Why did a nun in a seventeenth-century convent flagellate herself until her blood spattered the wall? Why did nuns save a child doomed to death in the Holocaust and who wanted her killed? Who wants a lost head-shaped reliquary that holds something other than a head? And are answers to these questions the key to a terrible modern-day death in a quiet archive?
When American historian Pandora (Dory) Ryan finds a very rare, uncataloged seventeenth century nun’s diary inside a record book at the provincial archives in Avignon, she is thrilled. This is historian’s treasure. But she doesn’t know yet that it will send her on a search that brings about changes in how she feels about her profession, the irrational, and love with a sexy Frenchman. And it will take her from the archive on a dangerous adventure into the countryside of Provence, which, beautiful as it is, has a long and bloody history.
The archive’s dramatis personae: the grumpy archivist, with his paper-clip chains; the gofer, who smokes Gauloises and gets away with far too much; a nun with a sense of humor who harangues high school kids about sex; the nun’s glamorous sidekick; a famous American historian, whose requests for documents are inexplicably denied; the eminent professor, destined to fall in love; his nervous graduate student. And that sexy Frenchman, who isn’t who he says he is.