Borrower of the Night (Vicky Bliss Series #1)

Borrower of the Night (Vicky Bliss Series #1)

by Elizabeth Peters

NOOK Book(eBook)

$4.99 View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


Meet art historian Vicky Bliss, She is as beautiful as she is brainy--with unassailable courage, insatiable curiosity, and an expertise in lost museum treasures that often leads her into the most dangerous of situations.

A missing masterwork in wood, the last creation of a master carver who died in the violent tumult of the sixteenth century, may be hidden in a medieval German castle in the town of Rothenburg. The prize has called to Vicky Bliss, drawing her and an arrogant male colleague into the forbidding citadel and its dark secrets. But the treasure hunt soon turns deadly. Here, where the blood of the long forgotten damned stains ancient stones, Vicky must face two equally perilous possibilities. Either a powerful supernatural evil inhabits this place. . .or someone frighteningly real is willing to kill for what Vicky is determined to find.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061804700
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Vicky Bliss Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 77,172
File size: 482 KB

About the Author

Elizabeth Peters earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago’s famed Oriental Institute. During her fifty-year career, she wrote more than seventy novels and three nonfiction books on Egypt. She received numerous writing awards and, in 2012, was given the first Amelia Peabody Award, created in her honor. She died in 2013, leaving a partially completed manuscript of The Painted Queen.


A farm in rural Maryland

Date of Birth:

September 29, 1927

Place of Birth:

Canton, Illinois


M.A., Ph.D. in Egyptology, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1952

Read an Excerpt

Borrower of the Night

Chapter One

When I was ten years old, I knew I was never going to get married. Not only was I six inches taller than any boy in the fifth grade except Matthew Finch, who was five ten and weighed ninety-eight pounds -- but my IQ was as formidable as my height. It was sixty points higher than that of any of the boys -- except the aforesaid Matthew Finch. I topped him by only thirty points.

I know -- this isn't the right way to start a narrative, if I hope to command the sympathy of the reader. A narrator should at least try to sound modest. But believe me, I'm not bragging. The facts are as stated, and they are a handicap, not a cause for conceit. If there is anything worse than being a tall girl, it is being a tall smart girl.

For several years my decision didn't give me much pain. I wasn't thinking seriously of marriage in the fifth grade. Then I reached adolescence, and the trouble began. I kept growing up, but I grew in another dimension besides height. The results were appalling. I won't quote my final proportions; they call to mind one of those revolting Bunnies in Playboy. I dieted strenuously, but that only made matters worse. I got thin in all the right places and I was still broad where, as the old classic says, a broad should be broad.

Mind you, I am still not bragging. I am not beautiful. I admire people who are slender and fine-boned and aesthetic-looking. The heroine of my adolescent daydreams had a heartshaped face framed in clouds of smoky black hair. She was a tiny creature with an ivory complexion and a rosebud mouth. When she was enfolded in the hero's brawny arms, her head only reached ashigh as his heart.

All my genes come from my father's Scandinavian ancestors-big blond men with rosy cheeks and blazing blue eyes. They were about as aesthetic-looking as oxen. That's what I felt like -- a big, blond, blue-eyed cow.

The result of this was to make me painfully shy. I suppose that seems funny. Nobody expects a bouncing Brunhild to be self-conscious. But I was. The intelligent, sensitive, poetic boys were terrified of me; and the ones that weren't terrified didn't want to talk about poetry or Prescott. They didn't want to talk at all.

Rubbing my bruises, I became a confirmed misandrist. That attitude left me lots of time in which to study. I collected degrees the way some girls collect engagement rings. Then I got a job as a history instructor at a small Midwestern college which, in view of what is to follow, had better be nameless. It was there I met Tony. Tony teaches history too. He's bright; very bright. He is also six feet five Inches tall, and, except for his height, he rather resembles Keats in the later stages of consumption.

I met Tony on the occasion of the first departmental faculty meeting. I was late. Being late was a mistake; I hate walking the gauntlet of all those male eyes. There was one other woman present. She looked the way I wanted to look-thin, dark, and intellectual. I smiled hopefully at her and received a fishy stare in return. Most women take an instant dislike to me. I can't say I don't know why.

I spotted Tony amid the crowd because of his height. There were other things worth noticing -- big brown eyes, broad shoulders, and black hair that flopped over his forehead and curled around his ears. His face was fineboned and aesthetic-looking. At that moment, however, it had the same expression that was on all the other male faces, except that of Dr. Bronson, the head of the department. He had interviewed me and had hired me in spite of my measurements. I'm not kidding; it is a common delusion, unshaken by resumes and grades, that a woman with my proportions cannot have anything in her head but air.

I sat down with an awkward thump in the nearest chair, and several men gulped audibly. Dear old Dr. Bronson smiled his weary smile, brushed his silvery hair back from his intellectual forehead, and started the meeting.

It was the usual sort of meeting, with discussions of schedules and committees and so on. After it was over I headed for the door. Tony was there ahead of me.

