The King's Gold
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The King's Gold

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by Yxta Maya Murray

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One look at the centuries-old document she receives from a mysterious stranger is all it takes to plunge Lola Sanchez—a brilliant bibliophile and owner of the Red Lion bookshop—into the adventure of an already adventurous lifetime. The ancient writings tell of a stolen fortune in Montezuma's gold—and of the thief's transformation from


One look at the centuries-old document she receives from a mysterious stranger is all it takes to plunge Lola Sanchez—a brilliant bibliophile and owner of the Red Lion bookshop—into the adventure of an already adventurous lifetime. The ancient writings tell of a stolen fortune in Montezuma's gold—and of the thief's transformation from conquistatore to alchemist . . . to werewolf.

Riches beyond imagining possibly await the stalwart globe-trotter who can solve the intricate riddles hidden in the artifact's crumbling pages. But a deadly curse is buried there as well. On a dangerous quest through the dark shadows of history, Lola and her dashing companion, Eric, will have to unravel the twisted strands of her own family's fantastical past—and stay a step ahead of the villainous treasure hunters who would eagerly kill for the secrets she possesses and the Aztec gold she seeks.

Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
“A romp like this, of course, is only as good as its characters and Murray draws ehavily on the lively cast she introduced in The Queen Jade...Murray does a pretty nifty job of pulling it all together at the end....”
Clare Clark
The King's Gold is an exuberant confection of exploits, as thrilling as they are far-fetched, a page-turner of serpentine plot twists and tongue-in-cheek wit. Lola Sanchez is a female Indiana Jones, a thoroughly 21st-century heroine who combines boldness and brilliance with a wry awareness of the cliches of the adventure genre and a nice, self-deprecating humor…an irresistible blend of crime caper, 16th-century legend and the traumas of wedding planning set against the backdrop of Italy's most famous antiquities. But, while the plot moves at a cracking pace, it's the sparkling interplay between these larger-than-life characters that lends the novel such verve and originality.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Law professor Murray continues her Red Lion series (following The Queen Jade) with a death-defying treasure hunt that transforms her "sedentary, word-mad bibliophile" heroine into "a genuine biblio-adventurer." When a stranger approaches Lola Sanchez, a Long Beach, Calif., bookshop owner and the daughter of legendary archeologist and old-fashioned pulp hero Tomas de la Rosa, with a centuries-old letter offering clues to the location of Montezuma's lost gold, she can't resist the lure-especially when told that her father died while searching for the treasure. Assisted by her half-sister, fiancé, mother and stepfather, Lola follows the clues in "a suicidal treasure hunt" that leads across Italy and to some of history's most iconic sites. The characters are unique and memorable, the action fast-paced, the plot serpentine and the riddles challenging in this entertaining adventure. In heroine Sanchez, Murray has created a perfect counterweight to the traditional macho hero. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Murray (The Conquest) delivers an exceptional sequel to The Queen Jadethat offers not only the hope of many future adventures in her "Red Lion" series but also a cast of impassioned, scholarly, and culturally proud Latinos. Bookstore owner and inadvertent adventurer Lola Sanchez is less than two weeks from her wedding to archaeologist Erik Gomara when a stranger approaches her with a Medici document that he claims reveals an Italian cache of Montezuma's gold. The stranger "abducts" Lola to Florence to solve the Medici riddle and to guide him to the booty. Racing after them, Gomara joins a treasure hunt 400 years in the making. Murray's novel is exquisitely researched and entices the reader to book a literary tour of the regions covered, but at the same time, she never loosens her grip on the adventure. Family dynamics play heavily here as a host of characters from the first novel return. The big reveal is unexpected and clever. We should eagerly await the next book in the series. Recommended for most popular fiction collections.
—Laura A.B. Cifelli Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Red Lion Series, #2
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

The King's Gold
An Old World Novel of Adventure

Chapter One

I first realized that I was changing from a sedentary, word-mad bibliophile into a genuine biblio-adventurer on the Sunday evening a dark and dangerous man showed me that priceless piece of treasure.

It was a bright warm June in Long Beach, in 2001, the year of our Lord Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in the moments before I was to lay my hot hands on this prodigy. At seven p.m., the California sky loomed clear, sapphire, cloudless; down below, the city's shining boulevards teemed with slim-limbed soccer players and beach sylphs. Despite the example set by this rabble of healthy humanity, however, I had ensconced myself in my scrumptiously tome-spangled adventure-and-fantasy bookshop, the Red Lion.

