For 500 years, the once powerful Order of the Sibylline has kept the identity of its future prophetess hidden in the most famous painting in the world. Amid the chaos of post-World War II France, one woman discovers their ancient secret and its ability to transform a fragmented world.
Intricately plotted, Woman on the Wall by debut author Robin Rivers [ISBN: 978-1778135729; $18; September 2022] is a fast-paced historical fantasy set in Paris and Amboise, France in 1519 and 1945. It honors the Sibylline as so much more than ancient myth and celebrates their place in every woman’s journey to self-discovery.
The first book in the six-part series The Sibylline Chronicles, Woman on the Wall is an entrancing tale revealing the fate of two extraordinary women risking their lives to secure the future of humanity–five centuries apart. This rich alternate history binds a brilliant, devoted, and driven paleographer and a brave, bold, and potent prophetess beyond time, each fighting to restore sight to a world blinded by the power and control of men.
After 480 days as a Nazi political prisoner, Dr. Marie Guerrant returns to Paris to repatriate the Mona Lisa and find her daughter. When a British Colonel arrives claiming he needs her French Resistance connections to find the lost painting, which she helped hide seven years earlier, distrust is high.
Tipped off about her daughter’s involvement and the Colonel’s obsessive belief that the Mona Lisa contains the identity of a modern-day Sibyl prophetess, Marie must risk her life to save her daughter and the masterpiece from men consumed by controlling destiny.
Five centuries prior… On the eve of rising as the Sibyl of Amboise, Aesmeh de la Rose must rely on her visions to find Leonardo da Vinci after he and the Mona Lisa disappear from his workshop at Clos Lucé. The precious painting and its creator cannot be lost or the ancient Sibylline Order faces extermination after more than 1000 years of rebuilding their powerful matriarchy.
As World War II comes to an end, Dr. Marie Guerrant returns to Paris. She has spent the last 480 days as a political prisoner in Ravensbruck and now wants to focus on returning the Mona Lisa to its rightful place and hopefully find her daughter, Serah in the process. However, Marie is quickly pulled back into the belief of the Mona Lisa bearing a secret of a modern day prophetess called the Sibyl Colonel Philip Millar. Through a set of clues that Marie believes Serah left for her in DaVinci's assistants journals, Marie is sent on a chase throughout France to find the Mona Lisa, her daughter and possibly, a living Sybil. Five hundred years prior, the last living Sibyl, Aesmeh prepares to take on her role as DaVinci finishes the Mona Lisa. Before Aesmah takes her place, DaVinci and the Mona Lisa disappear. A traitor is found within the Sibylline and the Mona Lisa must be finished to hold the key to the next Sibyl 500 years in the future.
The Woman on the Wall is an amazing historical thriller surrounding the mysterious Mona Lisa. The story is told through two timelines- Marie and Philip's point of view in 1945 and Aesmeh's point of view in 1519. I was pulled in by the Orders of the Sibylline and their abilities as well as Marie's knowledge of art, history and language. The writing starts off action packed in both timelines and it did take me a few chapters to get my footing with all the characters and treachery that is happening. Once the details came together, I was amazed at the Sibylline for their planning as well as the many people who fought against them to bring them down or control them. The Nazi's were a perfectly obvious choice for a group who would want to control a woman who could see the future. I felt for Marie who was being thrown into a situation much larger than herself with no way to know who to trust. I was amazed at her ability to think straight and fight back while keeping her wits about her and remembering the end goal of finding the Mona Lisa and her daughter. With an action packed, magical and heartfelt ending, I can't wait to see what's next in the Sibylline Chronicles.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Robin Rivers is an award-winning writer who guides young authors as CEO of Quill Academy of Creative Writing. She has always been fascinated with stories of lost times and nerds out in the realm of all things historical, fantastical, female, and mythological. As a result, she spends her days in a literary universe best described as slipstream— a mix of historical, magical realism, and haunting romance.
Robin lives with her husband, daughters, and their sphynx cat Hypatia on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in Vancouver, Canada. Woman On The Wall is her debut novel. Stay up to date on The Sibylline Chronicles at thesibyllinechronicles.com and follow Robin
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