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The Armor of Light Paperback – October 1, 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (October 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671697838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671697839
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 4.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,789,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

For any student of English litereature or fan of Shakespeare, Sidney or Marlowe, this book is a dream come true. What happens in The Armor of Light is what should have happened.-Pamela Dean Scott and Barnett have a style and an atmosphere in their collaborative work that is distinct from their separate work, without losing any of the separate strengths of each partner. Historical accuracy and historical invention, society and culture, details of dress and costume, drama and action, all highlighted in _The_Armor_of_Light_ It's one of the best fantasy novels. -- David G. Hartwell

This is a good historical fantasy. They play around with the history, saving Sidney from his Dutch wound and Marlowe from his tavern in Deptford, and punched up the magic a lot. Marlowe would have loved that. What's more, they got the language right, they got the characters right, they got the society right, they sure as hell got the clothes right. It's set up like a play, in five sections, and each section does exactly the right thing. Sidney would have approved of it. Robert Greene would have given it a rave review. Cecil would probably have had them both silenced. -- Delia Sherman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

The settings are finely drawn, the characters are engaging, and the plot is gripping.
Tracy L. Benton
The co-authors do a good enough job on the characters that even readers completely unfamiliar with most of the dramatis personae will enjoy getting to know them.
M.G. Harmon
This is the best work of historical fantasy, and one of the best works of historical fiction, which I have ever read.
goodston@well.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By goodston@well.com on August 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the best work of historical fantasy, and one of the best works of historical fiction, which I have ever read. Although the universe (an alternate history Elizabethan England where magic works and where Sydney and Marlow survived the events which killed them in our time line) is fantasy, the approach is basic science fiction "what if", extrapolated on a magical rather than physcial technology. Rather than overlaying modern concepts of magic onto their characters and history, the authors present magic as it was understood by the various classes of Tudor England, and in so doing create a world that feels like reality and avoid the one-dimensionality common to much contemporary fantasy. All this, and a great read, too.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tracy L. Benton on June 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a very well-structured, well-written book set in an alternate version of Queen Elizabeth I's reign. The settings are finely drawn, the characters are engaging, and the plot is gripping. I reread this book about once a year just for the pleasure of it, and I snapped up this hardcover when it came out. If you like alternate history and fantasy, and don't mind them mixed together, read this book. If you just want to read about people living in Elizabethan England, read this book. And if you just have to have any book with Shakespeare as a character... you, too, have some reading ahead of you.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Organ-Kean on March 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I'm the cover illustrator, and I don't always like everything I read. Often, even if I liked a story the first time, I don't like it when I have to read it about the fifth time to check on the color of someone's shirt. Or I start noticing the lapses in historical detail or logic or characterization.
This book I still read for pleasure, even after I finished the cover. I read a lot of alternate history, and this surely ranks among the best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Furio on November 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As many other alternative history works of fiction this book is set in England during the reign of Elizabeth the Great. It was the brightest and yet the most putrid age of British history, a time when history itself could have changed its course: it did, but unfortunately only to a certain extent.
It cannot be a mere chance that so many authors choose this age for their alternative history novels: so many opportunities to make the western world a different place have been wasted then.
(One could add, cursorily, that many fantasy novels seem to be set in an Elizabethan-like kingdom).

These authors seem to have done their research. They give many details about everyday life but they do not overindulge, except perhaps where clothes are concerned; every other real life reference is functional to plot and characterization, not a mean feat indeed.

The plot is interesting, sensible, well contrived. Characters are not as satisfying: Elizabeth is adorable (for a harridan) but everyone else is either shallow or unremarkable or inconsistent or obnoxious for some reason. Sidney is far to obsessed with his protestant faith to be likeable; Marlowe, it goes without saying, could have been a great character but he is such only at times; James is not too bad. All the others play choir when they should have been side kicks. Villains are essentially non existent so that the main characters' very personal demons end by being more interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ordinarily, I love Melissa Scott's work, but I don't love this one. It seems that she and Lisa Barnett rammed in all of their research on Tudor times (obviously used in the Pointsman books) into one final book together (sadly) ... and hang the plot. A lot of characters are introduced that seem to do absolutely nothing in terms of moving the story forward. Everything moves at a glacial pace.

The action - such as it is - takes place in Scotland. The main characters don't even start heading TOWARDS Scotland until nearly halfway through the book. Which is not a short one. The actual plot action is disappointing - even when things start happening, it takes forever and much internal musing, for not very much in terms of result.

Disappointing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jo Wyrick on November 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this book when it originally came out twenty five years ago and I loved it. I still do. Not many books stand up to rereading twenty five years later, but The Armor of Light is still wonderful. This is historical fantasy at its best! It's rich, nuanced, and the plot is intriguing. And this is the best Christopher Marlowe I've read in fiction, hands down!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Melissa Scott was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she discovered science fiction as the direct result of breaking her arm during junior high gym class. She was banished to the library, and there the assistant librarian suggested she might enjoy "what's his name, Heinlein - or that Andre Norton guy." He was right. She devoured everything available at school, and then discovered the collection created by the Little Rock Public Library's À Son Goût Trust, which had been established to purchase "books people like to read" -- SF, fantasy, and Westerns

Scott studied history at Harvard College, where she was involved with the now-defunct college-sanctioned SF 'zine that spawned the Harvard/Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and was introduced to a new round of SF, particularly media SF -- like Dr. Who -- that had been unavailable in her home town. After graduation, she was admitted to Brandeis University's comparative history program, and also sold her first novel, The Game Beyond, quickly becaming a part-time graduate student and an -- almost -- full-time writer. She earned her PhD from Brandeis with a dissertation titled "The Victory of the Ancients: Tactics, Technology, and the Use of Classical Precedent."

Over the next twenty years, she published eighteen original novels and a handful of short stories, as well as tie-in novels for both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Proud Helios) and Star Trek: Voyager (The Garden). She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1986, and won Lambda Literary Awards in 1994 for Trouble And Her Friends, 1995 for Shadow Man, and again in 2001 for Point of Dreams, the last written with long-time partner and collaborator, the late Lisa A. Barnett. Scott has also been short-listed for the Tiptree Award, and won a Spectrum Award for Shadow Man.

During Barnett's struggle with breast cancer, and for several years after her death in 2006, Scott focused on short fiction. She returned to longer work in the summer of 2009, when good friend and fellow writer Jo Graham invited her to participate in a new project: Legacy, a six-book series of tie-in novels for Stargate: Atlantis, to begin where the fifth season had ended. Scott was immediately hooked by the idea, and she, Graham, and Amy Griswold completed the project in 2013 with the release of Stargate Atlantis: The Inheritors. Scott and Graham also began a new series of adventure novels set in the 1930s, featuring aviation, magic, and secrets hidden in plain sight. The first two novels, Lost Things and Steel Blues, are available as of this writing, and the series will continue as The Order of the Air. Scott and Griswold also teamed up for the original novel Death By Silver, a gay Victorian murder mystery with magic (or fantasy with murder), and will continue the series with A Non-Conforming Death. Scott has also returned to the world of Astreiant for two more books in the Points series (Point of Knives and the forthcoming Fairs' Point) and has more original work on the way.

Scott currently lives in North Carolina, where her living room overlooks a pond filled with alarmingly active and carnivorous turtles.

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