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Stranger (The Blades of the Rose) [Mass Market Paperback]

Zoe Archer

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Book Description

3 Jan 2011 The Blades of the Rose
Gemma Murphy has a nose for a story even if the boys in Chicago s newsrooms would rather focus on her chest. So when she runs into a handsome man of mystery discussing how to save the world from fancy-pants Brit conspirators, she s sensing a scoop. Especially when he mentions there s magic involved. Of course, getting him on the record would be easier if he hadn t caught her eavesdropping... Catullus Graves knows what it s like to be shut out: his ancestors were slaves. And he s a genius inventor with appropriately eccentric habits, so even people who love him find him a little odd. But after meeting a certain redheaded scribbler, he s thinking of other types of science. Inconvenient, given that he needs to focus on preventing the end of the world as we know it. But with Gemma s insatiable curiosity sparking Catullus s inventive impulses, they might set off something explosive anyway...

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra; 1 edition (3 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420106821
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420106824
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 10.6 x 17.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,593,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Zoe Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there's nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master's degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. Her BLADES OF THE ROSE series--featuring dashing men and fearless women--will be released Fall 2010. Zoe and her husband live in Los Angeles.

Please visit her on the Web at

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stranger by Zoe Archer 28 Dec 2010
By A. Schreiner - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Gemma Murphy has been following Catullus Graves and his friends for some time now. After first seeing him in the Northwest Territory of Canada, she now finds herself on a boat, to England. A reporter, she loves to investigate, and she knows Catullus and his crew have many secrets.

Catullus is a member of The Blades of the Rose, a secret organization that protects Sources, those items that hold magical power throughout the world from the evil Heirs of Albion. The Heirs now have the primal source, and have plans to use it for world domination. The Blades are hot on their trail, and are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to stop them.

The first time Catullus set eyes on the red haired, freckled beauty in Canada, it stirs him. A genius inventor, Catullus has a very scientific approach when it comes to romance, which means he isn't quite the ladies man. Soon Catullus becomes aware that Gemma is following them, and when the Heirs spot her with the Blades, her life becomes endangered. She wants to prove to the Blades she is a competent fighter, and she wants to break down Catullus's serious ways, and show him just how wicked romance can be.

Stranger is the fourth book in Zoe Archer's The Blades of the Rose series and held much anticipation for me to discover Catullus whom we meet in great detail in book three, Rebel. Catullus is reserved, a bit shy and awkward when it comes to women. He loves fine waistcoats and is extremely smart. His match, Gemma is just the kind of woman who can break him out of his mold. She has spunk and spirit, yet she is very kind and from the start understands who this man is. Although Catullus is black, she never once sees his skin color as a deterrent. I absolutely adored their romance. The uncertainty Catullus has in the bedroom is very endearing, and once he gains confidence - watch out.

The adventure in this one weaves in the King Arthur legend, as the Blades rush to prevent the Heirs from using the primal source. I didn't love the adventure as much as the previous books. Besides an evil form of King Arthur being resurrected, for some time Catullus and Gemma find themselves in Otherworld, an alternate fairy world. It just didn't grab me like the other books did. I did thoroughly enjoy the banter between Catullus and other blade members Bennet Day and Nathan Lesperance and their spouses. The pages where all of them are working together are some of my favorite. And of course the pages with the hot smex in a tree house.

After finishing this series, four books in four months, I can say they have been a joy to read. With the mixture of historical, paranormal and adventure, Zoe Archer brings something different to these books. I really hope we get more Blades in the future, and Catullus has just made his way onto my boyfriend list.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great finish to this terrific saga 11 Dec 2010
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In 1875 Chicago newspaper reporter Gemma Murphy overhears three people discuss saving the world from some affluent British Heirs. Fascinated with what she heard, Gemma makes inquiries into the trio especially the mysterious inventor Catullius Graves. She asks him for an interview.

Catullius knows his first loyalty must be to the Blades of the Rose, but he also feels a kinship to Gemma as he is an intense outsider who knows no one understands him; while he senses she must prove her worth every day to the good old boys' network at her paper where she is an outsider there. They are attracted to one another but in spite of his efforts to keep her out of his undercover work, Gemma joins her loved one and his Blades to prevent the Heirs from obtaining and using the Primal Source to reanimate King Arthur as the first step in making England the depository for all of the magic in the world.

The Blades of the Rose (see Rebel, Warrior and Scoundrel) is another super thriller as the suspense never slows down while the romance simmers in order to first save the world. Loaded with action as Camelot appears coming to Reconstruction Era Chicago, Zoe Archer scores four consecutive bulls-eyes with this great finish to this terrific saga.

Harriet Klausner
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Finally, Catullus Graves's Story! 26 Sep 2011
By S. Donovan - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I wrote in my review of Rebel, book three in the Blades of the Rose series, that Nathan Lesperance was one of my all-time favorite romance heroes. Catullus Graves, the hero of this fourth book, is another.

