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The Insane Root
by Rosa Praed
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Rosa Praed, also known as Mrs. Campbell Praed, was born in Australia, but lived sixty of her eighty-some-odd years in England. Of her forty novels, over half were based on her life in Australia, with subjects ranging through politics to the loneliness of living on a rural island -- and including the occult and the supernatural. Her interest in things outré grew so intense, in fact, that she participated in séances and automatic writing.
The Insane Root begins with Isadas Pacha giving Doctor Marillier a package -- the doctor is to give it to the Emperor of Abraria if he dies from his operation. When the doctor inquires why the Pacha does not give it to his first secretary, he is told that Casper Ruel cannot be trusted. The Pacha fears that Casper Ruel wishes to marry his niece, Rachel Isadas, for her social station, rather than for any real love for her. The Pacha feels that Casper Ruel should be tested in such a way as to protect the delicate Rachel. When the doctor accepts this assignment, he does not realize how attached he will become to her. . . .
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