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The Progeny


The Progeny

Emily Porter is 21 years old. She lives in an island cabin on a lake, not far from a Maine village. This is her reality now. It’s also absolutely everything she knows about herself.  Birthplace? No idea. Parents’ names? Not a clue. You see, Emily has a past, but she has paid dearly to have it erased from her body, soul and spirit.

And it has gone. Emily’s family, her schooldays, her likes and dislikes --- all history. All she has of her former life is a letter, written by the “old” Emily (if that was even her name) to the “new” Emily. 

Emily has spent the past two weeks here recovering from her memory-removal surgery, attended by her companion, Clare. Clare’s presence has bolstered Emily as she has crept into her new life, supporting her in her baby steps into an unfamiliar identity. Yet Clare’s job is now completed, to Emily’s dismay; she doesn’t feel nearly ready to live on her own. As Clare departs, she reminds Emily to read the letter, then hands Emily her own unusual cross necklace in the event that trouble arises.

"Among the many intriguing books from Tosca Lee, THE PROGENY has risen to the top of my favorites list. It is so personably and vividly written that you’ll feel like you’re right there in the moment with Emily on her travels..."

Well, the last thing on earth Emily wants at this moment is to be alone. The second-to-last thing she wants is to open that letter. But open it she does, only to learn some shocking truths: Her name isn’t really Emily; she paid to have her old self “die” in an accident; and both her life and others’ hang in the balance should her true identity be revealed or discovered. She is instructed to leave the past in the past and to start anew.

Starting over isn’t quite that simple. Emily is not too sure, but it seems as though she attracts a lot of attention wherever she goes. Luka, the stock boy at the food mart, pays for her groceries. At a nightclub, all eyes are on her. And at a later lunch with Luka, she feels as though the patrons at the other tables are staring. Luka assures her that it’s because of her beauty, which she had felt was not that remarkable. She certainly does seem to be attracting a lot of attention, not the least of whose is Luka’s.

But then things both frightening and inexplicable begin to happen to Emily. A stranger who claims to be on her side appears and drags her away from Luka, who he insists means Emily harm. This man, Rolan, reveals to her a bit of her own shocking ancestral history: She is directly descended from the Hungarian Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory, who’s known for the serial killings of hundreds of servant girls. Now and for centuries, all Bathory descendants have been hunted down and secretly executed for the countess’s crimes. And now Emily must run, for the hunter has discovered her --- and is desperately seeking the secrets she’s hiding that she doesn’t even know.

Her flight will take her through Rome, Croatia, the Adriatic Sea, Vienna and other European cities. She’ll discover that she has certain astonishing powers that are apparently generational. She’ll also encounter people who may be royalty, hunters or murderers, as she races to find answers before she is found and eliminated. Will she learn who she actually is before her time is up?

Among the many intriguing books from Tosca Lee, THE PROGENY has risen to the top of my favorites list. It is so personably and vividly written that you’ll feel like you’re right there in the moment with Emily on her travels, experiencing all the beauty, terrors and epiphanies before her on this journey. While I admit I was a little nervous reading a book about a young woman descended from a notorious female serial killer, I found that I absolutely loved and rooted for Emily. And I devoured every word of it. When I reached the end of the story, I kept turning the blank pages that followed, hoping that somehow more words would appear! Fortunately for all of us, there will be more Progeny books…and I’m hoping the next one will arrive in the not-too-distant future.

Audiobook available, read by Therese Plummer

Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on May 27, 2016

The Progeny
by Tosca Lee