Catullus is an original and intriguing character throughout the series. He's black Englishman, a genius inventor, and adventurer who has reached his forties without finding his soul mate...but then he happens to see red-haired, freckled Gemma Murphy at a trading post in the Northwest Territory, at the end of book three.

Gemma is a high-spirited and determined journalist who follows Catullus and his Blade companions to England, drawn to both an incredible story and a fascinating man. She's soon enmeshed in the Blade's mission to defeat the Heirs of Albion. A brilliant, sartorially gifted, and not inexperienced man, Catullus is still adorably awkward and tongue-tied when it comes to expressing his interest in Gemma. In the heat of passion, however, he's more than sure of himself. (Can I just say I'm familiar with the type? I'm a big fan.) I especially enjoyed Catullus getting advice from his buddy, the reformed ladies' man Bennett Day.

Gemma, for her part, is much more playful and flirtatious, the perfect balance for Catullus. They share a keen intellectual curiosity, and although Catullus's old friend Astrid is wary of Gemma at first, it's eventually obvious to all the Blades that Catullus and Gemma are a perfect match. Gemma is my favorite heroine of the series. I love these two together, and their relationship develops with nuance and realistic quirkiness.

Oh, and the love scenes are smoking hot. (At one point I just put the book down and dragged my husband into the bedroom.)

Catullus's and Gemma's romance develops amid a showdown between the Blades and the Heirs, and the adventure takes some really imaginative turns. Characters from the other three books all come together for the final fight, bringing together elements of humor and breakneck danger. It's a slam-bang conclusion to an awesome series that I'm going to revisit again and again.
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it, I didn't want the story to end. 22 Sep 2012
By Z. Seawitch - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We have met our hero Catullus in each of the previous books in this series so it was with a glad heart that he got his own story, well my glad heart. I have really enjoyed this world Zoe has built that is full of magic. This series can be read as stand alone but the series as a whole is much richer if read in order in my opinion. This last book of the Blades of the Rose series has joined the rest on my keeper shelf, Zoe has also left it open to continue the series if she desires and I hope that she does at some point.

So Catullus is the unofficial / official leader of the Blades of the Rose. He is smart, no he is a genius as in MacGuyver- build a bomb with a paperclip genius. He's also a bit shy and quite the gentleman who is always fashionably dressed , he is obsessed with waistcoats and protecting the magic of the world. He has also become obsessed with our heroine Miss Gemma Murphy and her freckles, oh how he loves freckles on a woman.

Catullus, Gemma and the rest of the Blades are all that stand between the evil Heirs who have conjured up the legendary King Arthur and the world that they are determined to save as well as the magical realm. Zoe has done a wonderful job and I love the magical powers she gave Gemma and how she employs them, then we have Catullus who discovers how to magnify those powers. Their trip to the otherworld is certainly interesting.

Zoe has done an excellent job with her character personalities and how they interact with each other. I had a hard time putting the book down and I about went crazy looking for where I packed it. I'm a bit obsessive with a good book. The action is exciting and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat. I hope you all will try Zoe's Blades of the Rose series.

Z Seawitch
SeawitchReviews From the Bookshelf
3.0 out of 5 stars On Magic Sources 30 Oct 2011
By Chelsea Marie Spencer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Catullus Graves is the primary inventor for the Blades of the Rose, a society responsible for the protection of the world's magic. While on a mission in Canada, he encounters a beautiful American reporter, Gemma. Gemma senses that Catullus and the other members of his party are up to something extraordinary and, desperate for their story, she follows them back to England. Soon she's caught up in the Blade's quest to stop the villainous Heirs of Albion from using the Primal Source of magic to enslave all of the world's magic. Along the way, Gemma and Catullus face vicious fairies, enormous monsters, and even King Arthur himself.

Positive Comments:

As usual with Zoe Archer's books, there's a ton of action and adventure. The mythology feeds the action, and is so imaginative and varied that the reader is never sure what to expect.

I loved Graves in the previous books when he was a secondary or background character. Now, as a hero, he measures up pretty well. I was surprised when he was revealed to be awkward with women, but in some ways it was charming. He's clever, original, and very sexy. I didn't connect strongly with Gemma, but I did find her likable. She's charming, smart, and readily accepting of Catullus and all of his eccentricities. They were a bit of an oddball couple for me, but I found their romance fairly enjoyable.

I really liked seeing all of the Blades, especially the couples from the previous books, come together to fight and save the day.

Critical Comments:

The conflicts in this novel are almost entirely external. There's nothing wrong with that, especially in an adventure based novel. But the effect, for whatever reason, is that I connected with the characters only on a shallow level. It's not the kind of novel where you really feel the characters' pain, or rejoice in their happy ending.

Similarly, the character development feels shallow. Catullus and Gemma have a goal, they accomplish it, and then they end up together. There's no big shift in paradigm for either character. I bring this up as a flaw because given the social positions that they occupy (Gemma as a working woman, Catullus as a black man), there could have been a lot of deep character development.

Overall, this is a good book, but it isn't fantastic. I do recommend the Blades of the Rose as an entertaining historical fantasy series. 3 stars.
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