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The Fyre Mirror (Elizabeth I Mysteries, Book 7) Hardcover – January 13, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (January 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312326920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312326920
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Harper's enjoyable seventh historical (after 2003's The Queene's Christmas), set in the spring of 1565, one of Elizabeth's protégés, the portrait artist Gil Sharpe, returns to London from studying in Italy two years early. Within days of Gil joining the rest of the court at Nonsuch Castle in Surrey, a fellow artist and his serving boy die in a mysterious fire. When another artist's work shows signs of scorching, Gil becomes a suspect in the crimes, and his evasiveness about his early return from Italy undermines Elizabeth's confidence in him. An ingenious plot is afoot that preys on the queen's fear of fire, a plot that may involve one of her dearest and most trusted friends and advisers. But which one? Even members of the queen's privy council aren't above suspicion. Is the plot promoted by her Roman Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots? In her attempts to unmask the conspirators, the young Elizabeth reveals a lighter, less formal side of her character; she's not afraid to hitch up her skirts and run when someone she cares about seems threatened. Such actual historical figures as the dour Sir William Cecil, the queen's secretary, and alchemist Dr. John Dee add color to this well-researched mystery
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Elizabeth I's "Privy Plot Council" serves her secretly, and the queen herself is often at the center of solving the mysteries the council uncovers. As this latest installment in the series begins, the queen is having her official portrait painted by several artists, including a young man just back from studying in Italy. When one of the artists is burned in his tent with his apprentice, and the portrait of another is slashed, Elizabeth calls in Dr. Dee, a polymath who shows her how fires can be started using mirrors to concentrate light. The Italian painter has a different use for mirrors, the camera obscura, which he is sworn to keep hidden. Elizabeth's father Henry VIII's wanton destruction of an entire town and his building of a fabulous castle in its place also figure mightily in the plot, which stretches credulity only in its climactic rooftop battle between the queen and the murderer. Harper, as usual, makes full use of historical minutiae and does so imaginatively. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Karen Harper is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of romantic suspense and historical novels. A native Ohioan, she and her husband divide their time between Ohio and Florida. Karen is a former high school English teacher and English-and-writing instructor for the Ohio State University. (Go Bucks!) Yes, the Harpers are avid Ohio State football fans, but they have a serious side too. They were on the 10-year committee which revamped the main library on campus. The Ohio State Library houses her author collection in Rare Books and Manuscripts.

The Harpers love to travel, and Karen often uses her favorite places as settings for her novels. She's recently written books set in Tudor England and Amish country Ohio. Her latest bestselling trilogy set in Appalachia is THE COLD CREEK NOVELS. These are SHATTERED SECRETS, FORBIDDEN GROUND and BROKEN BONDS. These bring her published books over 60 in a 30-year writing career.

Karen belongs to several writer's organizations, including International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and The Historical Novel Society. She appreciates hearing from readers on her website at she answers!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bookphile TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 2, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Karen Harper's Queen Elizabeth series are a rich feast for the senses. Harper has an excellent grasp of the times and her writing is rich in period detail--everything from Elizabethean fashion to the cuisine of the day comes alive under the influence of her pen. Historical fiction doesn't get much more pleasurable than this.

The seventh book in the series finds Elizabeth attempting to hunt down a murdered whose weapon of choice is the mirror. It's an intriguing and innovative premise but that is characteristic of this series. Harper deftly weaves together history and fiction to create an antagonist who has a very interesting motive for murder. The twists and turns that the queen must take to finally determine the identity of the murderer are interesting and the final confrontation is spectacular. The very imagery of it leaps off the page.

Though Elizabeth I is a spectacular and fascinating subject in her own right, in Harper's hands she truly comes alive. Harper's queen is passionate and mercurial but also mindful of those who serve her well. It is this characterization of one of the most dynamic figures in history that is the real strength of Harper's writing. My only complaint about this book--and the only thing that kept me from giving it five stars--is that Elizabeth is a bit too prone to portentious speeches, which must end every chapter or chapter segment. This rang too falsely at times for me and took me out of the story a bit.

Along with the main mystery is an engrossing subplot about Gil Sharpe, a recurring character in the novels. His travels in Italy and his discoveries of Italian painting techniques make for a fascinating read. He is also a wonderful character, displaying yet again the aptitude that Harper has for creating believeable and interesting characters. Harper could probably get by solely by focusing on Elizabeth but she does her readers a great service by surrounding the queen with a cast of vibrant characters.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
On a whim, Queen Elizabeth I decides to leave her London residence and stay at Nonsuch Palace for a while. Beside the courtiers and the rest of the retinue who make up Elizabeth's inner circle, she takes along artists, who are painting a state picture of her and she will pick the one that is the best and send it all over Europe. Gil Sharpe, who was sent to Italy to learn with the masters goes to Nonsuch and decides to enter the competition to paint his Queen's portrait.

Since Nonsuch is small, many of the people who traveled with Elizabeth are staying in the courtyard in tents. One of the artist's tents catches fire, killing him and his assistant. It is determined that the fire was deliberately set using a mirror and the sun to start the flames. A second artist's tent is also burned in the same manner. Elizabeth convinces her Privy Plot council to help her smoke out the killer but the perpetrator is very cunning. Elizabeth finds her own life is put in danger by a person without mercy.

This is the seventh Elizabeth I mystery by fabulous historical mystery writer Karen Harper and it is a thrilling reading experience because there are so many suspects with too few motives. Readers see the intelligence of the queen as she maneuvers Mary, Queen of Scots into a marriage of her choosing and plans to use her as a public relations tool to prove she is a queen in total command of the kingdom she rules. Fans of the Ursula Blanches series by Fiona Buckley will definitely love this glimpse into a bygone era.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jacque L on August 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love these yarns because historically they include real events and persons, but adds another dimension with the fictional activities of solving murders around the Royal household and environs. The real and fictional characters are well-written and it's a fun read.
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