A rich and splendid historical fantasy-cum-alternate history yarn, from the author of Web of Angels and The Princes of the Air. In the 15th century, the pagan Byzantine Empire is expanding dangerously, devouring piecemeal the few remaining independent states. So, in doomed Italy, incorruptible Welsh wizard Hywel Peredur is recruiting a small force of talented, Empire-hating individuals: honest Greek-French-Byzantine mercenary Dimitrios Ducas, whose family once ruled the Empire; the comely Florentine Cynthia Ricci, former physician to the ruling Medicis (Florence has been conquered by the Empire after a vile blackmail plot involving her family); and vampire/munitions-expert Gregory von Bayern. Peredur urges them to England, where Byzantine plots are already hatching. Soon King Edward IV is murdered by sympathetic magic, while his son, the boy-king Edward V, has been turned into a vampire by the evil sorcerer John Morton. And eventually Peredur's companions join the stalwart Richard of Gloucester (the future Richard III, here a straight-backed, sympathetic figure)--unaware that the traitorous Buckingham, in league with Morton and secretly backed by the Empire, is inciting the Welsh under Henry Tydder (Tudor) to attack England with armies and sorcery. Complex, sometimes rather enigmatic work: a vivid, skillful evocation/invention that will grab serious-fantasy readers--and should tempt historical regulars who aren't averse to sane, low-key fantasy elements.
Pub Date: Nov. 18, 1983
Page Count: -
Publisher: Timescape/Pocket Books--dist. by Simon & Schuster