I ended up giving this one three stars even though most of the story was at a 4-star level at least.
The last 25 pages though - not good. A jumble of murders, abductions, deliberately-set fires, madmen, almost-drowning of the heroine, and the revelation of the villain who murdered the hero's parents 20 years earlier, who had no connection to the story as a character at all and just dropped in out of the blue. Just too over the top, and too sketchy to make much sense. Thinking about the plot after I was done with the book, I realized that the entire thing was built on a couple of completely implausible coincidences. Maximus spends 20 years (!) searching for the killer of his parents and the thief of his mother's emeralds, and can't figure out who it is, even though the emeralds were being pawned *individually* and Maximus had managed to retrieve all but one? Almost seems like he was deliberately ignoring the clues provided by the 6 emeralds he had retrieved!
However, up until page 330, the book was excellent and the love story of Maximus and Artemis is wonderful. Too bad it didn't have the sigh-worthy ending I was hoping for.