From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel Trilogy, Sylvain Reynard, comes The Raven, the first in a suspenseful new paranormal romance series.
Raven Wood spends her days at Florence's Uffizi gallery restoring Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attackers' screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her… Cassita vulneratus.
When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. Upon returning to the Uffizi, no one recognises her. More disturbingly, she discovers that she's been absent an entire week. With no recollection of her disappearance, Raven learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history – the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the police identify her as their prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence's wealthiest and most elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets…
Descend into a world of secrets and seduction in the start of a new series from Sylvain Reynard.
Sylvain Reynard is the New York Times bestselling author of Gabriel's Rapture and Gabriel's Inferno and a semifinalist for Best Author in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards. He lives in Canada.
Author: Sylvain Reynard
Question: What inspired the idea behind The Raven?
Sylvain Reynard: The Raven was inspired by the city of Florence and its famous Uffizi Gallery. Florence is beautiful, even at night. But it's a city of dark alleys and an even darker history. I've often wondered what lurked in the shadows. My new series enabled me to answer that question.
Question: What can you tell us about this new series?
Sylvain Reynard: The Florentine series is a paranormal love story that begins with The Prince, which is a prequel novella. In it, readers are introduced to the secret underworld of Florence and the creatures that inhabit it. Readers are also introduced to Gabriel Emerson and his wife, Julianne, who were the main characters in my Gabriel Series Trilogy. Gabriel has something the Prince of Florence wants. And the Prince will stop at nothing to get it.
In The Raven, which is the first novel in the series, we are introduced to Raven Wood, who restores paintings at the Uffizi. After the Gallery is robbed of a series of illustrations, she becomes a suspect. Her effort to clear her name leads her to a mysterious art patron, who doesn't want to be found – an art patron readers encountered briefly in Gabriel's Redemption.
Question: What was the best part about creating the character of Raven Wood?
Sylvain Reynard: Raven is a true gift of imagination. I saw her in my mind's eye fully formed. She's intelligent and gifted, she's compassionate and courageous, and her beauty is unconventional. She needed to be a strong character in order to balance the strength of the male lead. Their confrontations were a lot of fun to write.
Question: Are the characters based on anyone you know?
Sylvain Reynard: The characters are works of fiction, although several of them are similar to persons I've met over the years. Without giving a spoiler, I'll say that at least one character is a historical figure.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Sylvain Reynard: The Florentine series derives most of its inspiration from the city and its history. The novels are fictional, but certainly my experiences shape my writing. I've always been fascinated by Botticelli's 'Primavera," for example. In The Raven, I explore the history of the painting and I give it a fictionalized twist.
Question: What's next, for the series?
Sylvain Reynard: The Florentine Series will have four volumes. The Prince and The Raven have already been published. I'm finishing the sequel now and after that, I'll write the final volume. There will be a few surprises in the sequel and readers will learn more about the Prince's powerful enemies as he tries to protect his city and its inhabitants.
Interview by Brooke Hunter