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Master of All Desires    by Judith Merkle Riley order for
Master of All Desires
by Judith Merkle Riley
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Wanda Plourde

Queen Catherine de Medici has discovered that the king's mistress has more influence over him than she does. This is something she cannot allow even though the mistress undermines her every move. She calls her astrologer Nostradamus and he foresees something terrible.

The Queen learns that she needs a mummified head called The Undying Head of Menander, also known as the Master of All Desires. She hopes to make a wish for the mistress's influence to stop and for her husband to love her again and seek her advice.

The problem is that the owner is a woman, a poet and the Queen needs her by her side because the box (even after being stolen) keeps returning to her. What Queen Catherine does not know is that Menander twists any wish into pure evil that will cause destruction.

The story takes place in 1556 Paris, with war pending. The court continues to be colourful, with intrigues, betrayal and people always wanting to be in the best possible standing with the royals. There is also a woman in love, Nostradamus predicting the future, and a very devious Queen who wants what is best for her family.

I love to read period pieces like this and Master of All Desires did not disappoint. I found it a bit slow in the beginning but then it picked up and held me captive for hours. I totally enjoyed how Nostradamus was portrayed, how evil a Queen could be, and of course the Auntie, what a character!

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