Book buy by larcenous intent

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I popped into the bookstore on my coffee break one day this week and was making a bee-line for the romance section when the title of a book, on the new releases table near the front of the store, caught my eye. My first thought was, ‘What a cool title. I’m going to steal it.’

The title!! Not the book!!

And before anyone raises the hue & cry of plagiarism, the title is: Best Served Cold.

See? Nothing particularly unique; it just struck me the right way. In fact, later on I remembered I had that title down as a possible for a revenge-themed story with a chef hero. So it wasn’t as much intent to steal as it was being reminded…

Anyequivocating, while the cover art wasn’t shaking me up none, I decided to check out the synopsis/blurb:

Springtime in Styria. And that means war. There have been nineteen years of blood.

The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king.

War may be hell but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso's employ, it's a damn good way of making money too. Her victories have made her popular - a shade too popular for her employer's taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain and left for dead, Murcatto's reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance.

Whatever the cost, seven men must die. Her allies include Styria's least reliable drunkard, Styria's most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation.

And that's all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started...

Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.

I’m definitely not on the kick-ass heroine bandwagon (for a multitude of reasons, primarily due to the fact that 99% of KA heroines I’ve encountered in Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romances are written like a gold-plated eff’em and leave’em beyoitchs with a huge chip on their shoulder).

But this is a chick I can get behind.

Someone on Amazon described this book as Tarrantino or Guy Ritchie's version of a fatansy story. Since I love me some Tarrantino/Ritchie, sounds like I made a good pick. but the opening scene was the clincher:

The sunrise was the colour of bad blood. It leaked out of the east and stained the dark sky red, marked the scraps of cloud with stolen gold. Underneath it the road twisted up the mountainside towards the fortress of Fontezarmo—a cluster of sharp towers, ash-black against the wounded heavens. The sunrise was red, black and gold.

The colors of their profession.

“You look especially beautiful this morning, Monza.’

She sighed, as if that was an accident. As if she hadn’t spent an hour preening herself before the mirro. ‘Facts are facts. Stating them isn’t a gift. You only prove you’re not blind.’ She yawned, stretched in her saddle, made him wait a moment longer. ‘But I’ll hear more.’

He noisily cleared his throat and held up one hand, and bad actor preparing for his grand speech. ‘Your hair is like to…. A veil of shimmering sable!’

“You pompous cock. What was it yesterday? A curtain of midnight. I liked that better, it had some poetry to it. Bad poetry, but still.’

‘Shit.’ He squinted up at the clouds. ‘Your eyes, then, gleam like piercing sapphires, beyond price!’

“I’ve got stones in my face, now?’

"I'm waiting," he said.

"For what?"

"My share of the compliments, of course."

"If your head swells any further it'll f*cking burst." She switched her silken cuffs up. "And I don't want your brains on my new shirt."

"Stabbed!" Benna clutched one hand to his chest. "Right here! Is this how you repay my years of devotion, you heartless bitch?"

"How dare you presume to be devoted to me, peasant? You're like a tick devoted to a tiger!"

"Tiger? Hah! When they compare you to an animal they usually pick a snake."

"Better than a maggot."




She could hardly deny that one. Silence settled on them again.
Benna's horse drew gradually up beside hers, and ever so gently he mumured, "You look especially beautiful this morning Monza."

That brought a smile to the corner of her mouth. The corner her couldn't see. "Well. Facts are facts."


I trimmed a bit of setting description here and there for this post, but how could I resist that dialogue? .
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