Wings of the Falcon

Wings of the Falcon

by Barbara Michaels

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061835711
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/17/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 184,937
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Elizabeth Peters (writing as Barbara Michaels) was born and brought up in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. Peters was named Grandmaster at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986, Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar® Awards in 1998, and given The Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic in 2003. She lives in an historic farmhouse in western Maryland.

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Wings of the Falcon

Chapter One

Authors who write in the first person cannot expect their readers to be seriously concerned about the survival of the main character. A heroine who can describe her trials and tribulations in carefully chosen phrases obviously lived through those trials without serious damage. Yet I remember being absolutely breathless with suspense when the madwoman entered Miss Jane Eyre's chamber and rent her wedding veil asunder; and I bit my nails to the quick as I followed the perils of Mrs. Radcliffe's haunted heroines.

Not being Miss Brontë or Mrs. Radcliffe, I have no hope of engaging my reader's attention to that extent. Yet some of the experiences that befell me, at a certain period of my life, were as distressing and almost as improbable as any of my favorite heroines' adventures. Perhaps my youth and inexperience made my problems seem worse than they were. But even now, when I am a good many years older (I prefer not to state how many) -- even now a reminiscent shiver passes through me as I remember Lord Shelton, and that dreadful moment when he held me helpless in his grasp, with his breath hot on my averted face and his hands tearing at my gown.

I anticipate. It is necessary to explain how I found myself in such a predicament; and that explanation must incorporate some of my family history.

My father was an artist -- not a very good one, I fear. It is a pity, in a way, that his father was able to leave him a small sum of money, for without it Father would have had to seek gainful employment instead of pursuing the elusive genius of art. His small inheritance was enough to keep him in relative comfort forseveral years, while he traveled on the continent, ending, finally, in that artists' mecca. Rome. To a young man of romantic tastes and ardent spirits, the old capital of the Caesars had many attractions beyond its artistic treasures -- the colorful models who waited for employment on the Spanish Steps, the companionship of other struggling young artists, the wine and laughter and song in the soft Italian nights.

Father was a remarkably good-looking man, even when he was dying. Consumption is not a disfiguring disease. Indeed, that is one of its diabolical qualities, that it should give its victims a ghastly illusion of health and beauty just before the end. Father's slenderness and delicacy of features were intensified by the ravages of the disease. The pallor of his complexion was refined by soft dark hair and lustrous black eyes framed by lashes so long and thick that any woman would have envied them.

Knowing him as he was in his decline, I can imagine how handsome he was at twenty, when he met my mother, and I can understand how he won her heart so quickly. Her family did not find it so easy to understand; for she was the daughter of a noble Italian house. In the ordinary course of events my father would never have met her. A romantic accident threw them together. The carriage in which she was traveling to Rome was delayed by bad weather, and in the darkness was set upon by bandits. Her attendants fled or were overcome: and Father happened upon the scene at the most critical moment, just as the miscreants were dragging the lady from the carriage ...

Wings of the Falcon. Copyright © by Barbara Michaels. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Wings of the Falcon 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Many years ago I read this, and re-read this, and lent it to a cousin who never returned it.It was as good now was before!Italian romance during the time of Garibaldi.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another stellar tale for a master storyteller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great Barbara Michaels gothic novel. Set in Italy, it it is full of suspense, a bit of history and romance. There were a few instances where bits of plot were mentioned but never fleshed out in the rest of the story, but still quite a satisfying and intriguing read.
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grisaille More than 1 year ago
Wings of the Falcon is a departure from Michaels' usual fare: there is no true mystery. Instead, this is more in the vein of Zorro or The Scarlet Pimpernal. It is an exciting historical, with a strong dash of romance. Fans of those two titles, as well as the works of Sabatini and Victoria Holt will love it. Be forewarned, though: the heroine starts out as something of a sheltered dunce, but she quickly grows into a mature young woman who deserves the noble hero by the end of the book.
rosalyn4077 More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Barbara Michaels is an excellent author. There are so many twists and turns and unexpected things that happen, that it makes it extremely interesting. Not to mention her outstanding awareness of atmosphere and details. I love the characters too, they are all strong and well envisioned. I recommend this book 100%