Second in the series of historical fantasy/romance adventures (The Shadow of Albion, 1999) from the team of F/SF grandmaster Norton and mystery writer Edghill. In this alternate early 1800s, the Stuarts held on to the British throne, the American colonies never revolted, and Napoleon has conquered most of Europe. Sarah Cunningham, once of modern Baltimore in our world, has magically become the Marchioness of Roxbury; her husband, Rupert, Duke of Wessex, is England’s most accomplished spy. Sarah receives a letter from her friend Lady Meriel, who has secretly married Louis, the heir to the throne of France, who has in turn mysteriously vanished. Napoleon, meanwhile, has dispatched the Marquis de Sade to the Louisiana territory to secure the Holy Grail: in a vile ritual, de Sade summons the devil himself to show him where it is. As for Meriel, the Virgin Mary urges her to find the Grail before de Sade, so by the time Sarah arrives, Meriel has disappeared also. In the meantime, Rupert betrayed by treachery at the highest level in England’s White Tower spy network, ends up a fugitive with a price on his head.
Much as before: dauntless heroines, dashing heroes, deviltry, and intrigue against a solid historical backdrop. While independently intelligible, this should especially please fans of the previous two.