About this book…
If you can’t beat them – kill them
First there was Maestra. Then there was Domina. Now – there is Ultima.
Glamorous international art-dealer Elizabeth Teerlinc knows a thing or two about fakes. After all, she is one herself.
Her real identity, Judith Rashleigh, is buried under a layer of lies. Not to mention the corpses of the men foolish enough to get in her way.
But now, caught in the murderous crossfire between a Russian Mafia boss and a corrupt Italian police detective, Judith is forced to create an even more daring work of art – a fake masterpiece she must take to the world-famous auction house where she used to be a lowly assistant and sell for $150 million.
For Judith the prospect of putting one over her loathsome former employer and the world’s art establishment is almost as thrilling as the extreme sex she’s addicted to – especially when the price of failure is a bullet in the back of the head.
But exposing her new identity to the glare of the spotlight puts her at risk of an even greater danger. Like a beautiful painting stripped of its layers of varnish, something altogether different could be revealed.
A truth about her past even Judith might find shocking.
I was one of those people who really liked Maestra when it came out….not many did and much was made of its erotic content and the author rather than the book itself which I felt was very unfair. I tried to recommend to as many as possible to try to reverse the negativity surrounding Maestra as I thought it got a rough deal from other reviewers. But then came the sequel Domina and I really didn’t like it!!! I was gutted!! So when I heard that the trilogy was going to complete with Ultima, I was in two minds as whether to read it or not. But my OCD meant that I had to say yes (if it’s a trilogy, you can’t NOT read the last part!!!) And I can’t express how relieved I am that I did! Because Ultima is THE BEST BOOK OF THE TRILOGY!!!! It’s BRILLIANT!!
Judith now faces her biggest challenge yet in Ultima when she has to return to her past and make the biggest deal of her life by selling a fake Gauguin through her old auction house back in London. Her life is at stake, even if she succeeds, but the thrill of being able to fool those who treated her so badly makes it worth the danger she puts herself in. But being back in the UK means facing her past in more ways than one and there are some shocking revelations along the way!
I just loved everything about Ultima. Judith is a wonderful character creation and the relationship between her and Da Silva was a joy to read. Their complex connection almost set fire to the pages, more so than the erotic and plentiful sex scenes that were scattered throughout this book. Judith is an unashamed purveyor of her own sexuality and isn’t afraid to take her pleasures as and when she needs, no matter what the situation. The other complex relationship she has is with her mother and being back home means that Judith needs to communicate with her parent again with some shocking scenes both in the present and in the distant past when she flashes back to her childhood.
But let’s take a moment to consider the pieces of art and art history that are displayed at the very heart of Ultima. I felt this vivid imagery was missing from Domina but here it’s back with beautifully crafted purpose and lends itself to the stylish narrative thus making it aesthetically pleasing to the reader. I found it fascinating, both the descriptions of the artwork and the snobbery that seems to exist within the artworld. The insights into the auction house politics also made for some interesting reading with its elitism and pretentious staff.
Judith is still such a closed book to me, even now after all three books. I thought I knew what drove her on, I admired her courage and determination even when used for revenge but I realised towards the end of this book that I obviously still didn’t know “the real” Judith at all. I thought I did but I was way off track!! Looks like she will just have to remain a much loved enigma for me but she certainly made these books an unexpected adventure for the both of us.
I’m sad this series has come to an end but really do recommend it!
Meet the author…
L.S. Hilton is a writer and journalist who presently lives in London.