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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Blood of the Stone Prince: One Beauty, Three Beasts by M.J. Neary is an interesting historical story with the feel of old time romanticism. In a tale told in a lovely and engrossing narrative voice, the reader follows the life of three sophisticated characters who are drawn towards a young virgin, living her last days on earth. Monseigneur Desmoulins is tired of his ministry after many years of service, and he now indulges in activities that are contrary to everything his position represents — dissecting rats, stalking foreign women, or amusing himself with explosives. His protégé, Daniel Dufort, nicknamed Stone Prince, is the young man who plays the organ at the cathedral and they share very dark secrets. Then there is the alcoholic, Lucius Castelmaure, an officer facing a court martial who joins the group. Will these three men be able to satisfy the dying wish of the young woman, Agniese, one with no sense of morality?
One would think that the story is about the narrator and her passion for music from the opening pages, but it quickly becomes clear that it is a powerful psychological journey that examines the dichotomy between fact and fiction, between reality and appearance. M.J. Neary’s imagination is rich and her characters are as sophisticated as the story she tells. I loved the way she weaves the themes of faith, religion and deception into the narrative. The excellent use of humor keeps the reader turning the pages, while the suspense builds greater interest in both the characters and the tale. Blood of the Stone Prince: One Beauty, Three Beasts has a seductive darkness that is felt in both what inhabits the characters and the world around them; a work of great entertainment.