Mark of the Lion (Jade del Cameron Series #1)

( 7 )


After driving an ambulance along the front lines of World War I, she can fire a rifle with deadly precision. Still suffering trauma from the Great War, she sets off for Africa determined to fulfill a man's dying wish...never expecting to become involved in murder.

Rich with romance, mystery, and adventure, Mark of the Lion introduces a fascinating new heroine and explores the elusive heart of a compelling and exotic world.

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Mark of the Lion: A Jade Del Cameron Mystery

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After driving an ambulance along the front lines of World War I, she can fire a rifle with deadly precision. Still suffering trauma from the Great War, she sets off for Africa determined to fulfill a man's dying wish...never expecting to become involved in murder.

Rich with romance, mystery, and adventure, Mark of the Lion introduces a fascinating new heroine and explores the elusive heart of a compelling and exotic world.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Equal parts Isak Dinesen's classic memoir Out of Africa and Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ramotswe saga (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Tears of the Giraffe, et al.), Suzanne Arruda's debut novel is a historical whodunit set predominantly in post-WWI British East Africa that features Jade del Cameron, a tough and adventurous young woman on a dangerous quest to fulfill a dead man's last wish.

As an American student in England who drove an ambulance for the French Army during WWI, del Cameron witnessed innumerable horrors during the conflict -- none more gruesome than watching her lover (an English fighter pilot named David Worthy) get shot out of the skies and then holding him in her arms as he died. Jade vows to accomplish David's last request -- to somehow find his unknown brother -- but she soon realizes that the task won't be as easy as it initially seemed. Her search leads her to Nairobi, where David's father died years earlier in a bizarre animal attack. But as Jade slowly closes in on David's mysterious brother -- and his father's killer -- she also puts herself in harm's way by becoming embroiled in a treacherous plot that includes a malevolent witch, a heroin-smuggling operation, hidden treasure, and cold-blooded murder.

Mark of the Lion is noteworthy in large part because of its cross-genre appeal. The blend of mystery, historical fiction, African travelogue, and unlikely romance make Arruda's debut offering a compelling and striking read. (Safari hat and elephant gun not included!) Paul Goat Allen
From the Publisher
"One of the most memorable mystery adventure stories I've read in a long time." - New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston
"Historical mystery at its best." - Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Angel
"One of the most appealing heroines to appear in the pages of a mystery...Arruda evokes the landscape of colonial Africa beautifully, creates a fine cast of characters, and spins a spine-tingling story." - Library Journal (Starred review)
Publishers Weekly
Set in 1919, Arruda's promising debut introduces a heroine who's no ordinary Gibson girl. An ambulance driver during WWI, Jade del Cameron promises a dying soldier that she'll track down his brother. The only problem is that the soldier's mother, whom Jade goes to visit in London, insists that she had only one son. Jade reasons that the missing brother must have been born to another woman, conceived when the now deceased family patriarch was exploring East Africa. So off she goes to Nairobi, where she mingles with the colonial elite, kills a hyena, learns Swahili, fingers a drug smuggler, romances a man twice her age, uncovers a murder and attracts the attentions of a local witch. The novel's conclusion is a tad predictable, and Arruda's Africa is not quite as captivating as Alexander McCall Smith's (an inevitable comparison). Still, most readers will close this charming book eagerly anticipating the next installment of Jade's adventures. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A driver who developed a taste for adventure while behind the wheel of a Model T ambulance in WWI travels after the war to Africa to fulfill the dying request of her almost-fiance. David Worthy died in Jade del Cameron's arms when his Sopwith Camel crashed during combat with a German Fokker. She's eager to honor his last words: "Find my brother." The only problem is that he doesn't seem to have a brother. Impetuous and courageous, Jade heads off to East Africa, where David's father was improbably killed when a hyena attacked him in his posh hotel room. Once she's in Nairobi, her striking beauty, boldness and sponsorship by an English peer who's the husband of her best friend ingratiate her with the Anglo-Saxon elite, a jungle within the jungle, a mix of enterprising and decadent colonials. Her skills with both rifle (she grew up on a ranch in New Mexico) and automobile, on the other hand, keep her alive in the natural jungle on a hunt for a witch's hyena preying on a small native village. And they stand her in good stead on a safari when lions hunt her and she discovers David's brother and David's father's killer. Arruda's debut is an enjoyable romp through a colorful place and period in which the heroine has a Douglas-Fairbanks-in-a-split-skirt-charm and the mystery serves mostly as an excuse for an early 20th-century Nairobi safari.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451219589
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/5/2006
  • Series: Jade del Cameron Series, #1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 935,133
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne Arruda

Suzanne Arruda, a former zookeeper-turned-science teacher and freelance writer, is the author f several biographies for young adults. She has also published science and nature articles for adults and children and is a regular contributor to a weekly newspaper supplement. An avid hiker and outdoorswoman, she lives in Kansas with her husband, twin sons, and a small menagerie of pets.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2012

    Try it out - I really liked it

    I really like the African setting and the time period, the land, animals, and culture. I also liked the main character, she is smart and strong and likeable. She's ahead of her time and has to deal with not only the African culture, but the culture of the British aristocracy as well. A lot of the characters are pioneers of different sorts. The mystery was good. I will be reading more from this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2007


    I really enjoyed reading this book. The African influence is wonderful, and the book is literally a love song to the animals of Africa. Honestly, the protagonist Jade Del Cameron is sort of a female swashbuckling character, and she comes off as a real hoot of a woman. It's a very refreshing read!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2006

    Very nice tale of Africa

    For those who have traveled to Kenya, this tale will bring back a few memories of places and scenes. I enjoyed the adventure and descriptions of life in colonial Kenya. The one major weakness of the book is Jade's very 21st century PC attitudes which, in my opionion, don't quite work for a woman of her time (the very early 20th century). Just tended to make the main character a little bit goody goody. Otherwise the story kept my interest and was very much enjoyed.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A gem of a historical investigative tale

    In 1919 France, ambulance driver Jade del Cameron is driving towards one of the fronts to evacuate the wounded when she sees a German plane knocked out of the sky she knows the downed plane was piloted by her friend David. She goes to help him, but instead he demands she honor his dying wish that she find his brother he also starts to say that his father¿s death was suspicious, but dies before he can complete the statement................... Jade travels to London to see David¿s mother, who insists that she had only one son. Jade assumes that the sibling must be a half-brother sired by David¿s dad with another woman perhaps when the late father was in East Africa. Feeling it important to accomplish David¿s dying wish, Jade follows the trail to Nairobi. Her stay leads to romance and adventure as she continues to track down the sibling................. Readers will compare this gem of a historical investigative tale to Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ladies Detective Agency thrillers. The story line is cleverly written so that fans will obtain a taste of life at the end of WWI in England and Africa as Jade goes from one escapade to another whether it is human or hyena. This is the start of what looks like to be a long friendship between historical mystery fans and Jade del Cameron............. Harriet Klausner

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    Posted April 7, 2009

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    Posted March 3, 2011

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    Posted August 13, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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