Saturday, May 01, 2010

Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick

The Winters Family and the Jones Family were once the heads of the Arcane Society, both skilled in psychic powers. Both founders wanted to amp up their own powers, and each resolved on a different way to do so. For the Jones family, their founder attempted to find a means to amplify his powers through chemistry, concocting a formula to fulfill his deepest desires.

But the head of the Winters family, Nicholas, went to Engineering for his solution, and constructed a device known as the Burning Lamp. In using it, he required a woman adept in manipulating Dreamlight energy to power the lamp, and the lamp further required some kind of intimate connection between the person using the lamp and the woman manipulating the energy. However, the lamp was lost, and Nicholas made further changes to the lamp before it escaped his grasp, adding a large crystal, the Black Crystal, and saying that the Winters who succeeded in lighting the Black Crystal would be responsible for killing off the Jones family.

Adelaide Pyne knows the Burning Lamp, for when she was trapped in a brothel, sold into body slavery by the man who was supposed to be keeping watch over her and her family's money, a man came bearing the lamp, wanting to slake his lust on her body, and use her psychical powers to use the lamp, for Adelaide can manipulate dreamlight energy. But she escapes the man, sets fire to the brothel, and takes the lamp with her when she flees, to a new and better life.

Now returned, she spends her time rescuing girls from brothels, using her fortune to educate them so that they never need to return to selling their bodies ever again. But the methods that she is using to redeem the girls are being noted, and not just by the crime lord whose girls she is slowly stealing away.

Griffin Winters is one of the three main crime lords of London, and it just so happens that he is under going the effects of the Winters Curse, his nightmares growing dark and tortured. He needs to find the Burning Lamp, and when he attempts to warn Adelaide Pyne that the methods she is using to rescue the girls is becoming too overused and well-known, she is able to see the effects of the nightmares on his psyche, but not what they contain.

Furthermore, she still has the lamp, even after all these years. But Griffin doesn't know whether or not his ancestor's assertion that one must be in a close physical relationship with the dreamlight wielder before they can successfully use the lamp on him. But while he is definitely attracted to Adelaide Pyne, he can't see himself actually being married.

She, meanwhile, does find herself attracted to Griffin Winters, but she will not settle for merely being his mistress. And facing them are the crime lord Luttrell, and another man who seems to know a great deal about Adelaide Pyne, and wants nothing less than her body and the Burning Lamp. Can Griffin and Adelaide deal with his problems, even as Luttrell wants them both dead- Adelaide for stealing his girls away, and Griffin for his territory, and the strange man simply wants it all?

I enjoyed the first book of the Burning Lamp Trilogy, because it was a definite change from all the Joneses running around in the usual Arcane Society books. Here, there are both families, and in the end, they do end up working quite successfully together- which was rather contrary to the way the situation was presented in the first modern-day book by Jayne Anne Krentz, Fired Up, which seemed to imply that the two families had not worked together before.

But then again, a great deal of time has passed between now and then, and it could be that the working together simply wasn't remembered by Griffin and Adelaide's descendants- or that the Winters of that book, Jack, isn't descended from Griffin and Adelaide. I was actually rather hoping that we'd be reading about Nicholas Winters, and maybe we will at some point, but this story involved another descendant of Nicholas Winters.

Griffin is the last descendant of his line that he knows about, as his father and mother were killed when he was still a young man. In fact, the lamp went missing either shortly before or shortly after his parents died, and it was this impetus that pushed Griffin into a life of crime and eventually made him become a crimelord.

Different in that this story involves the Griffin family, it's otherwise not dissimilar to the other Arcane Society books. We get to see more of the Jones family living happily ever after from the endings of their own books, and in this case, its the Winters who are at risk from the powers created by their founder rather than others, but otherwise, its exactly the same as the Arcane society novels.

I think I may have burned out a little on Amanda Quick/Jayne Anne Krentz/Jayne Castle, because I felt almost bored when reading this. There was nothing that really set this book apart, and I felt rather same old, same old when reading it. I'm not sure why, exactly, except that I did.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I still would, as Amanda Quick hasn't lost any of the polish or greatness of her writing, but after a while, you do note a marked sameness in her heroes and heroines that turned me off a little, as if I had read it before. Recommended, but not strongly.

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