I, Lola Sanchez, am small, tawny, librarianish, and blessed with extravagant Maya bones. Ox-eyed, tiny-busted, with nice, sturdy legs, I will also allow that I looked particularly fetching on this night, as I had dressed in a hand-sewn violet gown designed after the description of priestess robes in The Mists of Avalon. After checking my cell phone for "texts," I dusted a little, admiring the sparks shed by my wee diamond engagement ring. I then plumped the plush red-wine-colored leather chairs that waited for the fundaments of Sherlock Holmes fans and the devotees of Bram Stoker. By these thrones stood a small cherrywood table upon which I had placed a heavy lead-crystal decanter of sherry and a plate of homemade Gruyère puffs. Richly colored kilim rugs, imported from the black sands of Arabia, glimmered on the oak floor. All of this lavish scenery set the stage forthe real stars of the store, which of course were the books. My splendid first-edition octavos and fabulously grotty pulps towered in their cherry shelves, their covers illustrated with square-jawed portraits of "dark horse" adventurers—Allan Quatermain, "Indy" Jones, Dirk Pitt, Professor Challenger, Gabriel Van Helsing.

I stocked my shop with such an old-fashioned collection because I have a personal weakness for these sorts of knuckle-dragging raiders. I'm intrigued by pulp heroes because my biological father happened to be one such dinosaur. Not that I'd ever met the man. Nor, I thought, would I probably have liked him if I did, as he apparently had been a hateful brute, and nothing like my adopted father, a gentle neurasthenic to whom I am slavishly devoted. Nevertheless, like many others of my generation (in 2001 I was thirty-three) I was born to a departed, prodigal dad. Instead of popping Xanax, I simply tended to linger over my King Solomon's Mines and my Lost Worlds a bit too much, like a strange readerly version of Antigone.

And yet all my fan-girldom did not prepare me for that trio of X-Men-looking boys who suddenly came rap, rap, rapping at my glass door!

"Hello? Ms. de la Rosa?"

The three strangers stood right below the Red Lion's sign. Through the door's glass window I could see that the first fellow was light-haired and thick as an ox. The second was red-haired and fox-wiry. The third man regarded me with such dark and dramatic intensity he seemed to blot out the other two as if by eclipse, and I noticed also that he held a small, silk-wrapped parcel in his strong-looking hands.

This Third Man dressed with a Londoner's restraint, wearing a rich black three-piece suit, but he had glowing eyes that are meant to transfix women from behind a silk vizard-mask. His face had sharp cheekbones and swarthy skin; his hair was short and black and soft. His brow brooded in a sardonic mood that matched the curl of his mouth.

He, and his friends, came in.

"May I help you?" I asked, the standard question.

"Yes, I believe you may," he answered in Spanish, with an accent that I recognized immediately as Guatemalan.

"We sell adventure and fantasy books here," I said automatically, switching tongues. "Used editions, mainly. That is, used, but first to seventh editions in spectacular condition—"

He rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "I have no interest in fiction. The business that draws me to this store tonight is of a much more . . . practical nature than that of fantasy."

A cold finger seemed to touch my heart when he said that.

"Oh—pretty ring." He glanced down at the diamond-glow wavering above my knuckle. "But . . . enough with the pleasantries! Let's get right to business, shall we?" He held up the parcel so that its white wrapping caught the lamplight, rustling the papers inside a little, and this did snag my attention. "For I've traveled such a very long way to see you."

"From where, Mr. . . . ?"

"My name is Marco. And I've been everyplace . . . Prague . . . Zurich . . . lately, Florence and—Antigua."

"Yes, your accent is Guatemalan. My sister's from there, so, I'm familiar—"

"And your father as well, no?"

I folded my hands in front of me. "I'm sorry—do you know my family?"

"Everyone knows your family," he said smoothly as he walked around the store, looking at the books with more than a little interest. "That's why I'm here. I just happened to come into the possession of a very interesting document—a sort of puzzle, you might say. Really intriguing, as it may involve money. A great deal of it, Miss de la Rosa."

"Actually, my name is Sanchez. Lola Sanchez."

"Ah, sorry." He gestured with the hand carrying the parcel, so that it dangled in front of me, like a bright fishhook or a mesmeric charm. "But you are related to Tomas de la Rosa, no? The great—but dead—archaeologist? And—more famously—the war hero? If you're not a de la Rosa, please excuse me, I seem to have made some mistake, and though I would always like to remain in the company of an attractive woman such as yourself, I am on a schedule and would have to take my leave."

"Oh! Agh! We couldn't have that," I exclaimed, quite stupidly flattered.

The King's Gold
An Old World Novel of Adventure
. Copyright © by Yxta Maya Murray. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Yxta Maya Murray is the author of The Conquest—winner of the Whiting Award—and The King's Gold, the second novel in her acclaimed Red Lion series. She is a professor at Loyola Law School and lives in Los Angeles.

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King's Gold 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really miss Lena.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I guess im here to say good bye. And nice knowing you. And i hope you liked knowing me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No tht it i summer 12:00a.m. opur time11:00p.m. my time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For those that like adventure stories with lots of twists and turns (with a lot of fantasy thrown in), this might very well be their ticket. Easy-to-read, an intriguing plot and far-out characters make this book a great diversion. But if you like realism, this book is NOT for you!!