Touchstone|April 30, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4022-7663-7
Whoever dares to seek the firebird may find the journey – and its ending – unexpected.
Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes sees images, glimpses of those who have owned it before. It’s never been a gift she wants, and she keeps it a secret from most people, including her practical boss Sebastian, one of London’s premier dealers in Russian art.
But when a woman offers Sebastian a small wooden carving for sale, claiming it belonged to Russia’s Empress Catherine, it’s a problem. There’s no proof. Sebastian believes that the plain carving – known as “The Firebird” – is worthless. But Nicola had held it, and she knows the woman is telling the truth and is in desperate need of the money the sale of the heirloom could bring.
Compelled to help, Nicola turns to a man she once left and still loves: Rob McMorran, whose own psychic gifts are far greater that hers. With Rob to help her “see” the past, she follows a young girl named Anna from Scotland to Belgium and on into Russia. There, in St. Petersburg – the once - glittering capital of Peter the Great’s Russia – Nicola and Rob unearth a tale of love and sacrifice, of courage and redemption…an old story that seems personal and small, perhaps, against the greater backdrops of the Jacobite and Russian courts, but one that will forever change their lives.
Nicola Marter was born with the gift of psychometry. She could touch or hold objects and then see visions and images about that item like who owned it, where it came from or where it had been. She didn’t like using her gift but when presented with a wooden figure of a bird called “The Firebird” she became more involved than she ever thought she would.
Nicola worked at the Galerie St. Croix, Fine Russian Artefacts and Art on the 3rd floor of the building on Bond Street in London. She held a master’s degree in Russian Studies and the History of Art and spoke fluent Russian. Her boss, Sebastian had chosen well when he hired her.
A woman named, Margaret Ross was sitting in Sebastian’s office when Nicola arrived for work one morning. She had brought in a carving of “The Firebird” that had been in her family for 300 years and she wanted them to authenticate it so she could sell it and use the money to travel. Margaret said it had been given to one of her ancestors by Empress Catherine of Russia who was Peter the Great’s widow sometime in the 1720’s. However, Sebastian couldn’t authenticate it for her as it had no marking on it anywhere and she had no documentation of any type. Margaret was sorely disappointed because she just spent years taking care of sick relatives and her mother before they all passed away. She’d put her whole life on hold and was hoping “The Firebird” was going to be her ticket to travel. She left Sebastian’s office quite disappointed. Just before she left, Nicola held it for a moment and felt a warmth and then saw a vision of two women, one “aging but lovely, with heavy black eyebrows; the other respectfully bent, perhaps kneeling, her young face upturned in uncertainty. My darling Anna, the first woman said to the other in elegant Russian, and smiled. You were never a nobody.” Nicola opened her eyes quickly hoping Sebastian or Margaret hadn’t noticed.
After, Margaret left the office, Sebastian told Nicola he was sending her to St. Petersburg, Russia to purchase a piece of art for a client of theirs. An exhibit was taking place there and he wanted her to purchase the piece of art known as the Surikov for a very well-known client.
Before leaving for Russia, Nicola decided to get in touch with, Rob an ex-lover and an old friend who also shared her “gift” but his skills were much more advanced than hers were. When Rob heard the story of “The Firebird” he decided to travel to Russia with Nicola to see what the two of them together could find out. Plus, there were some very obvious romantic sparks between Nicola and Rob.
Once in Russia tracking down the story of “The Firebird”, the story just exploded into mystery, intrigue, secret relationships, disappointments, and a deep richly fascinating history that will surprise you. The further you get into the story, the more you want to know.
I thoroughly enjoyed the developing relationships of the characters in the story and especially the relationship between Rob and Nicola. I did stumble along with some of the Scottish language and had to look up a few terms just so the story would make more sense to me.
The Firebird was definitely an adventurous read and gracefully unravels how tradition, culture and sense of place affect the human heart.