The Alchemist of Souls : Night's Masque v. 1 Paperback
by Anne Lyle
Part of the Angry Robot series
When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings.
Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers' wake, bringing Native American goods--and a skrayling ambassador--to London.
But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I's capital?
Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is seconded to the ambassador's bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems.
What he learns about the skraylings and their unholy powers could cost England her new ally--and Mal his soul.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 508 pages
- Publisher: Watkins Media
- Publication Date: 27/03/2012
- Category: Fantasy
- ISBN: 9780857662132
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by drachenbraut23
What an intriguing book this was a combination of alternate history with a splash of fantasy. Although, the book started off a bit slow, it never was so that I wanted to give up on it. In the latter part of the book the story certainly picked up and I found myself thoroughly engrossed in it. What I quite enjoyed about the story was that it was set in Elizabethan England, but not as we know it with her being the “Virgin Queen”. No, the story opens with Elizabeth mourning the recent death of her husband Robert Dudley and we don’t stop there. They also had children and her oldest son; also Robert is appointed regent and Prince of Wales. The Elizabethan London undoubtedly came to life throughout the story in all its ugly, dirty, filthy and smelly glory and of course crawling with people. The description of the different sites and places in London were remarkably well done, and I immediately felt comfortable within these surroundings. At that period of time England still felt the effects of the Reformation and the author managed to weave that nicely into the story. Catholics had to stay in hiding to avoid being prosecuted. It’s also the time where the world is being explored, and new Continents are discovered. Skraylings are the ones who arrived from this new world, they are a short reptile like species, covered in tattoo’s, competent in the arts of healing, in harmony with nature, magic users and they are also intelligent and shrewd traders. Although, they are barely tolerated within the Christian world as they refuse to accept Christ as their savior. Accordingly people believe they are demons which need to be hunted. I seriously felt that the author used the Native American’s whilst creating these species. The story was centered around Maliverny Catlyn a gorgeous rogue, with aristocratic background who is down on his luck. When offered a commission as bodyguard to the Skrayling Ambassador he is seriously surprised and rather reluctant at the same time. However, he needs the money to pay some debts and to keep his twin brother in – for that time – decent accommodation at the Bethlem hospital for the insane. This new job quickly lands him deep into political intrigues, but he finds allies in his friend Ned and Hendricks a boy, with his own secrets, from one of acting companies in his quest to protect the Ambassador. The more time Mal spends with the Ambassador, the fonder he grows of this gentle man, and he has to work extremely hard in order to keep his commitment to the crown, to the Skrayling and to protect his own secrets and interests. This was certainly a truly engrossing read, and I will continue on with the series to see what happens to the characters. The character of Malverny was exceptionally well developed; whereas the other characters lacked at times.
Review by Xleptodactylous
A good idea with a nice setting but extremely slow and often the writing was poor. Characters mildly annoying in a 2D-way and far too many of them. The only interesting part were the Skraylings, but they did not turn up quick enough.