Darcy Burke wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Darcy writes hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance.
A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her devoted husband, their two great kids, and two Bengal cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. She’s also a fair-weather runner, and her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.
Adria: Hi Darcy and welcome to the blog!
Darcy: Thank you for having me!
Adria: For those who are unfamiliar with your work can you tell them a little about The de Valery Code?
Darcy: The de Valery Code is the first book in my Regency Treasure Hunters series. It was supposed to be a prequel novella and it is still a bit of a prequel, but it’s definitely a novel! The de Valery Code is a secret cipher hidden in a medieval manuscript that may or may not lead to a treasure related to King Arthur. The hero and heroine are on a quest to solve the code and hopefully find the treasure. If you think the title of the book is shamelessly ripped from The da Vinci Code, you might be correct (thanks to my husband for suggesting it!).
Adria: I love the idea of treasure hunting in the Regency period because there wasn’t much in the way of technology to make it a little easier. What is the inspiration for the story itself?
Darcy: Mostly, I just wanted to write an action-adventure treasure hunt. I like road stories so this fits that as well. I’d started a book a few years back about a heroine who was sort of a precursor to an archaeologist (and she’ll actually appear in book four in the series) and that idea came from my visit to Wales several years ago. I’m Welsh by descent (my grandmother was born there) and am intrigued by its rich history and all of the treasures that have been found from so many eras in time. This series sort of captures all of that, I hope!
Adria: What kind of research went into The de Valery Code?
Darcy: So much, lol. Because the story delves into Arthurian legend, I did a lot of reading on how and where it originated. I consciously decided to veer from strict legend to tell my own story, but there are a lot of fun facts (or theories) woven in.
Adria: What are you currently working on?
Darcy: I’m actually working on the second full length book in my contemporary Ribbon Ridge series, coming in February from Avon Impulse. I’m so excited to share my corner of the world (Oregon Wine Country) and the sprawling Archer family with readers. I’m also working on Regency Treasure Hunters Book Two, Romancing the Earl. If you aren’t signed up for my newsletter, be sure to do so because subscribers will get the first look at the gorgeous cover for Romancing the Earl!
Adria: Thanks for stopping by Darcy, is there anything else you would like to add?
Darcy: No, but thanks again for having me! I hope you enjoy The de Valery Code!
Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Miss Margery Derrington and her dear aunts are in dire straits. Their discovery of a rare medieval manuscript will hopefully stave off their creditors—if it’s worth what they hope. Margery reluctantly allies with a reclusive scholar to use the book to pursue a treasure that could exceed her expectations. Amidst danger, secrets, and an insatiable attraction, is Margery gambling just her financial future . . . or her heart?
Academic Rhys Bowen can’t believe he has his hands on the elusive de Valery text. Solving its hidden code and unearthing its legendary treasure would establish him as one of Britain’s leading antiquarians, finally casting him out of his brilliant late father’s shadow. But when a centuries-old organization convinces Rhys of the perils of disturbing the past, he must choose between his conscience…and the captivating woman he’s sworn to help.
The de Valery Code gave me such a book hangover! And to think I almost passed on this one!
Margery Derrington is in desperate need of money. She and her great aunts are running out of ways to put off their creditors and it seems that salvation has come in the form of a rare manuscript. Margery plans to sell it to reclusive scholar Rhys Bowen until he reveals that it could be the key to discovering an even more valuable treasure. Margery and Rhys team up to decode the manuscript and quickly find themselves in the middle of a dangerous game, and an irresistible attraction.
There’s so much to love about a Regency treasure hunt romance, the treasure hunting element particularly. There’s more danger, more adventure to an old fashioned treasure hunt. There was no technology to help on the quest; the participants had to pit their intelligence and instincts against nature’s elements, time and unknown enemies. Having that setting made for quite an unpredictable read and I loved how Rhys and Margery worked together to uncover the manuscript’s secrets.
Quite a bit of research must have gone into writing The de Valery Code because the history of the manuscript is so detailed that you could almost believe that The de Valery Code actually existed rather than it being a creation of the author’s imagination. That was part of what kept me up all night reading, I wanted to know more about this manuscript, its history and its role in the overall story. I just could not put it down! The mystery of the de Valery manuscript pushed the plot forward and gave me one of the most entertaining stories I’ve read this year!
The other aspect of The de Valery Code that captivated me was the romance between Rhys and Margery! Rhys is just dreamy as far as heroes go. He’s a scholar (Be still my heart, I love scholars) and a bit of an adventurer too. He tends to value artifacts over human companionship so when he and Margery team up to try and find an invaluable treasure, he’s not sure what to make of her. Margery is game for pretty much anything which makes her a fun character. She may be motivated by a desperate need for money but before long she’s wrapped up in the mystery and adventure of decoding and hunting for whatever the code leads to. She’s not a stick in the mud or too much of a girly girl to appeal to Rhys. I could definitely see why these two characters had the hots for one another.
The de Valery Code could have easily become dull and overdone with details and too much focus on the treasure hunt but author Darcy Burke managed to not only find a balance between the treasure hunt and the romance but to keep to a brisk pace that prevented me from becoming bored. I like a brisk pace in my romances and while details are important, too much detail becomes tedious. Thankfully, I found that the story contained just enough of everything to make it addictive and easy to read.
Final Verdict: To my unending delight, The de Valery Code is the first book of a new series that is apparently going to focus on treasure hunting. If this first book was a blast, then I can hardly wait to see what Darcy Burke has in store for the next book. Now I just need to find out who will be the book’s main characters.
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