mixed success, then; for general collections.-Stephanie Furtsch, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
Roland Green
The latest addition to large-scale alternative history postulates that Leonardo da Vinci spent 148286 (a lacuna in his actual biography) in Syria, where he built for a local potentate most of the marvelous military devices now found only in his notebooks. That situation, as Dann presents it, poses a moral dilemma for Leonardo, for the untrammeled exercise of his ingenuity makes war bloodier than ever. Whether Dann really needs 496 pages to arrange and work out Leonardo's quandary is questionable. Still, they are well-researched and well-phrased pages that bring the world of the Renaissance Mediterranean vividly to life, and Leonardo da Vinci is, of course, a protagonist fit to carry any book, provided it is executed by skilled-enough hands. Dann's hands are such, thanks to many years' labor in the fantasy and sf vineyards.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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4.15(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Thunder rolled and boomed, echoing, the way it did when a storm came over the mountains on a hot night, and the wind-driven rain lashed the trees and furiously pelted the windowpanes of the big house.  The nine-year-old girl shivered, her cotton nightgown soaked and clinging to her, and her slight body was stiff as she stood in the center of the dark bedroom.

"Mama— "

"Shhhh! Don't, baby, don't make any noise.  Just stand there, very still, and wait for me."

They called her baby often, her mother, her father, because she'd been so difficult to conceive and was so cherished once they had her.  So beloved. That was why they had named her Amanda, her father had explained, lifting her up to ride upon his broad shoulders, because she was so perfect and so worthy of their love.

She didn't feel perfect now.  She felt cold and emptied out and dreadfully afraid.  And the sound of her mother's voice, so thin and desperate, frightened Amanda even more.  The bottom had fallen out of her world so suddenly that she was still numbly bewildered and broken, and her big gray eyes followed her mother with the piteous dread of one who had lost everything except a last, fragile, unspeakably precious tie to what had been.

Whispering between rumbles of thunder, she asked, "Mama, where will we go?"

"Away, far away, baby." The only illumination in the bedroom was provided by angry nature as lightning split the stormy sky outside, and Christine Daulton used the flashes to guide her in stuffing clothes into an old canvas duffel bag.  She dared not turn on any lights, and the need to hurry was so fierce it nearly strangled her.

She hadn't room for them, but pushed her journals into the bag as well because she had to have something of this place to take with her, and something of her life with Brian.  Oh, dear God, Brian...She raked a handful of jewelry from the box on the dresser, tasting blood because she was biting her bottom lip to keep herself from screaming.  There was no time, no time, she had to get Amanda away from here.

"Wait here," she told her daughter.

"No! Mama, please—"

"Shhhh! All right, Amanda, come with me—but you have to be quiet." Moments later, down the hall in her daughter's room, Christine fumbled for more clothing and thrust it into the bulging bag.  She helped the silent, trembling girl into dry clothing, faded jeans and a tee shirt.  "Shoes?"

Amanda found a pair of dirty sneakers and shoved her feet into them.  Her mother grasped her hand and led her from the room, both of them consciously tiptoeing.  Then, at the head of the stairs, Amanda suddenly let out a moan of anguish and tried to pull her hand free.  "Oh, I can't— "

"Shhhh," Christine warned urgently.  "Amanda—"

Even whispering, Amanda's voice held a desperate intensity.  "Mama, please, Mama, I have to get something—I can't leave it here, please, Mama—it'll only take a second—"

She had no idea what could be so precious to her daughter, but Christine wasn't about to drag her down the stairs in this state of wild agitation.  The child was already in shock, a breath away from absolute hysteria.  "All right, but hurry.  And be quiet."

As swift and silent as a shadow, Amanda darted back down the hallway and vanished into her bedroom.  She reappeared less than a minute later, shoving something into the front pocket of her jeans.  Christine didn't pause to find out what was so important that Amanda couldn't bear to leave it behind; she simply grabbed her daughter's free hand and continued down the stairs.

The grandfather clock on the landing whirred and bonged a moment before they reached it, announcing in sonorous tones that it was two A.M.  The sound was too familiar to startle either of them, and they hurried on without pause.  The front door was still open, as they'd left it, and Christine didn't bother to pull it shut behind them as they went through to the wide porch.

The wind had blown rain halfway over the porch to the door, and Amanda dimly heard her shoes squeak on the wet stone.  Then she ducked her head against the rain and stuck close to her mother as they raced for the car parked several yards away.  By the time she was sitting in the front seat watching her mother fumble with the keys, Amanda was soaked again, and shivering despite a temperature in the seventies.

The car's engine coughed to life, and its headlights stabbed through the darkness and sheeting rain to illuminate the gravelled driveway.  Amanda turned her head to the side as the car jolted toward the paved road, and she caught her breath when she saw a light bobbing far away between the house and the stables, as if someone was running with a flashlight.  Running toward the car that, even then, turned onto the paved road and picked up speed as it left the house behind.

Quickly, Amanda turned her gaze forward again, rubbing her cold hands together, swallowing hard as sickness rose in her aching throat.  "Mama? We can't come back, can we? We can't ever come back?"

The tears running down her ashen cheeks almost but not quite blinding her, Christine Daulton replied, "No, Amanda.  We can't ever come back."

What People are saying about this

Iris Johansen
Amanda combines sensuality, high suspense, and plot twists that keep the book spinning at a breathless pace -- a real page-turner.
Catherine Coulter
Don't miss a story that will keep your reading light on until well into the night.
Tami Hoag
Compelling characters in a story that draws you in from the first line. Kay Hooper is a master storyteller.

Meet the Author

Kay Hooper, who has more than six million copies of her books in print worldwide, has won numerous awards and high praise for her novels. Kay lives in North Carolina, where she is currently working on her next novel.

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