I don't remember how he got me out of the building and into the Campus Coffee Shoppe, but I have never denied he is a fairly smooth talker. I remember some of our conversation. I hadn't encountered a technique quite like his before.

The first thing he said was,

"Will you marry me?"

"No," I said. "Are you crazy?"

"Haven't you ever heard of love at first sight?"

"I've heard of it. I don't believe in it. And if I did, love and marriage don't necessarily go together. Au contraire."

"So beautiful and so cynical," said Tony sadly. "Doesn't my honorable proposal restore your faith in my sex?"

"It merely reinforces my impression that you are crazy."

"Look at it this way." Tony put his elbows on the table. The table wasn't very clean, but neither were Tony's elbows; I deduced that this pose was characteristic. "AH my life I've been looking for my ideal woman. I'm pushing thirty, you know; I've had time to think about it. Beauty, brains, and a sense of humor, that's what I want. Now I know you're intelligent or old Bronson wouldn't have hired you. He's above the sins of the flesh, or thinks he is. You are obviously beautiful.Your sense of humor-"

"Ha," I said. "You deduced that from the twinkle in my eye, I suppose."

Borrower of the Night. Copyright © by Elizabeth Peters. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Borrower of the Night (Vicky Bliss Series #1) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Peters is a great writer, the type who educates you as she entertains you. Vicky is an historian (not an art historian) at a small college. She and her colleague discover a reference to a series of letters from the 16th century which sets them off on a search for an alterpiece by the great German artist, Tilman Riemenschneider. The search leads them to a castle in Germany and encounters with a range of bizarre characters. Vicky is a great heroine: smart, beautiful, funny, self-assured and independent. This is the first book in the series and while it's not the greatest book in the series, it is still wonderful. I can't recommend this highly enough!
riverwillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a great fan of the Amelia Peabody series, so I though I'd check out this more modern offering from Peters. Like Amelia, Vicky is bright, independent, and, considering that this was first published in the 1970s, a woman slightly ahead of her time. The mystery was interesting, although it took a while to get going.
Heptonj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A rather far-fetched adventure but clever. Vicky Bliss is the unlikely heroine of a medieval mystery with a light touch of sexuality without the oh so boring romance. I gave this three and a half stars as although it was well-written, not hard to read and interesting it seemed to lack a certain quality which I can only define as oomph! I am certainly going to try the other two novels in the series as I think it will get better as it goes along.
thornton37814 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Vicky Bliss and several others head to a German castle to try to locate a missing piece of art dating to the Renaissance. There are all the things you would expect in a castle such as suits of armor, secret passages, and ghosts. It wasn't the most captivating mystery. This book could have used a glossary for the German words in the text that were unexplained. I refused to go track down my German dictionary so I hope I was able to figure out what most of them meant by their context. I have a low tolerance for Occultic themes in books, and there was too much of a presence in this one for me.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Peters gives the Gothic novel a modern spin as Professor Vicky Bliss races against her academic colleague/rival/hopeful suitor, Tony, and a handful of suspicious characters, to find a lost Renaissance shrine. All of the characters are thrown together in a medieval German castle, complete with suits of armor, a resident ghost, a crypt, the ruins of a tower, and secret passages. It's a lot like the old Scooby-Doo cartoons I watched on Saturday mornings as a kid. Art and history lovers looking for some purely escapist reading will find it here.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Vicki is great! She's strong and independent but has a soft side that occasionally peeks out. There's quite a bit of comic relief in the midst of the drama of the mystery and as other reviewers have noted, Ms. Peters does a good job of spoofing the genre while still writing a good mystery.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
II really enjoy Elizabeth Peters, so I was keen to try this series by the same author under a different name. But I didn't take to it, it felt dated - a seventies picture of men and women competing intellectually. The mystery was fun, and the German setting interesting, but the characters left me cold.
Nextian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Talk about a dated book (and not necessarily in a good way). Still, I will read the next one because there are elements for a good series here. And Elizabeth Peters at her worst is still better than most other mystery writers.
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Peters is best known for her Amelia Peabody series of Egyptological thrillers, but the Vicky Bliss novels are well worth reading. This one embroils our art-historian heroine with the search for a missing medieval masterpiece, and some very nasty characters indeed. Nice use of art-historical detail, and a humorous tone, make these a pleasure to read.
elwyne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Okay I didn't REALLY read it. I got a chapter or so in and was so annoyed by the narrator - and bored by the lack of story - I just put it aside. I really don't enjoy stories where none of the characters are remotely likable. And also nothing happens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I amm completely and utterly IN LOVE with Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody series, so I decided to try this--and I loved it also! Though not as great as Amelia P., it has the same witty characters---including Peters' trademark protaganist: the intelligent, feministic female. Recomended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the book had some slow spots and was a bit confusing at times, overall it was a good mystery. I do think the romance aspect could use some work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago