Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tangled Webs; Anne Bishop

Published by ROC in March 2008, Tangled Webs was written by Anne Bishop. Click link in title above to go to Ms. Bishop's website. It’s a follow on to the Black Jewels trilogy, featuring Surreal SaDiablo and her lover Rainier. Set shortly after Daemon and Jaenelle’s wedding, events unfold quickly. I loved Ms. Bishop’s nod to real life fairy tale Prince Rainier of Monaco. The multi layered references within the title amuse me. First thing that came to mind was the old truism, “what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Second, the method of travel within the Realms of the Blood is by ‘web’ for those gifted with magical abilities. Third, there are relationship webs woven between individuals.

Tangled Webs is set in late October in Dhemlan. Surreal is coming into her moontime and Daemon is in the house to protect her during the few days a month when witches are without most of their magic. Things get a little prickly when Rainier arrives, but Surreal manages to smooth it over. A few days later Surreal gets a royal invitation to attend a spooky house built by Jaenelle and Marian. A rather abrupt and oddly worded invitation. Surreal and Rainier decide to go, though. And that’s when the trouble really begins.

Surreal and Rainier meet at ‘the spooky house’ and enter with a small group of landen (base born, non magically gifted) children. Thus they are trapped and in deadly danger. Now comes a race against time and danger. Will Surreal and Rainier be able to keep themselves and the children alive and escape the spooky house? Who built it and why?

Ms. Bishop works in details of the SaDiablo family relationships: how Jaenelle and Daemon are dancing the tender and prickly dance newborn marriages go through; we watch Lucivar and Marian and little Daemonar; we see Saetan and Sylvia mourn the inevitable end of their relationship; we watch Jaenelle feeling her way around her new jewel and how recent events have changed her official role. All of these things deepened my affection for the Realms of the Blood created by Ms. Bishop.

In my opinion Tangled Webs could be read by someone unfamiliar with Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series, although I feel that familiarity with this world deepens the reading experience. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys both fantasy and mystery novels.

Image found on Fantasticfiction

No comments: