The Eleventh Commandment  Mary F. Burns

Nearly 150 years have passed since Moses Shapira, an antiquarian book dealer in Jerusalem, up-ended the Victorian world of biblical scholars and archaeologists by declaring he had discovered the earliest Bible text in the world—an original Book of Deuteronomy, which included the Commandments—eleven of them.

     He offered fifteen leather-like fragments to the British Museum for one million pounds—the London papers could talk of nothing else for weeks in the summer of 1883, and Shapira was a celebrity. Experts at the museum pored over the manuscripts and came to a decision: they were forgeries, not the 3000-year-old scrolls that Moses insisted they were. He left London in disgrace.

     Six months later, he was found in a shabby hotel in Rotterdam, a bullet through his head.

     But was it suicide, as the police thought, or was it murder?

     Historical fiction author Mary F. Burns has incorporated Shapira’s story into the fourth book of her series. With a researcher’s attention to detail and a mystery writer’s touch for the human story, Burns has created a masterful suspense story, set in two time periods that start out decades apart and end with the tragedy of Shapira’s death. Her witty and sympathetic amateur sleuths, Sargent and Paget, become involved in the mystery when it literally lands on their doorstep one afternoon in Paris. They are driven to navigate a complicated nest of intrigue, impelled by the tantalizing suggestions that the artifacts were authentic, and their owner murdered.

              ---- More information on the whole series at www.maryfburns.com/booklist.----

"Burns’ prose is sharp and, at times, poetically melancholic; it also admirably avoids providing easy answers to the questions it raises. Overall, it’s an exceedingly intelligent and entertaining novel. A thrilling whodunit and an edifying work of historical fiction."
                                                                                                              --Kirkus Reviews

 

Bruce Quan, Jr.

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Bitter Roots

This is the story of one Chinese family whose ancestors first arrived in America (San Francisco in particular) in the 1850's. It is also an account of survival in the face of fierce anti-Chinese sentiment since the nineteenth century, and the continuing underlying racism pervasive in our own lives to this day.  The symbol on the title page means "Family".

These fact-based stories will enlighten, encourage and inspire whoever reads them--students, historians, Asian-Americans and all other peoples who may recognize themselves or their families in this drama.

Stephanie Cowell

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The Players

In 1564 a boy was born to a middle-class family in the little town of Stratford. Thirty-four years later he would write Hamlet. In between were his carefree yet troubled childhood, his disastrous forced marriage, and his early wild years in London, with the brilliant young writers and actors who were forming the Elizabethan Theater. But even as he was rising to his first successes as a writer, he fell into a passionate, bisexual love affair with his patron and an Italian woman musician that threatened to bring down both his work and his life.

 
 
 
 

Mary F. Burns

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Portraits of an Artist

"An evocative rendering of the great portraitist as seen through the eyes of the subjects of his most famous paintings. A tour de force of historical and psychological imagination." -- Paula Marantz Cohen, What Alice Knew, Jane Austen in Scarsdale

"...the writing is richly subtle and each character exquisitely drawn. One hears murmurs behind doors and the truth just beyond the corner....In the end of this fascinating novel, however, it is the portrait of the young artist himself, still an enigma, which lingers in the reader's mind." -- Stephanie Cowell, Claude & Camille, Marrying Mozart

Mary F. Burns

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Of Ripeness
& The River

Down the dark hill the woman runs, her child bound in a towel tight in her arms. Behind her, flames break through the windows of the house. Ahead, down by the river, men sleeping rough lean into a campfire. She doesn't falter, her feet seek the path. She knows the men will help--the same ones she'd fed at her back door--savory stew and pie, and milk from her red cow. What she doesn't know is that one of them will save her, and give her back her voice.

And her voice will echo over a hundred years of life, war, loss and love...with singing words that shimmer on the surface of two rivers flowing through Time and the Midwestern plains, until Time itself is full and round and ripe--and another young woman hears, and finds her own voice again.