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The Shadow of Albion
Andre Norton & Rosemary Edghill
Tor Books, 349 pages

Thomas Canty
The Shadow of Albion
Andre Norton
Andre Norton was born in 1912 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her given name was Alice Mary Norton and legally changed in 1934. She attended Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1930-32 and worked in Cleveland Public Library as a children's librarian (1930-41, 1942-51) and as an editor for Gnome Press (1950-58). She is the Grand Dame of Science Fiction, with an enormous number of SF and Fantasy books to her credit, including the classic Witchworld saga.

Andre Norton Website
ISFDB Bibliography
Witchworld Tribute Site

Rosemary Edghill
Rosemary Edghill is the pseudonym for eluki bes shahar, the prolific author of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery novels, including the popular Bast novels. Her first SF work was Hellflower in 1991. Her fantasy novels include the Twelve Treasures series from DAW, and her SF works are Darktraders (DAW, 1992) and Archangel Blues (DAW 1993).

Rosemary Edghill Website
ISFDB Bibliography
The Sword of Maiden's Tears (sample chapter)
The Cup of Morning Shadows (sample chapter)
The Cloak of Night and Daggers (sample chapter)

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jeri Wright

Adventure, political machinations, spies, assassins, court intrigue, plots, counter plots, secret societies, missing heirs, arranged marriages, and, oh yes, magic too -- the alternate Regency England of The Shadow of Albion has all of this and more. In this World, Sarah Conyngham, Marchioness of Roxbury, is dying, leaving her oath to the Oldest People, to the People and the Land, unfulfilled.

In another World, Sarah Cunningham of Baltimore has lived a life far from the glitter and wealth of a Lady Roxbury. Magic pulls her between Worlds, and she awakens as a wealthy noblewoman, the only memory of her origins left in strange, frightening dreams.

Sarah has come to a world where the Stuart dynasty still rules England. The United States never existed; and neither did Sarah Cunningham of Baltimore. Napoleon rules over much of Europe, and the proposed wedding between England's crown prince Jamie and Princess Stephanie of Denmark brings a vital alliance.

This marriage alliance is but one of the concerns of the Duke of Wessex, Lady Roxbury's enigmatic betrothed. Wessex is an old hand at the "shadow game" of espionage and political intrigue. The betrothal to the Marchioness of Roxbury, a family arrangement, has been only a formality for many years. Circumstances now work to force the two of them into closer proximity.

This alternate world is both intriguing and plausible. The formal language and wealth of detail combine to give the feel of an old time romantic adventure (think The Three Musketeers or The Scarlet Pimpernel). There is a lot going on, plot upon plot, layer upon layer. The references to magic are subtle enough to make it easy to see this version of 1805 England as a close cousin to our own, and the differences and similarities make for a nice brain teaser. This is a complex story, and at times the setup is more complicated than it has to be, but the conclusion is satisfying (if also open-ended).

The Shadow of Albion does not succeed nearly so well with the characterization. Perhaps because they are such romantic archetypes, none of the characters manages to get much beyond two-dimensions. They are pleasant, even intriguing, but they do not feel real. This was an entertaining read, but without characters I cared about, it was also a superficial one.

Copyright © 1999 Jeri Wright

Jeri is a voracious reader who believes that paradise could well be a quiet afternoon, unlimited chocolate, and a novel to lose herself in. She reads and reviews all types of fiction, and enjoys sharing her life long passion for books with like-minded readers.

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