epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

Book Reviews: The Shadow of the Lion +This Rough Magic +Shadows over Baker Street +Pig Island

The Shadow Of The Lion by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer

The first in the 'Heirs of Alexandria' series which depicts an alternate 16th century Europe. In this world the Library of Alexandria was never destroyed as it was saved by Saint Hypatia and as a result Christianity and magic exist side by side in a world which is very different to our own.

In Venice of 1537 enemies internal and external threaten the glorious city state. And far away the demon Chernobog is drawing up its plans. This is a rich concoction of fantasy, alternate history, complex intrigue and vivid characterization. This book is epic in scope with a huge cast. There is a homeless teenage orphan who must accept his destiny as various people manipulate him. His half-brother must find his path. Also a prince and his loyal bodyguard are drawn into the increasing tensions between pagans and Christians. A poverty stricken noblewoman has to support her family and stumbles across secrets. A courtesan's wiles changes her life and the Lion, an ancient spirit protector of Venice, has been awakened from its slumber.

This is a fantastic tale and this different world is fascinating to explore. This is an excellent.

This Rough Magic by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer

The sequel to 'The Shadow Of The Lion'. The setting shifts to Corfu as the King of Hungary lays siege to the island. Meanwhile it is revealed the demon Chernobog is not the only enemy out there. A greater enemy than Chernobog exists and now a skirmish between them will play out during the long siege of Corfu.

People trapped in the siege include Maria who makes choice to harness the ancient magic of Corfu meanwhile Prince Manfred, his bodyguard Erik and concubine Francesca all fight to save the capital from falling. Outside the siege the machinations of King Emeric, Elizabeth Bartholdy and Grand Duke Jagiellon who is Chernobog's vessel play out. This is an excellent and is followed by 'A Mankind Witch' and 'Much Fall of Blood'.

Shadows Over Baker Street Edited by Michael Reaves and John Phelan

This is a highly enjoyable anthology that has Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson facing Lovecraftian horrors.

A Study In Emerald
Set in a world where the Old Ones have ruled for 700 years, this gives us a very different Holmes and Watson. This is imaginative, deftly told and an absolute masterpiece.

The Case of the wavy Black Dagger
Holmes has a night time encounter. This is okay.

A Case of Royal Blood
Holmes and H.G Wells investigate bizarre goings on in the Dutch royal court. It's interesting but Watson is absent.

The Curious Case of Miss Violet Stone
Holmes and Watson investigate the case of a young girl who underwent a bizarre transformation. This is good steampunk fun.

The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece
Holmes and Watson investigate a family with dark secrets. Watson nearly ends up sacrificed to dark forces but his friendship with Holmes' saves him. This is excellent.

The Horror of the Many Faces
Watson sees Holmes commit murder or does he? This is okay.

The Drowned Geologist
A man writes a letter to Watson about disturbing events. This is creepy.

Pig Island by Mo Hayder

This is the disturbing tale. of Joe Oakes a smug journalist who specializes in exposing supernatural hoaxes. Two years ago a tourist filmed some bizarre thing strange wandering a beach on isolated Pig Island. After a brief media sensation, the story was forgotten. But now the secretive religious community who live on Pig Island want Joe to do a story on them. Joe is only to eager to agree because his career began when he exposed the community's leader, Malachi Dove, as a bogus faith healer.

But nothing goes to plan. As soon as Joe arrives on Pig Island he learns the community is living in fear of their one-time leader. Malachi Dove has lived as a hermit for two decades and his one time followers believe he is doing unholy activities. Joe believes Malachi Dove is insane and ventures to his isolated home to confront him. But with these unwise actions, Joe has unwittingly set violent and tragic events in motion. As this creepy and disturbing book unfolds, Joe bitterly regrets ever setting foot on Pig Island. This is excellent.

My Dearest Holmes by Rohase Piercy

This book shows Holmes and Watson's famous partnership in a very different light as it rewrites the events of 'The Final Problem' and 'The Empty House'. This is an angst filled tale of repression, longing and sadness. The true reasons for Watson's marriage and departure from Baker Street are revealed as is Holmes' erratic behaviour and the reasons for his faked death and subsequent return. This story is heart-breaking tale though there is some happiness eventually. This is excellent and oh so poignant.
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