Three Fates
Grade : A-

Three Fates is a Nora Roberts single title that is like one of her trilogies rolled into one. Three great heroines, three great heroes, suspense and a fairly believable villain make this one of the best of Nora’s books I’ve read in a long time. If you haven’t picked up her hardbacks in a while – like me – then don’t miss this one. It’s got it all.

The Three Fates are mythological creatures as well as little silver statues with a legend of their own in antique collecting circles. The story begins on the fatal voyage of the Lusitania in 1915. Henry W. Wyley is in possession of one of the Fates and is on his way to England to find the others. Felix Greenfield, also a passenger on the ship, stole the first Fate from Henry, not realizing what he had. Felix survived the sinking of the ship and went on to reform himself and make a family in Ireland. His descendants – siblings Malachi, Gideon and Rebecca Sullivan – still have the first Fate. Well, they had it. The statue was stolen by antique dealer Anita Gaye. Malachi and his siblings are determined to beat Anita at her own game: not only do they plan to get their Fate back, but will find the other two. This is the thread that propels all the stories. Mal and Gideon each approach one person who may know something about one of the other statues while Jack Burdett, a security expert used by Gaye, makes his way to Rebecca to scope things out.

I knew as soon as I started reading this one that it was going to be great. Roberts’ writing just reached off the page and grabbed me. I could almost hear it snapping, crackling and popping as I read. I can’t pinpoint stylistically what was different, but it resulted in crisp and exciting prose. Not to mention there’s a ton of activity here with the three stories intertwining. There are very few dull moments.

The first couple featured in the story is oldest brother Malachi and Tia Marsh, a descendant of Henry Wyley. Malachi initially targets shy, obsessive Tia to get information out of her. He believes that she can give him a lead on the second Fate. While he’s finessing her, she figures out what’s up, and refuses to believe that he really likes her, no matter how often or loudly he protests. Tia, who has a medication for every situation, be it asthma or panic, because of her mother’s smothering and neurotic behavior, doesn’t believe Mal could be interested in her. At first, I thought she was right. But the adventure they find themselves in begins to change her and Tia show her real self – smart, quirky and incredibly likable. She quickly became one of my favorite characters. Malachai is handsome, hot tempered and confident, knowing what he wants and determined to get it. Tia and Mal are clearly my favorite couple.

The second couple is Gideon Sullivan and Cleo Tolliver. Gideon, the middle Sullivan child, is more organized in his approach than Malachi. Rather than subterfuge and charm, he decides to approach Cleo with all the information up front. Cleo is one interesting broad, in the best sense of the word. She’s a trained dancer working in Prague as a stripper. Cleo may strip, but she’s also business-minded. She’s earthy, funny, voluptuous and practical. She tries to play Gideon at first, but when a tragedy occurs, she starts paying attention to him. Gideon is more measured and calm in his approach to things, and Cleo attracts him instantly. Gideon also has a temper when pushed too far, something that Cleo is quite good at. After someone breaks into her apartment in Prague, they go on the run across Europe and off to New York.

Rebecca Sullivan is hot-tempered and brilliant with a computer. She is confident in herself and strong. She’s got the Sullivan temper and wants to keep up with her brothers, but has to wait until the right time in their plan. Rebecca is paired up with Jack Burdett, one cool customer.. He has a calm, competent exterior, and a bullsh*t meter that I’d love to have. When Anita Gaye asks him to find out about the Three Fates and where they might be, he knows she’s up to something and decides to do some investigating on his own. Jack is calm where Rebecca is fiery. A fellow reader commented that Jack reminded her of In Death’s Roarke, and I agree to an extent. He’s got the same calm and patience with his woman, and he’s also got the smarts and confidence to solve the problems.

A sense of adventure permeates the book. Suspense builds as the murders pile up and the action ranges across Europe to New York City as Cleo and Gideon elude the men after them. Their situation forces Tia into letting Mal back in her life. Though each couple has been at work on a different puzzle piece, Jack and Rebecca soon join the other couples and they all begin working together. That’s when they start making progress. It also leads to several amusing scenes as two couples share an apartment and negotiate the ins and outs of a relationship with inadequate privacy.

Anita Gaye makes a decent villain. She’s not one-dimensional, and her descent is believable. It was very satisfying to see her get hers in the end. Other random characters such as Tia’s clingy, overprotective mother, the Sullivans’ down-to-earth mother Eileen, and Cleo’s outrageous friend Mikey help make the book as good as it is.

Roberts hit one out of the ballpark with Three Fates. I was going to give it a B+, but weeks after I finished it, I’m stilling raving and recommending it left and right. Perhaps my expectations were lower since I haven’t read or enjoyed many of Roberts’ hardback offerings, and this one just surprised me. But I don’t think so. I think the great writing, sense of adventure and great characters sold themselves. And on an interesting note, the next book I’ve picked up for review has a mythological aspect to it, and guess who shows up in the first chapter? Yep, the three fates. So I even managed to learn something from this book. All in all, a definite winner.

Reviewed by Andrea Pool

Grade: A-

Book Type: Romantic Suspense

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : April 25, 2002

Publication Date: 2003

Review Tags: Ireland road romance

Recent Comments …

  1. I will definitely check this book out. I had my US History students read Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s A Midwife’s Tale–based…

Andrea Pool

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