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Strangely Wonderful [Paperback]

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Item description for Strangely Wonderful by Karen Mercury...

Along with his pirate crew,captain Tomaj Balashazy rules the Madagascar coast from his tropical plantation---a fortress built to defend against the enemies he's made cruising the Indian Ocean. But when the American naturalist Dagny Ravenhurst falls into Balashazy's lagoon during an expedition seeking a dreaded and mystical species of lemur, it spells the end of the temporary peace on the island. Ravenhurst is beholden to the French industrialist Paul Boneaux---who enjoys a monopoly over the island's manufacturing and commerce---and needs his patronage to survive. When the two adversaries, Balashazy and Boneaux, are pitted against each other, the island boils with blood, and only one will emerge triumphant.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   375
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.8" Width: 5" Height: 1.4"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2007
Publisher   Medallion Press
ISBN  1933836024  
ISBN13  9781933836027  

Availability  0 units.

More About Karen Mercury

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Karen Mercury is a writer who has traveled extensively throughout Africa. She is the author of "The Four Quarters of the World" and "The Hinterlands," She lives in Vallejo, California.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Action & Adventure
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical

Reviews - What do customers think about Strangely Wonderful?

Strangely Wonderful  Apr 15, 2008
Once again Karen Mercury has written a steamy romantic novel chock full of so many historical insights. So nice to be entertained to the point that I just didn't want to put the book down, while learning so much about history, geology, botany, and the little known Lemur. I love the pirates and all of the adventure. Thank You Karen. And I am so looking forward to your 4th novel. I have read all three of your books, and each one keeps me waiting for the next.
Nancyrose Green
excellent historical tale   Dec 13, 2007

In 1828 in Madagascar, pirate captain and harbormaster exiled Hungarian Count Tomaj Balashazy rescues naturalist Dagny Ravenhurst when she fell from a tree into his lagoon. He takes her to his plantation fortress home where she explains she climbed the tree to grab a rare orchid. When he asks if he can see her, she explains she has a secret lover. Her brother Sal arrives to take her home.

Dagny supports herself, her two brothers (Sal and Zeke), and her research into the island's unique strangely wonderful animals, by being industrialist Paul Boneaux's paramour. She is especially interested in a scary looking lemur that the natives fear. As Dagny finds herself falling in love with poetic Tomaj, Paul is constructing a palace for his mistress Malagasy Queen Ranavalona. Soon Paul and Tomaj, already rivals for control of the island's economy explode over Dagny; in turn the ire of the Queen ignites as she insists her boy toy remain loyal to her exclusively even if that means killing her competror for his affection.

The third Karen Mercury nineteenth century African adventure (see THE HINTERLANDS and THE FOUR QUARTERS OF THE WORLD) is an excellent historical tale in which once again the locale steals the show. The lead triangle is fully developed protagonists whose sexual activities make the equator feel like a polar cap. Using the real Queen Ranavalona, (see Keith Laidler's book FEMALE CALIGULA RANAVALONA, THE MAD QUEEN OF MADAGASCAR for more about her), adds to the realism of a great historiographic look at Madagascar through THE STRANGELY WONDERFUL TALE OF COUNT BALASHAZY.

Harriet Klausner

This story sizzles in many ways  Nov 9, 2007
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Reviewed by C. L. Rossman

The actual title of this book is The Strangely Wonderful Tale of Count Balashazy, but the two words on the cover are Strangely Wonderful, and it's more recognizable that way.

It's a red-hot love story between naturalist Dagny Ravenhurst and a pirate captain, Tomaj Balashazy--and it takes place during a real historical time period in Madagascar--the late 1820s when pirates, island politics and trade all blended together in a kind of democratic co-existence.

Dagny is supporting herself and her two brothers-by-choice, Salvatore and Ezekiel, by acting as the concubine of a rich businessman, Paul Boneaux. She is doing this so she can carry on her quest for strange and extinct animals in Madagascar, particularly the spooky-looking little Aye-aye, whom the native people regard with dread.

One day, as Dagny is crawling along a high tree branch after a rare orchid, she falls into the water and is rescued by Balashazy. He tells her he is an Hungarian count outcast by his family who was forced to go to New York, then fight alongside Jean Lafitte and ultimately come here, where he has built up his own little plantation estate through freebooting.

The rest of this book mixes the "strangely wonderful" climate of Madagascar with sex scenes between Dagny and her two lovers as raw and graphic as if they sprang from a porno novel. Tomaj Balashazy is in love with no one--until he meets Dagny, and Dagny has always treated sex as earning a living, until she meets Tomaj. Boneaux, Dagny's patron and present lover, is Tomaj's bitter rival, in a situation that sizzles with political intrigue. The setting gives this novel all the strangeness the reader could desire, and is written with a sly irony by the author, who received high acclaim for her previous books, The Hinterlands and the Four Quarters of the World. She writes about real historical periods from the viewpoint of fictional characters, who lustfully engage each other.

Armchair Interviews says: If sex, strangeness, and pirates are your cup of tea, this book to you.

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