Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Shadow of the Lion; M. Lackey et al

A collaboration by three major SFF authors (Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint & David Freer), Shadow is an alternate reality fantasy published by Baen in 2002. It is available free to read or download HERE.

Honestly, it took me about 500 pages to get into this. Once I did I couldn't put it down. There is beautiful world building. Venice could only become more vivid by being there, I think.

At it's heart, this is a novel of political intrigue. The Holy Roman Empire never fell, the great library in Alexandria Egypt wasn't destroyed, & England & France & a few other places have formed one country called Aquitane. People from all of these places, plus Lithuania & various Italian city states have all converged on Venice. Each faction has an agenda & a plan to accomplish its goals.

Mainly this is the story of the following people & the governments they represent. Benito & Marco, two orphaned brothers on their own but who have powerful competing interests looking for them. Several of the boys' friends, primarily Katerina & Maria, who each have problems & responsabilities. Eric & Manfred, secret emissaries of the Emperor currently undercover in a military order. Francesca, a prostitute cum courtesan with a head for politics & the patrons necessary to keep her up to date. A demon controlled mad Grand Duke who likes to eat fried human skin. A mage who was nearly crazed in a magic attack. Plus assorted assasins, spies, mages & magical creatures.

Political machinations, secret plots, magic both good & bad, romance & fighting all populate this story. All set into the fabric of Venice so that the city itself becomes a player too. Scattered throughout are references to historical people. It is possible to amuse yourself endlessly by trying to remember & then compare actual history to this version. I did a little searching on the side & had great fun, but then I like history..If you enjoy sagas, this is the book for you.

This book begins the Heirs of Alexandria series. This Rough Magic, also co written by the same authors is available as well. I have it too, but I haven't started it yet. At 900+ pages, I'm a little daunted even though I enjoyed Shadow


CindyS said...

Honestly, it took me about 500 pages to get into this

I'm out.

Are you nuts!! 500 pages to get into the book? I would have dropped it at page 20.

You are a reading goddess!


Bookwormom said...

LOL Cindy- Of course I'm a reading Goddess. That's why I started this blog.