A 1940’s era archaeological adventure romantic suspense? You bet! After growing up on Indiana Jones, I love this sort of story so I was eager to crack this book open and get going. Not that this one should go through the comparisons because that wouldn’t be fair, but it would be fair to say that it was the reason for my interest.
The story opens in the past with the two main characters meeting up when she save his life just before she is off to college to train for law enforcement and he is going back home to Britain to do his part for the war effort against the rising power of Nazi Germany.
Six years later, Kate Rhodes has all the skills to be a good police officer, but working for her dad and her own impulsiveness get in the way. So it is fortuitous that a mysterious package arrives from her brother who has been on an archaeological dig in Peru. She is worried about his mention of artifact smugglers, but follows his instructions to take the interesting box to their professor friend who specializes in the Incan Civilization. Dr. Charlie shares that it is a map to an Incan treasure and invites Kate to go with him to join Nick’s expedition in Peru.
Kate and Charlie find Nick has disappeared, a wealthy artifact smuggler is aware of Nick’s find and is hot on the trail to find it. Kate is now in his crosshairs and barely escapes his men when she encounters James Fleming doing work for the British government. She is amazed at how confident and skilled he has become and surprised that she is still as attracted as before when she formed a crush after their brief encounter years before. But it is important to her that he see her as a trained and capable partner, too, unlike the way her dad and brother always treat her.
James is taken aback to see young Kate grown up and a capable woman who won’t be pushed aside in the effort to retrieve her brother and go on the hunt for the Incan treasure. James has been undercover working to keep Sorra and the Nazis from acquiring the treasure and using it to fund their war. It is a race to find the clues to finishing the Incan map in the box that Nick found with Charlie translating and Kate and James going to all the locations. The danger is high both from ancient booby traps and from a determined Sorra. And then there are his growing feelings for Kate that challenge his responsibility toward duty so that he can’t possibly act on the attraction with the world on the brink of war.
I enjoyed this story once I adjusted to the author’s writing style. There is a muted quality to it and an abruptness at times. Once I adjusted, I wasn’t as distracted and could appreciate the story better. I loved the excitement of the treasure hunt with the bad guys on their tail. Unlike some books with this type story, the pace wasn’t too feverish. There were moments when things were breathtaking, but for the most part, the reader has time to catch up and stay with the adventuresome group.
I appreciated the conflict in the romance between their knowledge that things cannot be even though they feel the pull. They had chemistry and there were some passionate moments snatched between all the other action times. But what I most like was their partnership and what they both brought to that relationship beyond the romance. Kate is fiery and quick to react. She has skills and is tough, but she is also nervy and lets things get to her. She gets snarky when she is afraid. Then there is James. He is the phlegmatic Brit to a core. He has been trained as an operative and he is good, but he is also one who is cool in the face of deadly danger. Never loses his head and keeps thinking. That is until Kate ends up in the hands of the enemy then the cool, calmness flies out the window.
The archaeological aspect is a strong component with all the clues about the Incan gods and their various cities and temples. Some might find it a little tedious, I found it interesting stuff and particularly when it is laced in with a treasure hunt.
The action with the villains was another strong part of the story. Many times, James and Kate were cornered and it was fun and exciting to see how they would get through it. That last climactic situation with James having to decide Kate’s fate kept me flipping pages fast. Loved the tension of it all.
Fun twist at the end and I hope the adventure continues for this pair.
All in all, after I got into the story, I had a good time on this romantic treasure hunt adventure that I can recommend to those who enjoy similar stuff.
I received a copy of the book through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #29 RS
Literary Pickers #29 archaeological site
New to Me #16 author
Mt. TBR #17