cover image The Painted Cross

The Painted Cross

Hunter Dennis. A-R-B, $19.99 trade paper (584p) ISBN 978-0-9994936-4-9

This distinguished sequel to The Crimson Heirlooms follows two elusive heirlooms—the Cross of Nantes necklace and the secret lyrics to the devil’s song—and their link to three families. In 1788 France, Estelle Guerrier, who wears the Cross of Nantes necklace, and French nobleman Xavier Traversier, whose family lost the necklace decades before, meet serendipitously after Xavier’s coach runs into and injures Estelle. They begin courting and discuss marriage until a betrayal by Xavier sends Estelle, a righteous and saintly young woman, into a spiral. Her playwright twin, charismatic and good-looking Guillaume (called Beau-Brave), gets his big break with a dark, voodoo-themed play, but success is short-lived, when, citing blasphemy, authorities close the show and Beau-Brave disappears. The story’s alternates with a plot set in 1832 Haiti, where American Jake Loring is forced by a mysterious man working with French police to search for the heirlooms. Generous, well-informed debate between characters about social, religious, and political philosophy of the time provide enlightenment and wisdom. This epic treasure hunt is well worth readers’ time. (Self-published.)