Ginger Garrett,
Chronicles of the Scribe #2: In the Arms of Immortals
(David C. Cook, 2009)

In the Arms of Immortals is the second book in the Chronicles of the Scribe series by author Ginger Garrett. This book is part historical novel, set in medieval Europe during the plague, part romance, with forbidden love, and part religious, with time-traveling angels and a thief who needs to learn a few lessons in morals.

It starts out with more characters than you can easily keep up with. But don't worry. By the end of the novel, only two of the main characters will survive. Does that also make it part like a reality show where the participants slowly get whittled down?

Garrett's main focus is on the women, so I will start with one of those characters. Mariskka is a thief in current times. She was formerly a nurse, but when one of her patients died, leaving an unpublished novel behind, Mariskka stole it, had it published under her own name and became a rich, famous "author." Unfortunately, when it came time to publish a second book, this thief realized she was not as good with a pen as she was with medicine. Not to worry! One of God's angels has plans for her. Mariskka is whisked away, back several centuries, to Sicily in 1347. Here, she witnesses first-hand the destructive power of the Black Death. Can she redeem her soul and find her religious faith again in these dark times?

Two more female characters dominate the pages of this tale. Gio is a healer who knows the ways of the herbs and medicines of her time. She is an outcast in this society, but allowed to linger on the fringe of the village as the townsfolk tend to forget her lowly status when they need her helping hand. Gio has a secret. She was once in love with the man who is now the local priest. They cannot be together. They worship different gods. Her god is of this world. Gio's god is Nature. Lazarro's god is everywhere. He is mighty. And, as death visits this village, this god shows that he can also be considered cruel in that he did not save his followers.

Forced apart by lies and deceit, Gio and Lazarro, who once were heading towards love, have essentially been turned against each other. Will the plague bring them back together or completely severe any ties they once had?

The final strong female personality is Panthea. She is the daughter of the baron who rules this land. Her father is very rich. When a foreign ship sails into their harbor, he welcomes them with open arms, not realizing that he has doomed his people. Panthea has been fighting off the advances of her father's knight, Armando, who has loved her since they were children. But Panthea has bigger ambitions and snubs him the way only a spoiled little rich brat could. She plays with Armando's heart as she toys with the strange leader of their foreign guests. Unfortunately, she does not know who she is messing with. Will she pay the ultimate price?

Ginger Garrett, originally from Texas, is a resident of Georgia. According to her website and the promotional material, she is an expert on women in history. She also has many insights in to the Christian religion, has been a guest on Billy Graham's Hour of Decision and has co-hosted another Christian show called Deeper Living. Besides fiction, Ginger has written nonfiction books as well. For those ladies who would like to improve their God-given looks, Ginger wrote Beauty Secrets of the Bible. From what little I understand (I have not read the book), God's beauty tips are cheaper, more organic and more effective than your L'Oreal's or Oil of Olay's out there.

In the Arms of Immortals is only a so-so historical/romance/religious novel when read by itself. My impression was that it attempted to reach some depth but came across rather shallow. I kept expecting more from the story. I also found Mariskka, the interloper from the future, an unnecessary character. I understand she is the link between this book and the others in the series but, as I haven't read them, she could have been left out in my opinion. I would guess that means if you want to get anything more than I did out of this book, you will need to read In the Shadow of Lions, the first book in the Chronicles of the Scribe series. Otherwise, be warned! Or prepare to be underwhelmed.

[ visit the author's website ]

book review by
Wil Owen

6 November 2010

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