Title: The Dragon’s Wing Enigma
Author: N.S. Wikarski
Format: Paperback and eBook
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
Series: Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mysteries # 3
Best Read in Order: Helpful
Purchase Now: Amazon § Barnes&Noble
About the Book:
Cassie Forsythe’s checkered resume never included the job of babysitter. Former college freshman, yes. Amateur relic hunter, certainly. Seer for a secret organization, absolutely. But babysitter? Not likely! Cassie is packing for the next leg of a treasure hunt to recover a mythological artifact known as the Sage Stone when trouble comes knocking at her door. Trouble takes the form of fourteen year old runaway Hannah Curtis. Hannah isn’t your average teenager. She happens to be the youngest wife of aged polygamist Abraham Metcalf. Metcalf leads the religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim and he covets the Sage Stone for himself.
Hannah’s untimely arrival creates a predicament for Cassie. The Nephilim isn’t supposed to know that anyone else is hunting the Sage Stone. More than that, the cult must never discover the existence of the Arkana – the secret society for which Cassie works. The Arkana has spent centuries recovering artifacts of ancient civilizations which predate patriarchy–advanced goddess-worshipping cultures on every continent. Their archaeological troves document the lost history of the world and need to be protected at all costs. Unfortunately, Hannah could lead the cult straight to the Arkana’s underground cache of relics. Cassie contacts Faye, the Arkana’s elderly leader, for help. The old woman spirits the girl away to her farmhouse in the country. Faye promises to keep Hannah out of sight so that Cassie and her teammates can resume their quest.
Cassie, librarian Griffin, and bodyguard Erik face a daunting task. Five sequential artifacts reveal the hiding place of the Sage Stone. The treasure hunters must not only retrieve the relics before the Nephilim, they must also substitute forgeries in place of the real artifacts to keep the cult from discovering that it has competition. Luck has been on their side so far. They’ve recovered the first artifact with their foes none the wiser. The Arkana team flies to Malta, hoping to unearth the second artifact among the ruined temples of a long-dead civilization. After a fruitless search of the archipelago, their quest leads them northward into the Basque region of Europe. Meanwhile, Abraham’s son Daniel is combing the same terrain and narrowing the gap between them.
Dragon’s Wing Dilemma – In an isolated mountaintop cave, the treasure hunters learn that the next relic can only be discovered if they “keep true to the dragon’s wing.” The clue baffles them. What does it mean? Cassie and her friends are running out of time. With Nephilim operatives closing in, will they all survive this mission? Will the cult capture Hannah and breach the defenses of the Arkana itself? Follow the dragon’s wing to learn the answers.
This was an interesting premise for a story, full of fun and fact that kept my interest. Sadly, I felt many of the characters were far too loosely developed and unfocused: since I have not read the first two in the series I am unaware if the characters perhaps are building in their development with each story.
Aside from that small question, I did not feel a great disconnect with the story’s events: there is background provided in simple passages to give a sense of what came before, and the story as it stands does work without foreknowledge gained from earlier works.
Wikarski has a lovely writing style that shows her familiarity with the concepts that she brings forward and to add a sense of mystery. There is a lot of action and multiple threads running through this story, so paying attention is a must. The Arkana is an interesting concept, and the world we visit in this installment of the story was well developed and provided a sense of wonder amidst the often mundane concerns of the characters, and the more familiar elements.
For fans of fantasy and mystery this is a good series to pass an afternoon. I found the main character in Cassie to be a bit unfocused: my assumption is that it is more a part of her ongoing discoveries in the series and of herself as the series progresses. Never a dull moment, Wikarski can spin a story to hold your interest, and while I didn’t expect the ending, it was satisfying. This also would work for an older YA/teen reader who enjoys fantasy and history mixes: while I can’t verify that all the historical elements were accurate, they do help to fuel a further interest in the stories.
I received an eBook from the author for purpose of honest review as part of the Indies Rock Promotion at I am, Indeed. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author
“There’s a 52% chance that the next Dan Brown will be a woman … or should we just make that 100% now?” –Kindle Nation
Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to mystery and historical fiction writing. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly Pleasures. She has written the Gilded Age Chicago History Mysteries series set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include The Fall Of White City (2002) and Shrouded In Thought (2005). The series has received People’s Choice Award nominations for best first novel and best historical. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and has served as vice president of Sisters In Crime – Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. She is currently writing the seven book Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mystery series. Her work on the Arkana volumes has prompted Kindle Nation to call her one of its favorite authors. Visit her website at www.mythofhistory.com.