The Book of Stolen Tales
We meet New York art dealer John Madison, several months after his earlier adventure where he barely escaped with his life and tattered reputation. This time, he’s asked to travel to London to bid at an auction on a rare seventeenth century book of Italian fairy tales, on behalf of a mysterious purchaser. He’s successful but before delivering his purchase, he gives into temptation and opens the book. He’s been forewarned though about the book’s dark history and the dire consequences that might befall him. Foolish man!
It turns out the purchased book is not a series of five within one cover as stated, but only one.Next thing we know he's confronted by a mysterious, perhaps even a bit magical, dark stranger who manages to steal the book. From that point, Madison’s life is filled with fear and anger, as he pursues not only the stolen copy but the other four books also, in order. He travels to Naples, where the writer had lived, to meet the person who consigned the book to auction. Here we’re treated to wonderful historical images and tales of long ago.
He meets up with a mysterious woman who, it turns out, was the actual seller of the books. However, she had stolen them and her life is in danger. Her intermediary is murdered and, she and Madison are forced to evade several pursuers as they continue the chase together.
The Book of Stolen Tales is a weaving of fairy tales, examining the same tale as presented or re-told through the ages, becoming what we loved as children. It’s a tale of strange disease that leads to death and draws the U.S. army into the fray. There are dark and dangerous islands, moments of total terror for the two, and a breath-taking ending.