She was looking for her mother’s secret. Instead, she found the world's greatest secret.
Constant Guests is a book about the first Tarot ever made. A Parisian party girl uncovers four lost and found stories related to a tarot deck from 1389. This book is a hybrid adventure novel, swinging between history, mystery and fantasy.
You'll be involved in adventurous European travel ending with some revelations about yourself.
You'll find out what your dreams really are.
You'll understand if coincidences actually have meaning.
You'll achieve historical knowledge about Tarot.
You'll know how tarot was invented and you'll learn about the first tarot ever.
You'll understand what the Apocalypse actually means.
You'll realise how much you didn't know, and you'll want more.
"I found myself fighting not with one, but with four stories that wanted to be told."
This might sound a bit complicated, but it isn't. There are two main things relating Constant Guests to deconstruction. Firstly, we're living in a deconstructive era. This means that there are no "last words" to be written in order to close the deal forever. We want sequels; we want never-ending stories. That's why when Constant Guests ends, some secrets have not been fully revealed, or, if they were, that was just the starter for a brand new secret. A totally different mystery revealed itself... just in order to be solved. And when it did, the revelation came with a new quest.
Secondly, deconstruction says that the text is always flexible. Any text. There is always a multitude of interpretations of the same word. What about the image? Well, the image is even more open to multiple interpretations than the text. And some particular images are even more mysterious, more open for endless interpretations than others. That's the case with the tarot images. This is the reason why a book about tarot always has to be an invitation for interpretations and reflections.
"You went to Florence?" Victoria asked, suddenly animated. "How is Florence these days?"
Isa felt her nerves wanting to explode.
"Florence was great. All the statues are in their place."
"I want to know how they were invented."
"But you already know how."
"I want details."
This tarot deck from 1389 is the first ever made. Three people were involved in its production: Giovanni Marignolli, its commissioner and designer, Bembo, its painter, and Valentina Visconti, its recipient. The deck consisted of 24 cards: seven virtues, seven vices and eight more figures. It was accompanied by a faceless Prudence with a letter written on its back (see right).
"I want to see in front of my eyes everything that happens in that book."
"Do you think Mara left all these signs for me?" she asked, her voice trembling.
"I think she left them for someone who was meant to find them."
"A complex, engrossing archaeological thriller with a plot stretching over many eras."
KIRKUS REVIEW (July, 2016)
"The author's craft and creativity (plus the glorious tarot card illustrations) are superb."
BLUEINK REVIEW (June, 2016)
"The writing is polished and reads smoothly. I was most impressed by the powerful plot lines and the seamless integration of different historic moments into an absorbing story."
READERS’ FAVORITE (July, 2016)
"Constant Guests by Patricia Nedelea is an ambitious genre-bending adventure through history with a surreal, yet fitting conclusion."
FOREWORD CLARION REVIEWS (July 2016)
"Nedelea's debut is a unique tale with four stories-within-a-story taking place during four different time periods. The enchantingly twisty narrative constantly shifts between first- and third-person viewpoints."
ROMANTIC TIMES REVIEWS (June, 2016)
"My mind was blown away reading this tale. Nedelea does a marvelous job in giving her characters such vivid personalities and developing such a creative, yet plausible plot that I felt I was right in the book traveling alongside Isa."
ONLINE BOOK CLUB FOR READERS (July, 2016)
(to be continued)
"Bravo, boy. That's not a bad question," the man in black said. But you still haven't asked me the correct question."
HOW MUCH OF THE STORY IS BASED ON HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE?
Everything Charlie the librarian claims about the history of tarot is accurate historical data. Some of the aristocratic women evoked by the medium are related to the history of playing cards. But history doesn't answer the questions why, when and by whom was tarot invented. Where history doesn't have answers, fiction comes and takes its place.
WILL THERE BE A SEQUEL TO THIS BOOK?
Why not? Although Constant Guests has been initially designed as a single piece, if the readers like it, Volume 2 might be on its way. It might be published later this year.
ARE THESE TAROT CARDS REAL?
These tarot cards were made up for the book. They were imagined by the author, but they are all based on real or possible tarot images.
ARE THE HISTORICAL CHARACTERS REAL?
Yes, all the historical characters summoned by the medium are real. Marignolli and Valentina Visconti were also real people, although they probably never met. A painter called Bembo did indeed start up in Cremona a family workshop where tarot cards were made for decades for the Visconti family.