Reviewed By  Ian Banks       May 15, 2018


Author  LS Hilton

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781785760914
Publisher:         Bonnier/Zaffre
Release Date:   March 2018  

Website:    https://www.allenandunwin.com 

Ultima is the third book in what is billed as a trilogy following on from the storyline established in the previous books, Maestra and Domina where Elizabeth Teerlinc carries on still wheeling and dealing her way through the dubious world of art dealers and forgeries.

Beginning her career in England Judith discovered that her perchance for dealing in fake art was making life somewhat difficult. She makes a decision to reinvent herself and move to Europe, a fine choice, as she immediately begins to carry on where she left off in England, but with considerably more scope.  

As the year unfolds, we meet her again, looking at creating a seriously fraudulent piece of work, attributing it to Gauguin. Her partners in this daring scheme are Da Silva, a crooked cop working for both the Mafia and the Russians, and Li, known to Da Silva, a Chinese factory worker and a man who is an artist able to create masterful copies of many works. She meets Li under her given name, that of Judith Rashleigh.

Her trail of lies and deception moves across Europe and Tangiers, as does the body count. Her desires are still uncontrollable, and once she has fulfilled her sexual desires her love of killing sees her disposing of anyone who is beginning to threaten her lifestyle. The graphic nature of some of these scenes should be considered as pornographic and treated as such.

The closer she and her team get to marketing the fake painting, Woman with a Fan, she finds the web of deceit is also building. As she has to return to England in order to sell the fake, she looks to her old boss Rupert from The House, to market the forgery. Judith/Elizabeth considers it is payback time!

On her return to England she once again becomes Elizabeth Teerlinc, art dealer, and is almost uncovered for who she really is when she meets Angelique, a woman from her past life, who is a genuine expert in her field and one who may very easily spot the work as a forgery.

If this is the final book in the series there has been yet another escape clause built into the life and times of one seriously Machiavellian character, in Judith Rashleigh, which perhaps means that she will live to meet her match, but as her life becomes ever more complex, she is forced to face up to some unpleasant issues from her past.

Ever ruthless when she wants something and refusing to accept the person she is and always has been she has carefully laid what could be a pathway to a new future. She has disposed of the men and a woman stood in her way, determined to keep searching for the one person who really understands her and accepts her for whom and what she is; ruthless, cunning and totally without any sort of moral compass.