A MOST DANGEROUS PROFESSION – Karen Hawkins
The Hurst Amulet , Book 3
Scotland , 1822
Hurst family legend has it that a powerful ancestor fashioned an amulet that enabled one to foretell the future. But, alas, the amulet was stolen by a MacLean, thus bringing down a curse upon the MacLean family. (But that's another tale told in the MacLean Curse series. This series is about the Hursts .) Of the six children produced by Vicar Hurst and his good wife, the three girls are married (two to MacLeans!). Of the sons, William is now also married and owner and captain of his own ship; Michael, the explorer who set out to trace the amulet, is still a prisoner in Egypt until he can be ransomed for a certain artifact, an ancient onyx box; and Robert, who does something or other for the Home Office and sells the treasures sent home by Michael. All the siblings have done well for themselves—other than for Michael's present predicament, of course, but he and Robert have made a good living in the antiquities trade. In the story so far, the Hursts discovered that there are actually three carved onyx boxes that, when put together in a certain way, provide a map to a treasure…the amulet they hope. They have now recovered two genuine boxes and a fake that William is taking to Egypt to free Michael.
Robert Hurst is on the trail of the third box, supposedly in the hands of a collector in Scotland , but so is someone else…one from Robert's past.
She calls herself Mrs. Moira MacJames, but Robert once knew her as Moira MacAllister. They meet at an auction in Edinburgh , but Moira disappears again. She has no choice; her five year-old daughter is in the hands of a villain and will only be returned to her in exchange for the onyx box said to be in the Earl of Errol's collection.
What ensues is an exciting chase with Robert trailing after Moira, and both after the same artifact. Moira holds a secret she doesn't want Robert to know about, and she can't let him get the box or she'll lose her daughter.
A MOST DANGEROUS PROFESSION, like the earlier books in the two connected series, is well written with suspense, romance, and adventure. The characters and relationships are well done and the stories stand alone enough to be read out of order. But why not start at the beginning?
Each chapter is headed by a short letter from one sibling to another, mainly Michael. While this gives added backstory and a glimpse or two of concurrent happenings, it can also interrupt the flow of the action. Read the letters immediately or not; the choice is yours. But either way, you'd find the series a rewarding experience.